LOS ANGELES, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Corey Seager’s sixth-inning sacrifice fly helped the Los Angeles Dodgers eke out a come-from-behind 3-1 Game Six victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday to force a World Series decider.
Seager’s deep fly ball to right field allowed Chase Utley to scamper home for the go-ahead run, igniting the sold-out crowd of 54,128 as the Dodgers tied the series up at 3-3 to set up Wednesday’s winner-take-all showdown.
Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor continued his clutch hitting in the post-season, tying the game 1-1 earlier in the inning with a double down the right-field line off of losing pitcher Justin Verlander.
“I was just trying to put a ball in play,” Taylor said.
“He’s really tough with that fastball up in the zone and a good slider. I was just trying to get the barrel on the ball and hope for something good and it worked out for me,” he said.
Taylor has reached base safely 26 times this post-season, a franchise record.
Dodgers slugger Joc Pederson hit a solo 373-foot blast in the bottom of the seventh to provide the National League champions with an insurance run, and reliever Kenley Jansen came in during the eighth inning for a drama-free six-out save.
The loss was the first of the post-season for the hard-throwing Verlander, who had a no-decision in Game Two.
Dodgers starter Rich Hill was sharp but gave up a solo home run to center fielder George Springer in the third inning for a 1-0 Astros lead and was pulled with two outs in the fourth.
Dodgers reliever Tony Watson, who came into the game in the top of the sixth inning and escaped a two-on-two out jam, was the winning pitcher.
The defensive play of the game came in the top of the seventh when the Astros had runners on first and third with two outs, and second baseman Jose Altuve hit a soft ground ball to Justin Turner.
The third baseman charged to pick up the ball and make a quick throw to first baseman Cody Bellinger, who took it on the hop to get the speedy Altuve and keep the Dodgers 2-1 in front.
Game Seven will pit the Dodgers’ Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish against Astros curve-ball specialist Lance McCullers Jr.
Darvish had a nightmare start in Game Three in Houston, where he could not get out of the second inning in the shortest start in his major league career.
McCullers Jr had a solid outing for the first five innings of the same game before losing his accuracy in the sixth inning.
Wednesday’s game will be the first-ever World Series Game Seven played at Dodger Stadium and will either see the hosts win a first title since 1988 or the American League champion Astros bag a first-ever crown in their 55-year history.