LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles Dodgers will have to keep waiting for their first World Series championship since 1988 following a 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros in the decisive seventh game at Dodger Stadium.
The Astros took command early, scoring twice in the first inning and three times in the second Wednesday to win the best-of-seven Series four games to three and clinch their first World Series championship in their 56 seasons of play.
``I know we had the talent and we just didn't get it done,'' Dodger manager Dave Roberts said after the team completed its first World Series appearance since 1988. ``We've just got to regroup and get to this point next year.''
George Springer, who was unanimously selected as the Willie Mays World Series MVP, got the Astros started, doubling when leading off the first inning, scoring one batter later on an error, and hitting a two-run homer in the second.
The homer was Springer's fifth of the Series, tying the record set by Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in the New York Yankees six-game victory over the Dodgers in the 1977 Series, and tied in 2009 by Chase Utley -- then of the Philadelphia Phillies, now with the Dodgers -- in a six-game loss to the Yankees.
The Dodgers led in hits, 6-5, but were one-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base before a capacity crowd announced at 54,124, part of the 346,702 that attended the Series, the most since 2003 when the series between the Yankees and Florida Marlins drew 364,932 over six games..
``They made pitches and we just couldn't get the hit when we needed to,'' Roberts said.
Charlie Morton, the last of five Astros pitchers, was credited with the victory, limiting the Dodgers to one run and two hits, striking out four and walking one over the final four innings.
Morton ``was really on point tonight,'' Roberts said. ``And they made pitches, and we just couldn't get the hit when we needed to.''
Houston manager A.J Hinch removed starter Lance McCullers Jr. with one out in the third and runners on first and second. McCullers set a World Series record by hitting four batters, breaking the record set in 1971 by Bruce Kison of the Pittsburgh Pirates and tied in 2005 by Jose Contreas of the Chicago White Sox.
McCullers allowed three hits and struck out three.
``I didn't plan on pulling McCullers early,'' Hinch said. ``I thought he was going to pitch a little bit deeper in the game, but what we were seeing were just some pitches that weren't being executed. And we felt like we could pass the baton onto the next guy and we would piece together.''
The Astros second pitcher Brad Peacock allowed one hit over two innings and walked one batter. He was followed by Francisco Liriano and Chris Devenski, who each pitched one-third of an inning before Morton finished the game.
Springer scored on first baseman Cody Bellinger's two-base throwing error on a ground ball hit by Alex Bregman. Bregman stole third and scored on Jose Altuve's ground out.
McCullers drove in Houston's first run in the second, as Brian McCann, who had led off with a walk and moved to third on Marwin Gonzalez' double. McCullers was the first pitcher to have an RBI in Game 7 of the World Series since Jesse Orosco of the New York Mets in 1986 and the first ever from an American League team.
Springer followed McCullers' ground out with a two-run homer.
Roberts replaced starting pitcher Yu Darvish following Springer's home run. Brandon Morrow struck out Bregman to end the inning.
Darvish lasted 1 2/3 innings, equaling the shortest outing in a major league career that began in 2012. His earlier short outing came in Game 3 Friday, when he was also charged with the loss. Darvish Wednesday allowed five runs, four earned, and three hits. He walked one and did not strike out a batter.
``I know he wanted the baseball,'' Roberts said. ``I know he was prepared. I just can't explain the results. I really can't.''
Morrow became the second pitcher to pitch in all seven games of a Series, joining Darold Knowles of the 1973 Oakland Athletics.
Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw held Houston scoreless from the third through sixth innings.
The Dodgers scored their run in the sixth. Joc Pederson led off with a single, moved to second on a walk to Logan Forsythe and scored one out later on pinch-hitter Andre Ethier's single.
The four hit batters tied the record for a Series, also held by Kison, Contreas and Bill Donovan of the 1907 Detroit Tigers.
McCullers now shares the career Series hit-batter record with Donovan and Eddie Plank, a Hall of Famer who pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1905, 1911, 1913 and 1914 Series.
Springer became the first player to homer in four consecutive games in a single Series. Reggie Jackson homered in Games 4 through 6 of the 1977 Series and Game 1 of the 1978 Series and fellow Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig homered in Games 2 through 4 of the 1928 World Series and Game 1 of the 1932 World Series.
Springer's eight extra-base hits for the Series broke Hall of Famer Willie Stargell's record of seven, set in the Pittsburgh Pirates seven-game triumph over the Baltimore Orioles in the 1979 Series. Springer also had three doubles in addition to the five home runs.
Springer's 29 total bases broke the World Series record of 25 set in 1977 by Jackson and tied by Stargell in 1979.
Bellinger's three strikeouts Wednesday gave him 17 for the Series, breaking the record of 13 set last season by Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs.
Also weighing in on the loss was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who issued this statement via Twitter: ``This series may not have gone our way this year, but L.A. stands behind the Dodgers in triumph and heartbreak. This team will be remembered as one of the most gifted and resilient in history and I'm already counting the days until spring training because we know they'll be more determined than ever to bring a championship home.
``Our city has been inspired by this magical run and we'll never stop bleeding Dodger blue.''
The Dodgers have not released their spring training schedule. They are set to begin the 2018 season March 29 by playing host to the San Francisco Giants.
Garcetti also tweeted an acknowledgement that the Dodger loss means that he will be sending Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner ``a delicious meal'' from Kogi BBQ and ``some tasty L.A. beer.''
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