Astros-Dodgers: LA dominates late, forces Game 7

Astros fans were dejected after Tuesday's loss. Bob Levey/Getty Images

There will be a Game 7 in the World Series. The Los Angeles Dodgers were able to get rare runs off of Justin Verlander and backed it with great pitching to fight off elimination and force a winner-take-all game for the championship tomorrow night.

George Springer homers to give the Astros an early lead, but the Dodgers get two runs off of Justin Verlander with RBIs from Chris Taylor and Corey Seager in the sixth and add another off of Joe Musgrove with a solo home run from Joc Pederson in the seventh to beat the Astros 3-1 in Game 6.

Game 6 started with Rich Hill working around a one-out single by Alex Bregman by getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve and a groundout by Carlos Correa to end the top of the first. Justin Verlander had a quick bottom of the inning, retiring the Dodgers in order on seven pitches with a strikeout and two pop outs.

Things remained mostly quiet in the second. In the top of the inning, Hill was able to get a 1-2-3 inning with a fly out, foul out, and ground out. Verlander worked around a one-out single from Yasiel Puig in the bottom of the inning with a strikeout and fly out to keep the game scoreless going into the third.

In the top of the third, George Springer started the scoring with a two-out solo home run to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Verlander worked well with the lead in the bottom half, getting two strikeouts and a groundout to end the inning and hold the 1-0 lead headed into the fourth.

Both pitchers combined for another quiet one in the fourth, making it a six up, six down inning including two more strikeouts for Verlander, bringing his total to seven as the Astros held on to their 1-0 lead after four.

Brian McCann led off the fifth with a single into right field off of Hill, then moved to third on a double by Marwin Gonzalez. They stayed put after two strikeouts by Hill, followed by an intentional walk to Springer to load the bases before the Dodgers called on their bullpen to bring out Brandon Morrow to face Bregman, who grounded out to end the Astros' threat. Verlander had another great inning in the bottom of the fifth, retiring the Dodgers in order on 11 pitches including another strikeout.

Brandon Morrow was back out in the top of the sixth and was able to get two outs before allowing a single to Yuli Gurriel, resulting in another call to the bullpen, this time for Tony Watson. Watson hit McCann to put runners on first and second, but both were stranded after a lineout by Gonzalez to end the half inning. The Dodgers got their second hit of the night from Austin Barnes to leadoff the bottom of the inning, followed by Verlander hitting Chase Utley with a ball in the dirt to put runners on first and second. Barnes would come around to score on an RBI double by Taylor to tie the game 1-1. The Dodgers would get their first lead of the night on a sac fly from Seager, making it a 2-1 game before Verlander was able to get out of the inning.

Josh Reddick worked a leadoff walk to start the seventh, ending Watson's night as the Dodgers brought in Kenta Maeda. Reddick was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice hit by Evan Gattis, then Gattis moved to second on a one-out single by Springer. Derek Fisher came in to pinch run for Gattis and moved to third tagging after a flyout by Bregman, but was stranded on a groundout by Altuve. Musgrove was first out of the Astros' bullpen in the bottom of the inning and allowed the Dodgers to extend their lead with a solo home run by Pederson to make it 3-1 before getting through the inning and sending the game into the eighth.

Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers' closer, came in for the top of the eighth looking for a six-out save. The top of the eighth put it within reach for him after he retired the Astros in order on just seven pitches. Luke Gregerson went out to the mound for the bottom of the inning and allowed a leadoff single by Charlie Culberson who advanced to second on a groundout for out number one. Gregerson was able to get a strikeout but then walked Justin Turner, resulting in a call to bring in Francisco Liriano, who was able to get a strikeout for the final out of the inning.

Jansen completed the six-out save in the top of the ninth, getting two strikeouts and a pop out to end the game and get the save in the 3-1 victory.

Game 7: The Astros will once again play a Game 7, but this time it will be on the road in enemy territory. First pitch of Game 7 is scheduled for 7:20 PM Central tonight and can once again be seen on Fox. The Dodger's will start Yu Darvish, who the Astros were able to drive out early in Game 3 with a four-run second inning. The Astros have not yet named a starter but it will likely be Lance McCullers Jr. Of course, the starters will have short leashes as both teams will have nearly all their pitchers available for at least some amount of work in an attempt to do whatever it takes to win this ultimate decisive game.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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