Bregman, with a walking lead, then stole third on the unsuspecting Darvish. From there, he scored when Altuve followed Bregman’s lead and pushed a grounder to the right side. Eight pitches into the game, the Astros had a 2-0 lead.
It was not as if the Dodgers did not have their chances. McCullers hit four batters, and allowed three hits in just two and one-third innings. But Joc Pederson, who had three homers in the series, grounded out to leave the bases loaded in the first and struck out against Peacock with two on to end the third. Logan Forsythe was doubled off second to end the second. And Yasiel Puig lined out to first to end the fifth with runners at the corners.
The Dodgers finally broke through in the sixth inning when Andre Ethier’s ground ball sneaked through to right field, scoring Pederson. But Morton struck out Chris Taylor and shattered Seager’s bat for a groundout that allowed him to escape.
In all, the Dodgers left 10 runners on base.
The Dodgers’ season of regret will not end with Game 7. Their closer Kenley Jansen, dominant throughout the season, could not hold a 3-1 lead in Game 2 and was beaten in Game 5. Clayton Kershaw, considered the best pitcher in baseball, throttled the Astros in Game 1 and threw four scoreless innings of relief on Wednesday, but he could not hold 4-0 and 7-4 leads in Game 5.
Darvish also had an opportunity to bounce back from a dreadful start in Game 3 and take his retribution against Yuli Gurriel, the Astros’ first baseman, who had mocked him by making an offensive gesture after hitting a home run off Darvish.
When Gurriel reached the batter’s box in the first inning, he kicked at the dirt, then doffed his batting helmet toward Darvish. The pitcher acknowledged in kind, tipping his cap to Gurriel.
The détente between the two players did little to quiet the crowd, which for the second consecutive night robustly booed Gurriel. But Gurriel took some of the venom out of the crowd by fouling off seven two-strike pitches before flying out to culminate a 13-pitch at-bat.
Darvish, who lasted just one and two-thirds innings in Game 3, was only able to get five outs in Game 7. When Springer belted a 3-2 fastball deep into the left-field pavilion, it spelled the end for Darvish.
And, as it would turn out, the end of a half century of futility for the Astros.