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Whicker: With a game in their pocket, Dodgers’ bullpen explodes

By in Press Enterprise on October 26, 2017

By Mark Whicker

LOS ANGELES — Justin Verlander called it an instant classic. But it lasted 4 hours and 19 minutes.

Some games defy words. Some games just mock them. When both teams slug six home runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings, and when Justin Verlander’s Houston Astros score twice in the 10th and twice in the 11th and still have a tying run at the plate to deal with, this game you’re watching has escaped its moorings.

Maybe a World Series has, too.

Houston won Game 2, 7-6, in 11 innings. By then both closers had been devoured. The Dodgers were trying to make it to shore with Brandon McCarthy, who had pitched six major league innings since July 20. It didn’t take long.

Cameron Maybin singled and George Springer, who had struck out four times in Game 1, capped a three-hit night with the game-winning home run, although Charlie Culberson of the Dodgers homered in the bottom of the 11th and romped around the bases as if he’d tied the score. By then, who was counting?

Atmospherics had a lot to do with this home run derby, and by the time Verlander was raving about his teammates, the audience had forgotten that he had absolutely squelched the Dodgers in the first six innings with only two hits. But the hits were a solo shot by Joc Pederson and a two-run homer by Corey Seager that gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead after six.

That’s where you begin reconstructing this mess and realize how damaging this could be for the Dodgers.

If you lead Verlander, 3-1, you need to win that game.

If you give the ball to Kenley Jansen with a 3-1 lead in the eighth, you need to win that […]    

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