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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.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?