Houston is now 3-3 on the year

Dodgers and Astros go deep into extras, Los Angeles comes out ahead to sweep series

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Things escalated quickly in the first game of this series with benches clearing and emotions running high after Joe Kelly made his feelings known about the Astros with erratic pitches flying over Astros' heads. After more than enough opinions and statements made by fans and voices of the sport, things finally returned to the field on Wednesday between the Dodgers and Astros. Here is a quick rundown of the second of two games between Houston and Los Angeles:

Final Score (13 innings): Dodgers 4, Astros 2.

Record: 3-3, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Dennis Santana (1-0, 4.15 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cy Sneed (0-1, 2.08 ERA).

Javier shines in his first career start

In his first start at the major-league level, Cristian Javier was fantastic. He made just one mistake through his first five innings of work, a pitch that resulted in a solo home run by Corey Seager in the top of the second to put Los Angeles up 1-0.

Javier was otherwise dominant, recording all other Dodgers in order through the first five frames, including eight strikeouts over that span. He returned in the top of the sixth, in a 1-1 game, and after a walk and single with one out, would get one more out before Dusty Baker would make the call to the bullpen. Blake Taylor would come in and get the final out to make Javier's line final: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR.

Slow offensive night for both teams as game stays tied 1-1 late

Houston's run that tied the game came in the bottom of the second. Michael Brantley led off the inning with a ground-rule double, moved to third on a groundout for the second out, then scored as Myles Straw legged out an infield single for the RBI to tie the game 1-1.

After Taylor would get the final out for Javier in the sixth, he would continue on the mound for a scoreless 1-2-3 seventh then remain in the game for the top of the eighth. He would allow a one-out double but would erase the runner with a strikeout and groundout to end the inning.

Dodgers pull ahead in extras to sweep the mini-series 

Still knotted up at 1-1 going to the top of the ninth with the Dodgers back around to the top of their lineup, the Astros moved to closer Roberto Osuna. He was able to get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros a chance at a walk-off. Houston would strand two runners in the bottom of the ninth against Kenley Jansen, sending the game to extra innings to test out the new rules for 2020, where each inning would start with a runner on second base.

Osuna came back for a second inning in the top of the second and was able to keep the free runner on second with a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the inning, Kyle Tucker would be the runner on second, but he too would be erased after an inning-ending double play. Moving on to the eleventh, Cy Sneed would be next out of the bullpen, and he would allow an RBI-single to Mookie Betts to break the tie in favor of Los Angeles at 2-1.

The Astros would respond in the bottom of the eleventh, starting with a leadoff single by Yuli Gurriel to put runners on the corners with no outs. That brought Carlos Correa to the plate, and he would deliver with an RBI-single to tie it at 2-2. Later in the inning, a botched review should have loaded the bases with one out, but instead had runners on the corners with two outs and would result in the game continuing to the twelfth.

Sneed was able to once again erase the free runner in the twelfth, retiring Los Angeles in order. George Springer, who pinch-hit earlier in the game and would be the final out of the eleventh, was on second to start the twelfth but would stay there as the Astros came up empty again, sending the game to the thirteenth. In that inning, Los Angeles would finally get to Sneed, getting a leadoff two-run homer to jump ahead 4-2, a score that would go final.

Up Next: The Astros will have their first day off of the 2020 season on Thursday as they travel to Los Angeles to start a weekend series with the Angels on Friday. The first of the three-game series will begin at 8:10 PM Central on Friday, and while Lance McCullers Jr. is the expected pitcher for Houston, the Angels have not yet named their starter for the game.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Mattress Mack and the Astros host Pearland Little League at Wednesday night's game. Photo by LittleLeague.org

Sure, it’s impressive that the Astros have made four World Series appearances in recent years, but they’re not alone. There’s another baseball team around here that’s also headed to its fourth World Series since 2010.

Pearland defeated Oklahoma, 9-4, on Tuesday to win the Southwest Regional and qualify for the Little League World Series starting Aug. 17 in South Williamsport, PA.

Most fans and media say the Little League World Series is held in Williamsport, but it’s South Williamsport, just a 5-minute stroll across a bridge over the Susquehanna River in north central Pennsylvania.

Pearland is on a torrid 13-game winning streak that swept through district, sectional, state and regional tournaments to earn the Little League World Series bid.

