But Devenski struck out Puig to complete the victory after 4 hours 19 minutes.
Two games may be a small sample size, but one conclusion can be drawn in this series: These are two well-matched teams that have the potential to play more dramatic games like Game 2. Even the calmest of fans most likely frayed some nerves watching Wednesday’s game. The Astros have proven to be a plucky opponent for the once-streaking Dodgers, who had lost only one game this postseason entering Wednesday.
The teams will now fly to Houston with the best-of-seven series tied at one game apiece. They will return to action on Friday, with Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr., a hero of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, slated to start Game 3 opposite Yu Darvish of the Dodgers.
Verlander took the ball for the Astros on Wednesday, and was staked to a 1-0 lead thanks to Alex Bregman’s single in the third inning. Verlander mowed through the Dodgers lineup with ease early on, but with two out in the fifth inning, he gave up a solo home run to Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson that tied the score at 1-1.
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Pederson hit .212 this season, was demoted to the minor leagues because of the struggles with his swing, and was not even on the roster for the Dodgers’ division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The mere fact that Pederson was in the lineup was a surprise. Andre Ethier, a veteran left-handed-hitting outfielder, was an option to start in left field. But Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts played a hunch: He liked Pederson’s defense and his ability to hit high velocity pitches.
Pederson rewarded his manager’s faith. When Verlander unfurled a 2-1 slider over the middle of the plate, Pederson hit his first major league home run since July 26, invigorating the crowd of 54,293 people.
Seager provided what felt like a decisive blow an inning later. With two outs, Taylor drew a walk that brought up Seager.
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It was only the second game back for Seager, a two-time All-Star and last year’s N.L. Rookie of the Year, since he hurt his back on an innocuous slide into second base in the division series. He could barely hit or run, and later needed an epidural, so he missed the entire N.L.C.S.
Regardless, Seager’s talent displayed itself when he stepped to the plate in the sixth inning. His two-run homer gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead, and he screamed in delight immediately after connecting.
But the Astros proceeded to slowly chip away. Facing the Dodgers’ stout reliever Brandon Morrow in the eighth inning, Bregman smacked a ball down the right-field line that hit the edge of Puig’s glove as he dived for the ball. Puig, a strong defender, flung his glove into the ground in annoyance after the play.
Nursing a two-run lead, Roberts called for Jansen, his closer, for the kind of two-inning save Jansen has handled well.
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But he was not able to come through this time. The second hitter Jansen faced, Correa, smacked an outside cutter up the middle for a run-scoring single that trimmed the Astros’ deficit to 3-2.
The next inning spelled more trouble for the Dodgers. Gonzalez was a key cog to the Astros’ season, yet he had not driven in a run since the first game of the division series. But he drilled a 94 m.p.h. cutter, Jansen’s trademark pitch, over the center-field wall for a game-tying blast.
It was the first earned run Jansen had allowed in the postseason since Game 3 of a division series in 2016.
In the top of the 10th, Altuve and Correa provided a 5-3 lead by feasting off Dodgers reliever Josh Fields, who had been used sparingly this postseason. Altuve brought chants of “M.V.P.” when he blasted a solo home run to left-center field to lead off the 10th inning.
Correa followed with his own home run, flipping his bat far into the air before he began his home run trot. The Astros’ dugout bounced up and down as the home crowd sat stunned.
Puig replaced those emotions with elation when he hit a solo home run off Giles in the bottom of the 10th. Then, after Logan Forsythe, drew a walk, Hernandez smacked a ball to right field that forced a play at the plate. Forsythe beat Josh Reddick’s throw to tie the game and set up more delirium in the 11th inning.
Facing McCarthy, Astros outfielder Cameron Maybin singled. Then Springer slammed a ball to right-center field for a two-run lead, and the Astros held on, giving them an even Series as they headed back to Houston.