Houston Astros center fielder George Springer (4) celebrates his two-run home run with Marwin Gonzalez (9) in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 MLB World Series Game 7 Wednesday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES -- George Springer powered the Houston Astros to the franchise's first World Series championship, crushing a two-run home run in the second inning Wednesday that gave his club a commanding lead on the way to a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7.
In a World Series that saw back-and-forth battles nearly every game, only the Astros got off and running in Game 7, and the Dodgers never recovered from Houston's five-run outburst in the opening two innings.
The Astros won their first title in just their second World Series appearance, after falling short in 2005. The Dodgers have six titles but remain without a championship since 1988.
Springer tied a record for most home runs in one World Series with five, joining the New York Yankees' Reggie Jackson (1977) and the Philadelphia Phillies' Chase Utley (2009). He also became the first player to hit home runs in four consecutive games of the same World Series.
The blast also gave Springer a record eight extra-base hits in a single World Series. The Pittsburgh Pirates' Willie Stargell (1979) previously held the record with seven.
Springer's home run Wednesday chased Dodgers starter Yu Darvish after just 1 2/3 innings, as the Astros were productive inside of those five outs by the right-hander. Darvish gave up five runs (four earned) on three hits and a walk.
Darvish (0-2) recorded just 10 outs during his two World Series starts in Games 3 and 7.
The Astros got things going early when Springer doubled to lead off the game. He scored when first baseman Cody Bellinger could not hit Darvish on a throw to first base after a ground ball from Alex Bregman. The Astros made it 2-0 when Bregman stole third and scored on a groundout by Jose Altuve.
Just before Springer delivered his two-run blast, the Astros made it 3-0 when starting pitcher Lance McCullers grounded out to bring home a run. Springer then lifted a 3-2 fastball into the seats in center field.
Bellinger's rough day was only starting with the errant throw. He also struck out in his first two at-bats to extend his consecutive strikeout streak to six plate appearances. He added a third strikeout to give him a record 29 whiffs in this postseason alone, breaking the record that the Yankees' Aaron Judge held for all of 11 days.
McCullers delivered a scoreless 2 1/3 innings to open the game, but he was far from sharp, hitting four Dodgers batters, including Justin Turner twice. He was supported by four relievers out of the beleaguered Astros bullpen, although one of those relievers pressed into service was starter Charlie Morton.
The Astros' bullpen entered with a 7.29 ERA after the first six games but had its day in Game 7, giving up just one run on three hits over the final 6 2/3 innings. Morton (1-0) earned the victory, giving up just one run on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts over the final four innings.
Pinch hitter Andre Ethier drove in the Dodgers' only run on a sixth-inning single off Morton. It was Ethier's Dodgers' record 51st appearance in a postseason game.
NOTES: Astros OF George Springer became the first player in World Series history to hit five home runs out of the leadoff spot, breaking a tie with Lenny Dykstra (1993). ... Astros RHP Lance McCullers became the first pitcher pulled from a Game 7 start after 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run since the Yankees' Don Larsen in 1958. ... Dodgers CF Chris Taylor reached base in all seven World Series games and all 14 postseason games Los Angeles played. ... In 318 career games, counting the postseason, Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw made just the seventh relief appearance of his career when he entered in the third inning of Game 7. He tossed four scoreless innings.