HOUSTON — As a couple of Astros loosened up in the outfield, the retractable roof at Minute Maid Park made its slow crawl Thursday, turning the bright sun into shade.
That might be the only way to keep balls from flying completely out of the yard at this power-packed World Series.
A day after Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Houston combined with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a Series-record eight home runs in the Astros’ 7-6, 11-inning win, the baseball world was still marveling over the moonshots.
So were the players who launched them.
“Actually, when I was getting off the plane with (Carlos) Beltran, I was talking to him, and I was like, what was going through your head when Altuve hit the homer? He was like, ‘We were going crazy in the dugout,'” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said.
“Then I was like what about when Correa hit his, what about when they hit theirs? And they hit theirs,” he said, laughing. “We were just going back and forth.”
After a Major League Baseball season that set a record for the most home runs, the World Series is off to a flying start.
Already a whopping 11 homers — six by Los Angeles — as the sides split the first two games at Dodger Stadium. At this rate, they’d shatter the Series record of 21 in 2002 when Barry Bonds and Giants lost to the Angels in seven games.
The curveballing Lance McCullers Jr. starts Game 3 for Houston on Friday night against Yu Darvish, and the roof will be shut — exactly how the Astros like it.
The highest-scoring team in the majors is 6-0 at its thumping home this postseason. The top hasn’t been open since early June in order to block out the Texas summer heat.
Rain is in the forecast, and the final call on whether to close the roof rests with MLB. That decision is based in part on what the home team normally does during the year.
“We want it closed. We’ve got to have it closed,” reliever Chris Devenski said. “I feel the electricity when it’s closed is so much better. And we love playing here. We have so much excitement being here and the electricity and the vibe. And I feel like we feed off of it.”
The Astros had plenty of energy Wednesday night, too. Marwin Gonzalez hit a tying homer off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning, Altuve and Correa connected back-to-back in the 10th and George Springer hit a two-run shot in the 11th.
There were five home runs solely in extra innings.
“Yeah, last night hurt,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
After a few Astros casually limbered up, Los Angeles held a full, relaxed workout. With the roof closed and the park empty, sounds echoed from every corner of the park.
Whistles, hoots, singing, the crack of the bat. It was all loud.
“Hey!” Yasiel Puig shouted, clanking a drive off a distant metal railing in left-center.
In the outfield, a couple players bantered with stadium workers high above. Jansen whooped it up, playing third base and trying to make behind-the-back stabs at practice grounders.
Jansen was having fun, less than 24 hours after Gonzalez tagged him. The Dodgers had been 98-0 this year when leading after eight innings, the lone club in the majors without a loss in those situations.
Roberts said he checked with Jansen after the game.
“I just wanted to — it doesn’t happen very often that a game is blown when he takes the baseball. So I just wanted to come back, circle back with him, make sure he was in a good state of mind, which he was,” Roberts said.
“And it’s baseball, things like that happen. But he was obviously disappointed but prepared for tomorrow,” he said.
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