LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers' hopes to take a seventh World Series title were dashed Wednesday with a 5-1 loss in Game 7 to the Houston Astros.
Los Angeles was gunning for its first title since 1988, following a league-leading 104-win regular season. It's a victory that would've been even sweeter in front of the home crowd at Dodger Stadium after a dramatic series that set records for home runs.
Instead, the Astros took their first-ever World Series title, bringing a joyous celebration to the hurricane-battered city.
"We take great pride in being there for Houston at that time," Astros manager A.J. Hinch, referring to the team's camaraderie and support with fans during Hurricane Harvey. "Obviously they responded by falling in love with this team."
Dodger fans tried to stay optimistic as they watched the game live at Dodger Stadium or at bars throughout Southern California, but with LA never taking a lead or nearing a comeback, it was hard to stay positive.
After the ninth inning, 71-year-old fan Joanne Lopez-Rojas, who had the Dodgers logo painted on her cheek, said she's going to "cry and stop on the way home and have a drink."
Dodgers fans blue after title loss to Astros in World Series
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he told the team they had a lot to be proud of for their performance.
"Just not hang your heads," Roberts said he told the team. "One team can only win this and it's a great ball club over there."
Houston jumped out to a big early lead, batting in five runs against Yu Darvish in just the first two innings. The Astros pitching staff then held on tightly to preserve the win, with Dodger hitters stranding at least 10 runners on base.
With the score 5-0, manager Dave Roberts yanked Darvish with one out to go in the second. After that, the Dodgers held the Astros scoreless, but were only able to muster one run of their own through the next seven innings.
The performance was another disappointment for Darvish, mirroring Game 3, when he was pulled after allowing four runs in less than two innings. The right-hander is headed into unrestricted free agency after the worst World Series by a starting pitcher since 1960, when Art Ditmar lasted just one out in each of his two starts for the Yankees against Pittsburgh.
Fans were criticizing Roberts for starting Darvish after his poor performance in Game 3. But Roberts said Darvish has been solid for the Dodgers for the three months since they acquired him midseason.
"Just very unfortunate," Roberts said. "I know he wanted the baseball. I know he was prepared. I just can't explain the results, I really can't."
"Yu has been one of our top three starters all year, ever since we acquired him," he added.
Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. was replaced in the third inning, making this the first Game 7 in which neither starting pitcher lasted three innings.
There were other records tied or set in this game - none of them in the Dodgers' favor.
George Springer's home run off Darvish in the second inning was his fifth in this World Series overall, tying him with Reggie Jackson (Yankees, 1977) and Chase Utley, (Phillies, 2009). He also tied a record for most consecutive World Series games hitting a home run - four. His 29 total bases was the most all-time for any baseball postseason series.
Springer was awarded the World Series MVP after the game.
The game was also the first World Series Game 7 to be played at Dodger Stadium since it opened in 1962.
Yuli Gurriel was booed loudly again by Dodgers fans after his racist gesture at Darvish in Game 3, which led to a five-game suspension at the start of next season. Like Rich Hill the night before, Darvish stepped off the mound before Gurriel's opening plate appearance, allowing extra time for jeers. Gurriel hit an inning-ending flyout in a 13-pitch at-bat that raised Darvish's pitch count to 24.
As he stepped up to the plate in the first inning, Gurriel took off his batting helmet and slightly nodded toward Darvish in an apparent gesture of respect. Darvish seemed to extend his glove slightly to acknowledge the gesture.
After the game, Darvish said his performance wasn't affected by the Gurriel issue.
"What happened didn't affect me at all. It's just the first at-bat Gurriel came up today, I just tried not to hit him. That's about it."
When Darvish was pulled, Brandon Morrow came in for a single out to close the second, then Clayton Kershaw held the Astros scoreless through four innings. Kenley Jansen was brought in for the seventh, with the score 5-1 thanks to an RBI from Andre Ethier. Alex Morrow came in for the eighth.
Before the game, the Dodgers turned to pitching legends Don Newcombe and Sandy Koufax for ceremonial first pitches.
The right-handed Newcombe tossed the ball to Rick Monday, while lefty Koufax threw to Steve Garvey.
The 91-year-old Newcombe hung onto the 81-year-old Koufax's arm as they walked onto the field. They stood midway between the mound and home plate to make their throws.
Newcombe was a member of the franchise's 1955 World Series championship team. Koufax was World Series MVP in 1963 and 1965.
Before the game, Newcombe was sitting in his usual seat near the Dodgers dugout and entertained a steady stream of well-wishers. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield stopped by, along with current Dodgers Kenley Jansen and Andre Ethier and actor Ken Jeong.
Other celebrities seen in the stands before the game included actor Jason Bateman, model Kate Upton, who is engaged to Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, and Magic Johnson, who is part of the Dodgers ownership group.
Also spotted were Jimmy Kimmel, George Lopez, Rob Lowe, Judd Apatow and Larry King, among others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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