HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock produced a sterling effort in relief and the Houston Astros rode a four-run second inning to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros grabbed a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 set for Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
After allowing two inherited base runners to score in the sixth inning, Peacock shut down the Dodgers over the ensuring three-plus innings. Peacock did not surrender a hit during that stretch and allowed just one baserunner on a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Andre Ethier in the seventh. His handiwork salvaged a solid, albeit uneven, start for right-hander Lance McCullers.
McCullers (1-0) allowed three runs, four hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings after being gifted a 4-0 lead when the Astros erupted against Dodgers right-hander Yu Darvish (0-1).
Yuli Gurriel ignited the onslaught with a homer and finished 2-for-5.
Leading 4-1 in the fifth, the Astros tacked on an insurance run thanks to the Dodgers' shoddy defense, with Josh Reddick scoring from first base with two outs on a throwing error by pitcher Tony Watson, who threw wildly to first trying to nip Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis.
It was a nightmarish outing for Darvish, who dominated in his lone regular-season appearance at Minute Maid Park this season and was victorious on the road at Arizona and Chicago in the postseason.
But from the onset, the Astros were on top of Darvish, starting with George Springer and his opposite-field leadoff double in the first inning. Darvish survived the first inning unscathed but wasn't so fortunate in the second when the Astros unleashed a barrage of hard-hit balls.
The first five batters of the second reached base safely for Houston, starting with the Gurriel leadoff homer to left. Marwin Gonzalez and Brian McCann later added run-scoring singles and, when Jose Altuve doubled with two outs, Darvish was yanked after getting only five outs.
Darvish produced just one swing and miss among his 49 pitches. He allowed six batted balls with exit velocities of at least 100 mph and saddled his team with a four-run deficit.
NOTES: With Houston's Evan Gattis getting the start as the designated hitter against Dodgers RHP Yu Darvish, Carlos Beltran is unlikely to get another start this series. The switch-hitting Beltran, a superior hitter from the left side, carried a .158/.200/.263 slash line into Game 3 and last recorded a hit in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. ... Despite posting an OPS of .499 against right-handed pitchers this season, Dodgers LF Kike Hernandez was in the starting lineup. Hernandez, whose OPS against southpaws was .946, delivered a key RBI single against Astros RHP Ken Giles in Game 2. He was initially the designated hitter before flipping spots with Joc Pederson. ... In line with the quality of his at-bats, Astros 3B Alex Bregman hit second in the order, a spot normally reserved for left-handed-hitting RF Josh Reddick against right-handers. Bregman carried a four-game hitting streak into Game 3, with a slash line of .294/.333/.588 and four RBIs over that span. He went 0-for-3 Friday.