(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Dodgers remain a confident bunch even after suffering a dramatic extra-innings loss at home to the Houston Astros that leveled the World Series at one game apiece.
Rather than hang their collective heads after the defeat on Wednesday the Dodgers did not appear shaken in the least but rather eager to head to Houston where the next three games of the best-of-seven series will be played starting on Friday.
“All year long we’ve done a nice job of recovering, turning the page, whether it’s a big win or tough loss. It’s a tough loss. Just refocusing on the day at hand,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
“And our guys play to the end. It was actually a very hard-fought game. Those are tough. Those are tough. Obviously on this stage it makes it a little tougher, but I have no doubt we’ll come refocused.”
The Dodgers were three outs away from putting the Astros in a daunting Fall Classic deficit but their vaunted bullpen failed to protect a one-run ninth-inning lead.
Dominant Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen entered the game in the eighth inning where he allowed his inherited runner to score before surrendering a game-tying blast to Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth that stunned the home crowd.
It was only Jansen’s second blown save of the year and first in the post-season.
“I’m going to get my shot at them. When I get my shot, I’m going to help my team win,” said Jansen. “I’ll be back for Game Three. The team will give me a shot again, my guys will pick me up again.”
Houston then led off the 10th with a pair of homers only to see the Dodgers respond in the bottom half of the inning and push the game to the 11th inning, where George Springer’s two-run blast proved the difference in a 7-6 Astros win.
“We don’t see why we have to put our heads down or anything. We fought until the end,” said Enrique Hernandez, who tied the game in the bottom of the 10th with an RBI single four batters after Yasiel Puig led off the inning with a solo homer.
“Nobody was expecting us to come from behind after we fell down two runs. We tied the game. The next inning, we almost did it again. That’s what this team is all about.
“We’re going to play hard until the last out of the game is made. We’re never going to give up.”
After cruising through a season in which they posted Major League Baseball’s best record, the Dodgers have not faced a while lot of adversity.
To reach the World Series they swept Arizona in the National League Division Series and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series where they eliminated the Chicago Cubs in five games.
“Yeah, if you look at the season, we sort of gave ourselves some breathing room out of the gate, and throughout the post-season won games early,” Roberts said.
“But I still think that the preparation, the focus on each day to win each day, I think that will be there. Whether we’re up 2-0 or tied 1-1 going into Houston, I don’t think that’s going to change our mindset.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond