Astros walk off 13-12 after a 10-inning, knock-down, drag-out war with Dodgers

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The Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 runs, 28 hits, and 11 walks in Game 5 of the World Series. It was a knock-down, drag-out war of a game that took five hours and 17 minutes to complete from its 8:21 PM ET start. And it was the Astros who finally emerged victorious in the bottom of the 10th inning thanks to Alex Bregman.

The Dodgers got on the board quickly, loading the bases with one out against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel in the top of the first inning. After Cody Bellinger struck out, Logan Forsythe knocked in a pair of runs with a single to left field. With Yasiel Puig batting, Keuchel made a pickoff throw to first base and Forsythe was a dead duck. He hurried to second base and first baseman Yuli Gurriel made a wide throw. Forsythe was able to sneak his foot onto the bag ahead of Jose Altuve‘s tag, a call that was upheld upon replay review. Another run scored in the process, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, Austin Barnes tacked on another run for the Dodgers with an RBI single. In the bottom half, the Astros finally responded against Clayton Kershaw. George Springer drew a walk to start the inning and Jose Altuve singled with one out. Carlos Correa then doubled to left field, plating Springer. That brought up Gurriel, who had been a net negative on the field for the Astros since his dugout incident. He turned that narrative around, swatting a first-pitch slider from Kershaw over the Crawford Boxes for a game-tying three-run home run.

Bellinger answered the Dodgers’ rally with a three-run home run off of Collin McHugh in the top of the fifth, putting the Dodgers ahead 7-4. Altuve answered in the bottom half with a three-run homer of his own off of Kenta Maeda, tying the game again, this time at seven apiece.

Neither starter fared well. Keuchel’s final line: 3 2/3 innings, four runs (three earned), five hits, two walks, four strikeouts on 86 pitches. Kershaw’s: 4 2/3 innings, six runs (all earned), four hits, three walks, two strikeouts on 94 pitches.

The Dodgers re-took the lead in the top of the seventh. Justin Turner led off with a double, but was erased attempting to advance to third base on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Enrique Hernandez. Cody Bellinger then lifted a sinking liner to center field that George Springer dove for and could not catch. Hernandez came around to score all the way from first base and Bellinger wound up at third base with a triple.

Springer re-tied the game in the bottom half of the seventh, sending a first-pitch fastball from a clearly gassed Brandon Morrow — pitching for a third consecutive day — towards the train tracks in left field, making it an 8-8 game. That certainly makes up for the defensive misplay. Altuve gave the Astros their first lead. After Bregman singled, Altuve doubled to left-center, allowing Bregman to score from first. Correa kept the pain train rolling, sneaking a rainmaker of a home run into the first couple rows of the Crawford Boxes, upping the Astros’ lead to 11-8.

In the top of the eighth, the Dodgers fought back for a run against Brad Peacock and Will Harris. Joc Pederson doubled and Peacock hit Chris Taylor with a pitch, which prompted manager A.J. Hinch to bring Will Harris into the game. Corey Seager ripped a first-pitch double into left field, bringing Pederson home. Harris was able to escape the inning without further damage. Brian McCann got the run back for the Astros in the bottom half, lacing a solo home run to right field off of lefty Tony Cingrani to make it 12-9.

In the bottom of the ninth, Chris Devenski came on in a save situation, as Hinch avoided using the struggling Ken Giles. Devenski issued a leadoff walk to Bellinger, then served up a two-run home run to Yasiel Puig, whose line drive had just enough height to clear the wall in left field. That closed the deficit to 12-11. Puig’s homer also set a new World Series record as the Astros and Dodgers have combined for 22 home runs through five games in the World Series. The 2002 World Series saw the Angels and Giants combine for 21 home runs in a seven-game series. Barnes followed up by hustling for a double on a line drive hit to center field. Devenski was able to get Pederson to ground out but Taylor somehow found a way to reach for an outside pitch and single to center field, bringing Barnes home to tie the game at 12-all.

Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning for the Dodgers to send the game into extra innings. Joe Musgrove worked a scoreless top of the 10th for the Astros. In the bottom half of the 10th, Jansen returned to the mound for a second inning of work. After getting two quick outs, Jansen hit McCann with a pitch, then walked Springer to push the winning run to second base. Derek Fisher pinch-ran for McCann, which would prove to be pivotal as Bregman lined a single into left field. Andre Ethier‘s throw came in late as Fisher scored the winning run, giving the Astros a 13-12 walk-off victory over the Dodgers.

It was an absolutely entertaining game to watch from start to finish, unless you’re a fan of either team in which case the game probably caused heart issues. It was reminiscent of Game 4 of the 1993 World Series in which the Phillies and Blue Jays combined for 29 runs.

The Astros, now holding a 3-2 series lead, will attempt to win their first ever championship on Tuesday as the two clubs meet for Game 6 of the World Series. Justin Verlander will square off against Rich Hill at Dodger Stadium.

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.