Gurriel ready for Los Angeles heat after racism furore
Los Angeles (AFP)
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Yuli Gurriel is bracing for a hostile reception from Los Angeles Dodgers fans on Tuesday following the furore over his racist gesture against Yu Darvish.
Gurriel escaped being kicked out of the World Series on Saturday after making a racist gesture about Japanese pitcher Yu during his team's victory in game three in Houston.
The 33-year-old Cuban slugger went on to play a pivotal role in Sunday's epic game five win, belting a three-run homer off Clayton Kershaw to level the score at 4-4 in the fourth inning.
The Astros clinched a thrilling 13-12 victory and now stand just one win away from sealing their first ever World Series crown.
However a fiery welcome is almost certain to greet Gurriel when he steps up to the plate at Dodger Stadium for Tuesday's potentially decisive game six.
"Yuli has got a good heart," Astros skipper Hinch said. "He made a mistake. He'll pay for it. The reaction in LA, I'm sure, will be on the aggressive side."
Hinch said he did not plan to address the issue with Gurriel, who was given a five-game ban which will only begin at the start of the 2018 season.
"I don't think I need to talk to him about it, I think everyone is aware it's going to be a rough setting for him," Hinch said.
"I don't think you can convince 55,000 fans to turn the page as fast as maybe the two teams have."
Darvish, who called for conciliation after Gurriel's gesture, is in line to start for the Dodgers on Wednesday if the series goes to a seventh game.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts meanwhile said his battered and bruised side were focusing only on Tuesday's game six as they attempt to buck history by becoming only the 21st team to overturn a 3-2 deficit to take the title.
"It's going to be boisterous and energetic at Dodger Stadium, and I think our focus is just going to be to win one game," Roberts said.
"To get ourselves to think about winning two in a row, I think we'd be getting ahead of ourselves," he added. "We're at an elimination stage right now, and we'll do everything we can to win one game."
Dodgers players meanwhile took a defiant tone as Houston erupted in celebration following Sunday's emotionally draining victory.
"They're celebrating now, 3-2, but guess what? They've still got to beat us one more time," said closer Kenley Jansen.
"The fact that we're going home, we've got to continue to grind. This is it, can't hang our heads.
"We're going home. I don't care who we're going to face, we've got to stay positive. Can't let a bad day affect us. They did what they're supposed to do, they took care of their home field -- we took one, and now we've got to protect it and try to win game six and get back into it."
Cuban star Yasiel Puig was emphatic that the Dodgers would bounce back with a series-levelling win on Tuesday.
"This is not going to be finished Tuesday. There's going to be a game seven," said Puig.
© 2017 AFP