Welcome to Game 8 of the World Series.
Justin Verlander struck out 14 Dodgers and George Springer had a two-run double as the Houston Astros appeared to pick up where last fall's World Series left off in a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.
Verlander won his first career regular-season start at Dodger Stadium, giving up one run on four hits over 7 2/3 innings. He pitched well in last year's World Series but had a loss and a no-decision in his two starts.
Springer was the unquestioned star of last year's World Series against the Dodgers. He had five home runs, including homers in games 4, 5, 6 and 7. It appeared to be more of the same Friday when he worked a walk in the first inning and ripped a two-run double to left in the second off Dodgers starter Alex Wood.
The Dodgers' Joc Pederson led off in the first inning with a home run off Verlander. It was his second straight game he's led off with a homer and fifth time this season. He has eight in his career.
Offense was hard to come by after that for the Dodgers. Chris Taylor had singles in the third and eighth innings off Verlander. Cody Bellinger had a single in the fourth.
Verlander struck out the side in both the second and fourth innings and set down Pederson in the eighth ining for his 14th and final strikeout before he was removed. Astros reliever Hector Rondon recorded the final four outs for his 11th save.
Wood (7-6) went six innings, but after a visit from a member of the Dodgers medical staff, he was removed as he came out to warm up in the seventh inning. Wood gave up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Springer was playing for the first time since being removed from Tuesday's game at Seattle with a shoulder injury.
It was the second time in three seasons the teams in a World Series met the following regular season. In 2016, the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets played each other after also meeting in the 2015 World Series.
Dodgers OF Andre Ethier, who drove in Los Angeles' only run in Game 7 of last year's World Series defeat, officially announced his retirement with an on-field ceremony Friday.
Ethier, who has not played with any team this season, hit 162 home runs with a .285 batting average in 12 seasons, all with the Dodgers. He was limited to just 38 regular season games the past two years because of multiple injuries.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa (lower back soreness) played seven innings on a rehab assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi, was given a day off Friday and is scheduled to play both Saturday and Sunday. ... 2B Jose Altuve (right knee soreness) is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but manager A.J. Hinch said he is not confident Altuve will play in Tuesday's game at San Francisco. ... C Brian McCann (arthroscopic knee surgery) got into a catcher's squat Friday for the first time since his early July surgery and will start working to build up his strength.
Dodgers: RHP Erik Goeddel (right lat inflammation) was placed on the 10-day disabled list opening a roster spot for RHP John Axford, who was acquired in a trade from the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. ... LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (left groin strain) will have another rehab outing next week, possibly at Triple-A Oklahoma City, after throwing four scoreless innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday. ... LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain) received a cortisone shot after a setback in his recovery, but is expected to resume activity next week after a new MRI showed no significant damage in his shoulder.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers (10-6, 4.06 ERA) will pitch Saturday, coming off his fourth career 11-strikeout performance Sunday against the Rangers.
Dodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.48) will make his first career regular-season appearance against the Astros on Saturday.