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Dodgers force World Series Game 7 with 3-1 victory over the Astros

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Game 6 of the World Series didn’t feature nearly as much offense as Game 5, but it was riveting nonetheless. The Dodgers emerged victorious 3-1 to send the World Series to Game 7.

Astros starter Justin Verlander was dealing through five and was staked to a 1-0 lead thanks to George Springer‘s solo home run off of Rich Hill in the top of the third inning.

The Dodgers got to Verlander in the bottom of the sixth, however. Austin Barnes singled to lead off the inning, then Verlander hit Chase Utley with a 1-2 change-up. Chris Taylor, who has come up with many a clutch hit for his team throughout the postseason, poked a double down the right field line to plate Barnes, tying the game at 1-1. Corey Seager then lifted a fly ball to deep right-center, about as deep as one can go without hitting a home run. Josh Reddick caught the ball but Utley was able to scamper home easily to score the go-ahead run. Verlander saw his way out of the inning by getting Justin Turner to pop out and Cody Bellinger to strike out.

That was it for Verlander, who ended the night giving up just the two runs on three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts across 73 pitches. Hill, meanwhile, went 4 2/3 innings and give up one run on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts on 58 pitches.

Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers some insurance, lifting a one-out solo home run to the opposite field off of Joe Musgrove.

Kenley Jansen entered in the eighth, despite talk that manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t use him for more than three outs. Jansen worked a 1-2-3 frame, getting Carlos Correa to fly out, Yuli Gurriel to pop out, and Brian McCann to strike out. Jansen returned to the mound in the ninth to attempt a six-out save. Marwin Gonzalez popped up, Reddick struck out, and pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran struck out as well. Six up, six down for Jansen.

For the second year in a row, the World Series will go to a seventh and final game. The last time the World Series went seven games in back-to-back years was 2001-02 (Diamondbacks/Yankees, Angels/Giants). This year’s Game 7 will take place at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night at 8 PM ET.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.