Usually automatic Jansen’s loss has Dodgers down in Series
HOUSTON (AP) — Kenley Jansen had been almost automatic for the Los Angeles Dodgers — until the World Series.
Now after the big closer’s loss to the Houston Astros in Game 5, after a rare blown save earlier in the series, the Dodgers are going home in a hole.
But like any good closer, Jansen is trying to have a short memory.
“I mean, it is frustrating, it’s tough. But what can you do,” Jansen said. “I’m already moving forward from this, I’m already looking for Tuesday, I’m already ready for them again Tuesday. They’ve got to beat us again, they’ve got to beat all of us, all 25 of us to win it.”
Jansen blew only one save during the regular season, and just this weekend had been recognized as the National League’s top reliever for the second year in a row.
The Dodgers had already used six pitchers, and had just tied the game with three runs in the ninth inning late Sunday night, when Jansen came on for the fourth time in the World Series.
Jansen worked around a two-out double in the ninth, but Alex Bregman’s RBI single with two outs in the 10th inning in a game that took 5 hours, 17 minutes ended the game early Monday morning. Houston won 13-12 to take a 3-2 series lead.
“We knew going into this series, this is the best offensive ball club that we were going to see all year. And they can slug you. They spoil pitches. They’re athletic,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But our guys did the same thing.”
Brian McCann had reached with two outs in the 10th when he got hit by a pitch, a ball that struck him on his right forearm and rolled up to also catch him on the hand. That inside pitch came immediately after McCann had almost ended the game, turning on a pitch and pulling it deep down the right field line and foul.
The Astros catcher initially stayed in the game after manager A.J. Hinch and a trainer came out to check on him. But Derek Fisher took over as a pinch-runner at second base after George Springer drew a walk, and Fisher raced home with the winning run on Bregman’s liner to left.
“Just missed my spot, missed my location,” Jansen said, but added that he didn’t think fatigue was a factor.
Bregman had hit a solo homer off Jansen in the ninth inning of Game 4 on Saturday night, but that was in a 6-2 Dodgers victory.
Game 6 is Tuesday night in Los Angeles, where in Game 2 last Wednesday the Astros got even in the ninth inning when Marwin Gonzalez homered in the ninth off Jansen for a 3-3 tie.
That was the first-ever blown save in the postseason for Jansen, and the Astros went on to win 7-6 in 11 innings and avoid coming home in an 0-2 deficit.
Jansen led the NL with 41 saves in the regular season, his third career 40-save season, and his 1.32 ERA was the best in the majors for a reliever.
But the closer and the Dodgers still have a chance for their first World Series title since 1988.
“This ain’t over. We’re going home,” Jansen said. “This is not a time for us to hang our heads or worry about what happened. It already happened. Move forward.”
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