• Brian L. Barefield

Hostile Crowd Fuels Astros Victory

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

Most teams are equipped to ignore extra trash talking from fans in the stands when they walk into certain opposing team’s stadium. That is mostly due to the fact that they love and support the team they root for. Now imagine hearing over 50,000 voices screaming how much they hate you with vitriol in their voices as profanity is being hurled at you as if you did something to them personally.

That is exactly the environment the Houston Astros faced as they took the field at Dodgers stadium on Tuesday night. It was their first time there to face Los Angeles with fans in the stands since the sign stealing scandal in 2017 was made public in 2019. Dodgers fans and some players feel like the Astros cheated them out of a World Series title in 2017 when they lost to Houston in the seven-game series.

The Astros were able to block out all the distractions including inflatable trash cans, beer cans, and even foul balls being thrown on the field, to defeat the Dodgers 3-0 behind a brilliant game pitched by Lance McCullers Jr. who allowed only four hits and struck out nine batters on the night to get the win.

“I enjoy pitching in games and environments like this,” said McCullers who picked up his ninth win on the season. “It is the most fun I have had pitching in a while."

Houston got on the board early in the top of the third inning when Michael Brantley hit a double to drive in Martiń Maldonado who had doubled earlier in the inning to take a 1-0 lead.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

That score would remain the same until the top of the eighth inning when Yordan Alvarez sent a thunderous two-run home run to right field on a 0-1 pitch off of Dodgers reliever Victor Gonzalez to put the Astros up 3-0. Alvarez was traded from Los Angeles to Houston in 2016.

“We knew what we were going to be facing when we came in here tonight,” said Alvarez about the environment in Dodgers stadium. “We just prepared to play the best we could, and things came out well for us.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker knew coming into the series against Los Angeles that it would be more than just two regular season games to conclude an eight-game West Coast road trip.

“That was a playoff atmosphere,” said Baker in his postgame press conference. “These fans are in love with the Dodgers and they indeed bleed Dodger blue. It was exciting. This is a game I would have enjoyed playing in”

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