The Washington Nationals have won the World Series, defeating the Houston Astros by a score of 6-2 in Game 7. It is the first World Series Championship in franchise history, and the first title for Washington DC since the 1924 Senators.
The stage was set heading into Game 7 with the road team winning each of the first six games, a first in not only MLB history, but also in any sport that plays seven-game playoff series, including the NBA and NHL. This trend continued Wednesday night.
Yuli Gurriel started the scoring with a home run off of Scherzer in the bottom of the second inning. He lined a 2-1 slider into the left field seats, the first of three consecutive hits by the Astros to start the inning.
With two runners on in the fifth inning, Carlos Correa singled in the second run for the Astros. Yordan Alvarez slid into third base safely on the play which was upheld after a Nationals challenge. The Astros again failed to capitalize after that, but they held a 2-0 lead through four-and-a-half innings of World Series Game 7.
Anthony Rendon put the Nationals on the board int he seventh inning home run. He hit a 1-0 changeup down the left field line, giving the Nationals only their third base runner of the game at the time.
While the Astros failed to capitalize on some of their opportunities, the Nationals did not. After Rendon’s home run, Soto walked. That set up a two-run home run by Howie Kendrick to take the lead. Kendrick hit an 0-1 cutter off of the right field foul pole, and the Nationals had a 3-2 lead after seven innings while providing classic World Series drama.
The Nationals added three more runs. One came in the eighth inning when Soto singled in Adam Eaton, and two more in the ninth thanks to Eaton.
The starting pitching featured a Max Scherzer vs. Zack Greinke matchup, the first Game 7 featuring two Cy Young Award winners in World Series history. Additionally, Scherzer is starting three days after he was unable to pitch in Sunday’s Game 5 with a nerve issue in his neck.
Game 7 of the #WorldSeries 2 hours away. The first Game 7 matchup of Cy Youngs (Max Scherzer vs. Zack Greinke) in World Series history. This is one of those moments in time that change lives, legacies and franchises. Bring it on! pic.twitter.com/LBMPALExFe
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) October 30, 2019
Greinke did not seem phased by the moment. He induced soft contact while facing the minimum through four innings with the only base runner being erased on a double play. He continued to record outs with ease until the seventh inning, and he was ultimately removed after only 80 pitches. His final line was six-and-a-third innings pitched, while allowing two runs. He struck out three batters and allowed four base runners, only two in the first six innings.
Scherzer pitched out of early jams despite not having great control of his pitches. Through five innings, he reached six, three-ball counts, putting men on base in each inning. He finished the night with five innings pitched, while allowing seven hits and four walks and only three strikeouts. That being said, he battled all night and only allowed two runs.
Both teams were expected to use starting pitchers in relief in the game. The Nationals started this trend by bringing Patrick Corbin in for the sixth inning. He pitched three scoreless inning to keep the game close.
Corbin’s effort shut down the Astros bat and helped turn the momentum back in the Nationals favor.
Despite Gerrit Cole warming up in the bullpen, he was not called on when Greinke was pulled in the seventh inning. Instead Will Harris came on with a runner on first. That move ultimately back fired as Harris gave up the lead and recorded zero outs before being pulled. After nine innings, four Astros came out of the bullpen and Cole was not one of them.
Daniel Hudson came on to close out the game in the ninth, securing the championship.
The deciding win capped off a tremendous comeback season for the Nationals who started 2019 off with a 19-31 record. Their come from behind win is their third in three winner-take-all games in this postseason.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images