It was a night of drama and memories, majesty and zaniness, but ultimately the Houston Astros were not able to overcome Clayton Kershaw and his Los Angeles Dodgers in game one of the World Series, falling to the National League champions, 3-1. As befits a city whose very existence had been threatened by weather not long ago, the Astros’ first appearance in a Fall Classic since 2005 was dominated by a climatic event of its own, this time searing heat. When the game began at 5:11 p.m. local time, the temperature was a scorching 103 degrees with just 10 percent humidity.
The first six innings of the game featured a classic pitchers’ duel that seemed to immediate announce the L.A.-Houston match-up as one for the ages. Kershaw was simply excellent, striking out 11 Astros, more than are fanned in two or three games, and he allowed only two hits, one a sky-high home run by third baseman Alex Bregman. For the Astros’ part, after Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor homered on the very first pitch of the game (the fourth time that has happened in a game 1 of the World Series), Houston pitcher Dallas Keuchel got back on track, pitching well until two outs into the sixth inning when, after a walk to Taylor, Justin Taylor stroked a home run over the left center field wall. Keuchel had given up six hits by that point, including a final single to Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, before being replaced by Brad Peacock.
As for the drama and memories, much of that came courtesy Jackie Robinson’s widow, who rode onto the field as part of the game’s ceremonial first pitch. This being LA, there was a large celebrity contingent in the crowd as well, with actors Rob Lowe and George Lopez personally stirring up the crowd by waving giant Dodgers flags while pacing the roofs of both teams’ dugouts. There was former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda sitting next to Magic Johnson. Jerry Seinfeld was there, also Arsenio Hall, Jason Bateman, Lady Gaga, and legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully (for whom the street on which Dodger Stadium stands is now named). Even Snoop Dogg was enlisted via video whip up the crowd of 54,253.
The Astros are hoping for a different result in game two tonight behind the pitching of ace Justin Verlander. One thing that certainly won't be different tonight is the weather, however. Last we checked, the temperature was predicted to be 95 degrees when the first pitch is thrown (at 7:09 p.m. Houston time).