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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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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