HOUSTON — A whirlwind of emotion caught up with Alex Wood while in the dugout between innings, and not only because the young Dodgers left-hander still had a no-hit bid in his first World Series start.
Even before he took the mound against the Houston Astros on Saturday night, the date already had a lot of significance for Wood. And it all hit him during Game 4.
Wood’s parents had gotten engaged on that day nearly 30 years earlier. It was also his fiancée’s birthday, and marked eight years since an accident left his best friend paralyzed.
“I believe in fate, and I believe everything happens for a reason,” Wood said after the Dodgers beat Houston 6-2 to even the World Series at two games each. “I really always truly believe in God’s timing. I’m just really happy today went the way it did.”
Wood, a 26-year-old who won 16 games during the regular season, took a no-hitter in the sixth before George Springer homered with two outs. It was the deepest a Dodgers hurler had ever gone in a postseason game before allowing a hit .
That was also the end of the night for Wood, though manager Dave Roberts — who has had no problems going to his bullpen at any point, especially this postseason — acknowledged there was some hesitation about pulling Wood.
“I thought Alex earned the opportunity, obviously the way he was throwing the baseball, didn’t give up any hard contact, to continue to go,” Roberts said. “But at that point in time after the homer … I felt that was good enough. That was enough that he needed to give us. And to go to the ‘pen right there, I felt we can keep them there, we win the game.”
The bullpen did, and the Dodgers won.
Brandon Morrow threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings, with the Dodgers tying the game in the seventh after he came on to finish the sixth for Wood.
Lefty Tony Watson pitched a scoreless eighth and got the win after Los Angeles scored five times in the ninth. Kenley Jansen closed out it, though he allowed a solo homer to Alex Bregman, the only other Astros hit.
The biggest start in his baseball career coincided with so many other things in Wood’s life.
“I usually don’t get too emotional, but just the culmination of all of those things together,” he said. “There’s a lot of important people in my life and events, good and bad, that have happened. And just it taking us to this point today is just really awesome, for sure.”
Chance Veazey, his former University of Georgia teammate, was paralyzed from the waist down when a car turned in front of the motorized scooter he was riding when he was a freshman. Wood and Dodgers teammate Kyle Farmer, who was also at Georgia at the time, have tattoos of the phrase “Second Chance” as a tribute to their friend.
Veazey was Wood’s guest during the All-Star Game this summer, hanging out with him in Miami.
In the World Series, Wood only issued two walks the first two times through the batting order, with one of those wiped out by a double play.
But leadoff hitter Springer homered, and Roberts was soon coming out of the Dodgers’ dugout after what had been an intriguing pitcher’s duel between Wood and Charlie Morton.
“I just trying to stay in the moment and stay focused on what I’m trying to do. The innings were rolling pretty quickly there the first four, five, six innings,” Wood said. “It kept us both of us locked in, a little bit of a groove. He was special, too.”
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