McCullers, Peacock combine for 5-3 win; Astros lead series 2-1

Yuli Gurriel had a big night for the Astros. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Astros returned home to Minute Maid Park and took advantage of an early offensive explosion to edge out the Dodgers in Game 3 and take a 2-1 lead in the World Series.

Yuli Gurriel homered, followed by RBIs from Marwin Gonzalez, Brian McCann, and Alex Bregman as the Astros jump all over Yu Darvish in the second inning, ending his night early and riding the early lead to a 5-3 victory in World Series Game 3. Lance McCullers pitched a decent start and was followed by Brad Peacock who finished with a strong three and two-thirds inning relief appearance to seal the win.

McCullers started Game 3 with a pop out of Chris Taylor for the first out of the game. McCullers got the next two batters on a groundout and long flyout near the wall in center field by Justin Turner. George Springer led off the bottom of the inning with a double to right-center off of Yu Darvish but was unable to score as Darvish fought back to retire the next three Astros in order to end the scoreless inning.

The big inning was the second. Logan Forsythe recorded the first hit for the Dodgers in the top of the second with a two-out single but was stranded as Lance McCullers got a groundout to end the half inning. Gurriel gave the Astros the lead in the bottom of the inning, putting the first run on the board with a solo home run to the Crawford Boxes off of Darvish, making it 1-0 Houston. Josh Reddick followed with a double into the left-field corner, followed by a walk to Evan Gattis, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Gonzalez added to the Astros' lead with an RBI single off the left-center wall, making it a 2-0 game. McCann was next up and added another no-out run, hitting a single into right-center to make it 3-0. Bregman added one more, scoring Gonzalez from third on a one-out sac fly, extending the lead again to 4-0. Jose Altuve was the eighth batter of the inning and hit a two-out double to put runners on second and third, and prompted a call to the bullpen to end Darvish's brief, rough night. Kenta Maeda entered the game for the Dodgers and was able to get the third out to end the four-run inning.

McCullers struggled to start the top of the third, walking the first three batters to load the bases with no outs. He battled back from it, though, getting a double play which scored a run to make it a 4-1 game, then a groundout for the third out to get out of the jam with just one run. Kenta Maeda worked around a two-out walk of Gattis in the bottom of the inning to end the inning and send the game to the fourth.

In the top of the fourth, McCullers rebounded from the rough third inning to get a quick half inning thanks to Yasiel Puig being thrown out at second trying to advance after a single got past Bregman into left field. Maeda allowed a leadoff single to McCann in the bottom half but then retired the next three in order to end the inning.

McCullers allowed a one-out double to Joc Pederson in the top of the fifth but was able to strand him after some stellar defense behind him to get the next two outs. Maeda got the leadoff out in the bottom of the inning, then was pulled as the Dodgers moved on to Tony Watson from the bullpen. Reddick hit a two-out single, then came all the way around to score as Watson made an errant throw to first on a ground ball from Gattis, extending the Astros' lead to 5-1 before Watson was able to end the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Lance McCullers allowed a leadoff walk to Corey Seager who then moved to third on a no-out double by Justin Turner. McCullers struck out the next batter before A.J. Hinch made the call to the bullpen to bring out Brad Peacock. Peacock allowed a run to score on a groundout for the second out, then another to score on a wild pitch, making it a 5-3 game before Peacock could end the half inning. Tony Watson recorded the first out of the bottom of the inning before the Dodgers went to their bullpen again, this time for Brandon Morrow. Morrow ended up with runners on first and second with one out after an error by Justin Turner and walk to Bregman, but was able to leave them there by getting back-to-back strikeouts of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to leave the game at 5-3 going into the seventh.

Peacock returned to the mound for the top of the seventh and worked around a two-out walk of Andre Ethier to get through the half inning and preserve the 5-3 lead. Gurriel led off the bottom of the inning with a double off the scoreboard wall, prompting another pitching change for Los Angeles, bringing in Tony Cingrani. Cingrani was able to get two outs around an intentional walk of Gattis before McCann reached on an infield single to load the bases with two outs, resulting in yet another call to the Dodgers' bullpen, this time to bring out Ross Stripling, who was able to get Springer to fly out to the center field wall to end the inning.

Peacock pitched his best inning to that point in the top of the eighth, getting a 1-2-3 inning including two strikeouts to put the Astros 3 outs away from the win. Ross Stripling was able to work around a two-out single by Correa in the bottom of the inning to send the 5-3 game to the ninth inning.

A.J. Hinch, much like in Game 7 of the ALCS, allowed the hot hand to stay in the game, sending Peacock back out for the top of the ninth. It proved to be the right call as Peacock sat down the Dodgers in order to wrap up the Game 3 win.

Game 4: First pitch of Game 4 from Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 7:20 PM Central tonight and can be seen on FOX. The Astros will send Charlie Morton to the mound who had an amazing start in Game 7 of the ALCS giving up just two hits and no runs in five innings of work. The Dodgers are likely to send out Alex Wood who despite a terrific 16-3 regular season has only made one playoff start in which he went four and two-thirds innings while giving up 3 runs in a 3-2 loss to the Cubs in the NLDS.

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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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