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Dodgers, Astros play fastest World Series game since 1992

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Clocking in at just two hours and 28 minutes, Game 1 of the Dodgers-Astros World Series was the quickest World Series game since Game 4 of the 1992 Series, when the Braves’ Tom Glavine pitched a complete game loss against the Blue Jays in just two hours, 21 minutes.

Here are three factors that played into Tuesday’s speedy resolution:

1. Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel allowed a combined 10 baserunners.

For the first seven innings of Game 1, only 11 batters reached base. Ten of those came courtesy of Game 1 starters Clayton Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel, who would have enjoyed scoreless World Series debuts had it not been for a trifecta of home runs from Chris Taylor, Alex Bregman and Justin Turner. Aside from those three, only Austin Barnes reached past first base — and was promptly doubled off of second to end the third.

2. From the eighth inning on, the bullpen faced the minimum.

The Dodgers’ bullpen has been one of their biggest strengths this postseason, and Tuesday’s Game 1 win was no exception. Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen retired six batters in order, while the Astros’ Brad Peacock issued a free pass to Logan Forsythe before inducing a fly out to end the seventh and Chris Devenski closed out the Astros’ first loss of the series with a scoreless eighth.

3. Justin Turner mashed his first go-ahead home run of the series.

Without Justin Turner’s two-run go-ahead shot in the sixth, the Dodgers and Astros might still be duking it out on the mound. Kershaw was masterful from start to finish and Houston’s staff put together a solid performance on the road. Had Turner not broken the tie as quickly as he did — on the other hand, had the weather not been so warm or had the Dodgers put up another 11-run spread, à la Game 5 of the NLCS — they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to set this kind of record.

Breaking the all-time record for the shortest World Series game is a challenge of a different kind altogether. That distinction belongs to the Boston Braves and Cleveland Indians of the 1948 World Series, when Johnny Sain and Steve Gromek went toe-to-toe in two complete game performances for a Game 4 that lasted just one hour, 31 minutes. Perhaps the Astros can offer their rebuttal in the form of a Justin Verlander Game 2 perfecto tomorrow night.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.