Here’s how difficult the road to the Little League World Series is. There are 15 teams in MLB’s American League. If the Astros finish with one of the two best records, they’ll have to win two playoff series to play in the World Series.

Little League is a little bigger than MLB. Little League is the largest youth sports organization in the world, with 2.5 million kids playing for 180,000 teams in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Pearland, representing East Texas, had to defeat All-Star teams from West Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas and Colorado to win the Southwest Regional. The Little League World Series will host 20 teams - 10 from the U.S. and 10 from international regions.

If you have children that play Little League, or you’re just a fan, attending the Little League World Series should be high on your baseball bucket list.

I covered the Little League World Series in 2010 when Pearland made its first appearance and made it all the way to the U.S. championship game. It may have been my most fun assignment ever.

The Little League World Series is played by 11 and 12-year-olds in Little League’s major division. When ESPN and ABC air these games, they’ll present the players as innocent little kids, like Beaver and Wally or Tom and Huck. They’ll show the kids playing Simon Says with the Little League mascot called Dugout. They’ll ask the kids who’s their favorite big leaguer.

I was a Little League coach. I followed Little League All-Stars across Texas all the way to South Williamsport. These kids are absolute baseball maniacs with $400 gloves, $500 bats and Oakley sunglasses. I thought the Astros might call and ask where they got their super neat equipment.

Especially in Texas, these kids are built tough with long ball power and play year-round travel baseball with high-priced private coaches. This isn’t a choose-up game in the park where kids play in their school clothes, one kid brings a baseball and the players share bats. I looked at some of the Little Leaguers and wondered if they drove to the stadium.

I half-expected, when ABC asked who their baseball idol was, they’d answer “me!”

Here’s how seriously good these kids can play the game. Justin Verlander throws a 97-mph fastball. That’s pretty fast. It’s not rare anymore for a Little League pitcher to reach 70-mph on a fastball. The Little League mound is 46 feet from home plate. A 70-mph pitch in Little League gets to home plate in the same time as a 91-mph pitch from 60 feet 6 inches in MLB.

In 2015, a pitcher named Alex Edmonson fired an 83-mph heater at the Little League World Series. The reaction time a Little League batter had against Alex’s pitch was equal to a Major Leaguer trying to hit a 108-mph fastball. Good luck with that. Alex pitched a no-hitter and struck out 15 batters in six innings at the Little League World Series. Now 20, Alex is a relief pitcher for Clemson.

The Little League World Series is a trip. The easiest way to get there is to fly into Philadelphia and drive to South Williamsport. I sat next to CC Sebathia’s mother on the plane.

Admission to all Little League World Series games is free and snack bar prices are reasonable. A hot dog is $3. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited.

The first Little League World Series was held in 1947. Only 58 players have played in the Little League World Series and later played in MLB. The most famous are Cody Bellinger and Jason Varitek. Only two players from the Houston area made the leap: Brady Rodgers and Randal Grichuk both played on the 2003 team from Richmond, about 30 miles from Houston in Fort Bend County.

While you’re in South Williamsport, you should visit the Little League museum and Hall of Excellence. Among the inductees: Presidents Joe Biden and George W. Bush, Astros manager Dusty Baker, Kevin Costner, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dick Vitale, Rob Manfred and someone who’d later play stadiums in a different way, Bruce Springsteen.

Speaking of Springsteen, I shattered a record at the 2010 Little League World Series. The record was Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. I was talking to a Little League executive while teams were warming up on the field. Born in the U.S.A. came over the stadium loudspeakers.

I told the executive, I’m a big fan but maybe this isn’t the best song you should be playing. The executive asked why not? Well, you might want to listen to the words. Born in the U.S.A. is a depressing song about a U.S. soldier who is sent to Vietnam and can’t find a job when he gets back home. It’s not exactly Yankee Doodle Dandy. You have teams from Asia here (Japan won the tournament that year). The executive said, please tell me you’re kidding. Here’s one verse:

Got in a little hometown jam

So they put a rifle in my hand

Sent me off to a foreign land

To go and kill the (what is considered a slur for Asians).

Later I got an email from the president of Little League International.

“Quite honestly, I've never listened closely to the words of Born in the USA. I see clearly how it is offensive to our Little League friends from Asian nations. I have directed our folks who coordinate the stadium music to discontinue playing it in the future.”

Play Centerfield by John Fogerty instead. The message of that song is, “put me in coach.” Little League couldn’t say it any better.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome