WORLD SERIES GAME 1

Dodgers get two HRs, take 1-0 series lead with 3-1 win

Dallas Keuchel was solid, but he gave up a late home run to lose Game 1. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Dodgers were able to get a key Game 1 victory of the World Series thanks to Chris Taylor and Justin Turner taking advantage of a couple of bad pitches in an otherwise fierce pitcher's duel that would ultimately be won by Clayton Kershaw.

Chris Taylor got the scoring started with a homer on the first pitch the Dodgers saw, then Justin Turner added two more on a two-run blast as Kershaw gives up just one run while striking out eleven in a dominant pitching performance in the 3-1 win over the Astros in World Series Game 1. The Dodgers hold a 1-0 series lead with Game 2 tomorrow.

The game got underway with a Clayton Kershaw strikeout of George Springer. Kershaw went on to retire the Astros in order on a flyout and groundout. Dallas Keuchel took the mound in the bottom of the inning for Houston but was met with a home run from Chris Taylor on the very first pitch, giving the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. Keuchel bounced back to get the next three batters out on a strikeout and two groundouts.

In the bottom of the second, Kershaw had another quick inning to put the Astros down 1-2-3 on 10 pitches. Keuchel gave up a leadoff single to Kike Hernandez but followed it up with a double play ball for the first two outs, then a popout to end the inning and keep the game at 1-0 going into the third.

Josh Reddick hit a one-out single into right field in the top of the third for the first Astros' hit of the night but was left stranded after a bunt strikeout from Keuchel and strikeout of Springer by Kershaw for his fifth of the night. Keuchel gave up another leadoff single in the bottom of the inning, this time to Austin Barnes, who then moved to second on a Kershaw sacrifice bunt. He went on to be doubled up, though, on a perfectly played lineout caught by Carlos Correa that he tossed to Jose Altuve at second for the double play to end the inning and leave the game 1-0 in the Dodgers' favor.

Alex Bregman came through to tie the game with a leadoff solo home run in the top of the fourth to make it a 1-1 game. Kershaw bounced back from it with three consecutive strikeouts to end the half inning. Keuchel had his first 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half including two groundouts to send the tied game into the fifth.

Kershaw had his best inning of the night so far in the top of the fifth, getting two groundouts and a three-pitch strikeout to sit down the Astros on just 6 pitches. Keuchel worked around a one-out single by Corey Seager in the bottom of the inning by getting another double play, his third of the night, to end the inning and leave the game tied 1-1 after five innings.

Kershaw continued to dominate in the top of the sixth with two more strikeouts, bringing his total to 11, and a groundout in another three up, three down inning. In the bottom of the inning, Keuchel issued a two-out walk followed by a two-run home run by Justin Turner to make it 3-1 Dodgers. Keuchel was able to get a strikeout to end the inning, but the damage was done as the Dodgers took the two-run lead into the seventh.

Altuve led off the seventh with a single but was out at second on a fielder's choice hit by Correa. Kershaw followed that with a groundout and fly out to get through the inning. Keuchel was able to get two groundouts for the first two outs in the bottom of the inning but after a Seager single had his night ended by A.J. Hinch. Brad Peacock entered the game and after a walk was able to get a flyout to end the seventh and keep the game at 3-1.

Brandon Morrow was first out of the Dodgers' bullpen in the top of the eighth and made quick work of the Astros on 10 pitches. Chris Devenski pitched the bottom of the eighth for the Astros and threw two strikeouts and a line out for a quick half inning to send the game into the ninth with the Astros in a 3-1 hole.

Kenley Jansen came in for the close in the top of the ninth and was able to get a strikeout and two flyouts to save the 3-1 victory for Los Angeles.

Game 2: First pitch of Game 2 is scheduled for 7:09 PM Central tomorrow and will air on FOX. The Astros will try to even the series 1-1 by sending out their new-found ace, Justin Verlander, who has been dominant in the playoffs with a 4-0 record. The Dodgers send out Rich Hill who posted a 3.32 ERA in the regular season with a 12-8 record but has only pitched 9 innings this postseason during which he has allowed three runs.

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Texans vs. Vikings could have fans in attendance. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Houston Texans say it's time that fans were allowed to cheer on the home team at NRG Stadium. On Thursday, the team announced extensive safety protocols that would put 15,000 fans in the stands for the Week 4 game against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 4.

While the Texans are awaiting permission from city and county officials to host a limited number of fans - socially distant and wearing masks – no plans have been announced how much tickets will cost, and who'll have the opportunity to buy them.

You have to love the free enterprise system: hundreds of tickets for the Oct. 4 game already are on sale on secondary market websites. Lower bowl tickets are going for $800 and up. If you don't mind sitting in the nose bleeds, tickets can be had for around $250.

So the question becomes, if you had the chance, would you attend the Texans game in early October? The tickets are big bucks, and there is a whammy – COVID-19. While the rate of COVID-19 infections is on the decline in Houston, the virus remains a major factor in our daily lives, and there's no guarantee that the pandemic won't spike here again.

Here's the rub, at least for me. Of all the sports we have in Houston, a Texans game might be lowest on my wish list of attending in person. Television does NFL games the best. There are dozens of cameras, so when a receiver catches a pass on the sidelines, we get several views, in slow motion even, to see if the receiver's feet were in bounds. We can almost feel the crunch of a quarterback sack. We get highlights of other games. You don't have to sit next to a face painter like David Puddy.

The NFL is a made-for-TV production. Which is, I suspect, part of the reason the Texans rarely open the roof at NRG Stadium. With the roof closed, the field becomes a controlled TV studio, with no worries of weather pranks.

Television doesn't do basketball or baseball nearly as well. Conversely, the experience of attending those games is terrific fun. What beats eating a couple of dogs at an Astros game? Is there even a traditional food at NFL or NBA games?

The Texans promise that strict safety rules will be enforced. And I believe them. Fans will be scattered over the 67,000-seat stadium. I'm not sure how much of a home field advantage that will be. Most of the crowd noise will come from pre-recorded tapes.

Here's one worry. Sure fans will sit apart and socially distanced. But what will happen when the game is over? Will fans file out in orderly, non-contagious single file? I flew Southwest a few weeks ago. The airline makes a big deal – we don't sell the middle seat. Passengers kept their distance during the flight. When the landed, you know how it is, everybody got up and piled into the aisle, shoulder to shoulder for several minutes.

What will happen if some goofball takes off his/her mask during the Texans game? Will there be enough security to handle each case?

Baseball is planning to have some fans attend post-season games at Minute Maid Park next month. UH Cougars, the Dynamo and Dash are playing in front of small crowds. It remains to be seen how safe – or how risky – allowing fans at sports events will be.

Will parents let their kids attend? Is waiting for a vaccine the smart play? If President Trump is right, that could be only a matter of weeks away. If scientists and doctors are right, nestle in for pandemic life another year. Even if scientists do come up with a vaccine, how many Americans will roll up their sleeve? Some believe, in the case of COVID-19, the cure may be worse than the disease. Not me, the moment Dr. Fauci says the vaccine is safe and effective, I'm sprinting to CVS.

The thinnest of silver linings, if ever there was a year worth sitting out, 2020 has been it for Houston sports fans. The Astros are scratching to stay above .500 (their present position), Jose Altuve hasn't had an extra base hit or RBI in almost a month, and Justin Verlander is throwing bullpens on his way to recovery. The Rockets are searching for a new coach, and possibly another team willing to take Russell Westbrook in a trade. The Texans season could go either way, we'll know if a few short weeks.

Why the rush to fill stadiums? The NBA is thriving in a bubble. Why not baseball and football? There's a fine line between safe and sorry.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo already has safety plans for next year, including masks and distancing. That will be interesting. Good luck controlling crowds pushing and shoving for corn dogs and funnel cakes.

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