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Astros ride big second inning to defeat Dodgers 5-3 in Game 3 of the World Series

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The Astros once again emerged victorious in a close, hard-fought battle against the Dodgers. This time they took Game 3 at home by a 5-3 margin and now hold a 2-1 series lead with two more home games remaining.

Dodgers starter Yu Darvish couldn’t make it through the second inning, as the Astros put up a four spot on five hits and a walk. For a recap of that action, which resulted in the shortest outing of Darvish’s career, check out our in-game post from earlier. Darvish gave up six hits and a walk overall with no strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings, throwing 49 pitches in the process. The Astros tacked on another run in the fifth inning on an Evan Gattis single and a throwing error by reliever Tony Watson.

Astros starter Lance McCullers didn’t look nearly as dominant as he did when he hurled four scoreless frames in relief in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Yankees. In the third inning, McCullers walked the first three batters he faced, but lucked into a ground ball double play from Corey Seager, which did plate the Dodgers’ first run. McCullers again ran into trouble in the sixth, walking Seager to lead off the frame, then giving up a double to Justin Turner. After striking out Cody Bellinger, manager A.J. Hinch brought in Brad Peacock. Yasiel Puig knocked in another run with a ground out. With Chase Utley batting, Peacock uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Turner to score, making it a 5-3 game. The right-hander saw his way out of the inning by getting Utley to pop out. Both runs were charged to McCullers, who gave up three in total on four hits and four walks with three strikeouts across 5 1/3 innings, utilizing 87 pitches.

Peacock then worked a scoreless seventh and eighth. He remained in the game for the ninth as Hinch opted to stick with the hot hand rather than closer Ken Giles. It was the right call. Peacock struck out Yasiel Puig, got Utley to hit a tapper back to the mound, then got Yasmani Grandal to fly out to right field to end the game in a 5-3 victory for the Astros. In 3 2/3 innings of relief, Peacock did not allow a hit and walked one while striking out four on 53 pitches. That is a yeoman’s effort.

The World Series continues on Saturday with Game 4 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Alex Wood will start for the Dodgers opposite the Astros’ Charlie Morton.

Hunter Strickland fractured his hand punching a door after Monday’s poor performance

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Giants closer Hunter Strickland had an ugly top of the ninth inning Monday night against the Marlins. He allowed three runs, serving up a walk, a double, another walk, and two singles. The Marlins overcome a 4-2 deficit and went on to win 5-4.

Unhappy with his performance, Strickland punched a door and fractured his pitching hand. He will undergo surgery and will miss six to eight weeks, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports.

That’s a huge loss for the Giants, as Strickland has been terrific, Monday’s start notwithstanding. He carries a 2.84 ERA with 13 saves and a 29/13 K/BB ratio in 31 2/3 innings. Manager Bruce Bochy said Tony Watson or Sam Dyson will fill in at closer while Strickland is out, per Pavlovic.

Bochy said that he is “disappointed” and “crushed” about Strickland’s injury, noting that the right-hander had grown a lot as a pitcher and as a person, Pavlovic adds.

Strickland has a problem with anger, it appears. He exacted revenge on Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper last year, throwing a 98 MPH fastball at him, then punched him in the head when the two brawled. Strickland wanted revenge because, in the 2014 playoffs, Harper stared at a home run he hit off of Strickland.