The Astros and Dodgers combined for eight home runs in Game 2 of the World Series


Game 2 of the World Series was precisely the kind of game that the phrase “it ain’t over till it’s over” was invented to describe. Corey Seager hit one out in the sixth inning, and we thought it was over; Marwin Gonzalez responded with a go-ahead homer in the ninth, then Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa took the lead with back-to-back bombs, and we thought it was finished; Yasiel Puig belted another one in the 10th, then tied the game with Enrique Hernandez‘s RBI single and nope, wouldn’t you know it, George Springer still had another dinger up his sleeve.

The Astros’ and Dodgers’ combined efforts pushed the final count to eight home runs. They made the win probability chart look like a pathological liar trying desperately to bluff his way through a lie detector test. Prior to Wednesday’s insane finish, no World Series competitors had ever combined for as many as eight home runs in a single game, and no regular season or postseason teams featured five homers in extra innings, either.

Granted, not all home runs are created equal, even in a playoff game as nuts as this one. Here are the three home runs that helped changed the momentum during the Astros’ eventual 7-6 win:

1. Corey Seager’s two-run shot in the sixth inning.

The Dodgers weren’t going to win this game on pitching alone. Rich Hill was only good for four innings and the club’s rock-solid bullpen finally started to crumble against the Astros’ lineup. Their best hope for pulling off another win? Getting to Justin Verlander, which is just what Corey Seager did. He followed Joc Pederson‘s fifth-inning homer (a gravity-defying knock that only clears the wall 16% of the time, per Statcast) with a 383-foot blast in the sixth inning, providing the Dodgers with a much-needed one-run lead.

2. Marwin Gonzalez’s game-tying 398-footer in the ninth.

Kenley Jansen was three outs away from a 2-0 lead in the World Series when Marwin Gonzalez approached the plate. Three more outs, and the Dodgers would have preserved their winning streak at Dodger Stadium this postseason. Three more outs, and the Dodgers would be halfway to their second World Series sweep, denying the Astros yet another chance to clinch their first Fall Classic game.

Gonzalez put all of those thoughts to bed when he spotted an 0-2 cutter hanging out in the middle of the strike zone. He punched it nearly 400 feet to center field to tie the game and, thanks to a shutdown inning from Ken Giles, send it to extras.

Per Baseball Reference, he’s just the 10th player to hit a game-tying home run in the ninth inning — and the first visiting player to do so in 42 years.

3. George Springer’s go-ahead solo homer in the 11th.

George Springer hit the home run that won it all, but there were so many other interesting, heart-stopping home runs between the ninth and 11th innings. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa regained the lead in the 10th after becoming the first World Series players to club back-to-back dingers. Yasiel Puig manufactured his second postseason home run off of Giles and carefully laid his bat on the ground before jogging around the bases. Even Charlie Culberson gave the Dodgers some last-minute hope with his solo home run in the 11th.

And then there was Springer, whose two-run, 389-foot homer off of Brandon McCarthy was arguably one of the most important home runs in franchise history. It didn’t matter (much) that he struck out four times in Game 1. It didn’t matter that his head was cut off due to some oddly-placed in-game advertisement. From now on, he’ll be known as the guy who clinched the Astros’ first World Series win — and regardless of how the rest of this series shakes out, that’s a pretty good thing to be remembered for.

Keep in mind, we’re only through the first two games of the World Series and we’ve already been treated to a 2.5-hour pitcher’s duel and an 11-inning slugfest. With the series headed back to Houston for Games 3 through 5, who knows what else lies in store.

Major League Baseball threatens to walk away from Minor League Baseball entirely

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The war between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball escalated significantly last night, with Minor League Baseball releasing a memo accusing Major League Baseball of “repeatedly and inaccurately” describing the former’s stance in negotiations and Major League Baseball responding by threatening to cut ties with Minor League Baseball entirely.

As you’re no doubt aware, negotiations of the next, 10-year Professional Baseball Agreement, which governs the relationship between the big leagues and the minors — and which is set to expire following the 2020 season — have turned acrimonious. Whereas past negotiations have been quick and uncontroversial, this time Major League Baseball presented Minor League Baseball with a plan to essentially contract 42 minor league baseball teams by eliminating their major league affiliation while demanding that Minor League Baseball undertake far more of the financial burden of player development which is normally the responsibility of the majors.

That plan became public in October when Baseball America reported on it, after which elected officials such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren began weighing in on the side of Minor League Baseball. Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball were not happy with all of that and, on Wednesday, Manfred bashed Minor League Baseball for taking the negotiations public and accused Minor League Baseball of intransigence, saying the minors had assumed a “take it or leave it” negotiating stance.

Last night Minor League Baseball bashed back in the form of a four-page public memo countering Manfred’s claims, with point-point-by-point rebuttals of Major League Baseball’s talking points on various matters ranging from stadium facilities, team travel, and player health and welfare. You can read the memo in this Twitter thread from Josh Norris of Baseball America.

Major League Baseball responded with its own public statement last night. But rather than publicly rebut Minor League Baseball’s claims, it threatened to simply drop any agreement with Minor League Baseball and, presumably start its own minor league system bypassing MiLB entirely:

“If the National Association [of Minor League Clubs] has an interest in an agreement with Major League Baseball, it must address the very significant issues with the current system at the bargaining table. Otherwise, MLB clubs will be free to affiliate with any minor league team or potential team in the United States, including independent league teams and cities which are not permitted to compete for an affiliate under the current agreement.”

So, in the space of about 48 hours, Manfred has gone from being angry at the existence of public negotiations to negotiating in public, angrily.

As for Minor League Baseball going public itself, one Minor League Baseball owner’s comments to the Los Angeles Times seems to sum up the thinking pretty well:

“Rob is attempting to decimate the industry, destroy baseball in communities and eliminate thousands of jobs, and he’s upset that the owners of the teams have gone public with that information in an effort to save their teams. That’s rich.”

Things, it seems, are going to get far worse before they get better. If, in fact, they do get better.