Kenta Maeda worked a scoreless inning of relief Tuesday and five Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers showed off their arms in a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the World Series.
The win forced a decisive seventh game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, when Yu Darvish will start for the Dodgers, who are seeking to win their first championship since 1988. Lance McCullers Jr. will start for the Astros.
"I didn't get over-excited or anything like that (when I was told)," Darvish said before the game.
"I never knew there was a difference (in the World Series ball as claimed by players and coaches on both teams). I don't know if the reason for my poor sliders (in Game 3) had to do with my physical condition or the slicker balls, but I hope it'll turn out differently next time."
On Tuesday, the Dodgers were trailing 1-0 when they turned to their exhausted bullpen. Brandon Morrow relieved Rich Hill with two out and the bases loaded in the fifth, and retired Houston third baseman Alex Bregman on an inning-ending groundout.
Maeda, who gave up a game-tying three-run homer in Game 5, took the mound in the seventh after Tony Watson issued a leadoff walk. Maeda preserved a 2-1 lead despite yielding an infield single to George Springer and needing to get two outs with a runner in scoring position.
"We had our backs against the wall so all I thought about was getting that zero on the scoreboard," Maeda said.
"(In my last outing) I tried to play it safe, so this time I went aggressively. We've come this far and all we have is one more game. I don't mind if my arm rips off, that's how badly I want this."
The Dodgers did not get on the scoreboard until the sixth, when Chris Taylor doubled in the game-tying run and Corey Seager's sacrifice fly plated the go-ahead run. Joc Pederson homered in the seventh to purchase some insurance.
Astros starter Justin Verlander, who retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced before the Dodgers' two-run rally in the sixth, was tagged with the loss. Watson got one out in the sixth for the win.