Houston dedicates win to storm-ravaged city

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LOS ANGELES—The Houston Astros dedicated their World Series victory to their storm-ravaged Texas home city on Wednesday after claiming the Fall Classic for the first time.

Ever since Hurricane Harvey deluged the Houston region in August, leaving dozens dead and causing catastrophic damage, the Astros have been men on a mission.

And on Wednesday it was mission accomplished as the Astros stunned the Los Angeles Dodgers in the decisive game seven 5-1 to complete a 4-3 series triumph.

The Houston Astros celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1, in game seven to win the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.   AFP

Astros players went into the post-season with patches bearing the slogan “Houston Strong”, underscoring their solidarity with the city. 

Series Most Valuable Player George Springer said the determination to win the title for Houston’s fans “was everything.”

“That patch on our chest truly does mean a lot to us,” Springer said. 

“I’m so happy for our fans who have endured a lot. We’re coming home champions.”

Astros star Jose Altuve dedicated the win to the Houston fans.

“I think this is the happiest moment of my life in baseball,” Altuve said. 

“We did this for them. I know there has been a lot going on his Houston but they are the biggest reason why we are here.”

Astros owner Jim Crane said the team had been fuelled by the support of fans in Houston.

“This one’s for Houston, we got hit hard,” Crane said. 

“Everyone was behind us and the team really picked up on it. We’re just so happy for everybody.”

Astros coach A.J. Hinch meanwhile said he was delighted to deliver a first World Series to the city.

“You know what Houston—we’re a championship city,” Hinch said.

“We take pride in being there for Houston. They responded by falling in love with this team,” Hinch added.

Meanwhile, George Springer hammered his way to the World Series Most Valuable Player award, belting a record-equalling five home runs to fuel the Houston Astros’ seven-game win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“The wildness of this series, the wackiness of this series, the emotional ups and downs, being able to play in this is something that I will never, ever forget, even if this is the only time I will ever get here,” Springer said Wednesday, after smacking a two-run homer in the Astros’ decisive 5-1 triumph over the Dodgers.

The 28-year-old center fielder looked an unlikely World Series hero after hitting just .115 in the Astros’ seven-game victory over the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

He struck out four times in game one against the Dodgers, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch found himself defending his decision to keep Springer at the top of his lineup. 

Hinch’s faith was amply rewarded as Springer smashed the two-run home run in the 11th inning that won game two for the Astros.

Springer homered again in Houston’s game four defeat and in game five he atoned for a defensive miscue that saw the Dodgers take an 8-7 lead with a solo homer that tied a game the Astros would go on to win 13-12.

“I went from the lowest low to the highest high,” he said of that one. “That was the craziest home run I’ve ever hit.”

Springer’s homer in game six accounted for Houston’s only run in a 3-1 defeat.

And, finally, his two-run blast on Wednesday made him the first player ever to homer in four straight World Series Games.

His five home runs in the series tied the record set by New York Yankees great Reggie Jackson and later matched by Chase Utley for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I don’t know if there’s a cloud higher than nine, but I’m on it,” said Springer, whose 29 total bases in a World Series are a record.

“When he got going, it gets pretty scary, he can do a ton of damage,” Hinch said.

Springer, for his part, was grateful for Hinch’s faith.

“I will run through a wall for that guy any day,” he said.

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