Howie won it! Kendrick’s Game 7 blast guides Nats to World Series win
Howie Kendrick’s seventh-inning, two-run, opposite field home run off Will Harris gave the Washington Nationals a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, as they came from behind to beat the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 of the World Series for the first championship in franchise history.
Kendrick’s blast erased a dominating pitching performance from Zack Greinke, who baffled the Nats through six scoreless innings before Anthony Rendon finally got Washington on the board with a one-out, solo shot to left in the top of the seventh, cutting Houston’s lead to 2-1. Greinke followed with a walk to Juan Soto and was lifted for Harris, who worked ahead 0-1 before Kendrick hit a low fastball the opposite way off the base of the foul pole netting to make it 3-2.
The Nationals manufactured an insurance run in the eighth, as Adam Eaton walked, stole second, and scored with two outs on Juan Soto’s RBI single. They put the game away in the top of the ninth, loading the bases for Eaton, who poked a ball back up the middle to score two more runs, making it 6-2.
The Nats became the first team to win all four road games in a best-of-seven playoff series in any major professional American sport. Washington also won five elimination games this postseason, the final three on the road.
The World Series title is the first for a Washington baseball team since the Senators won the 1924 World Series 95 years ago.
Max Scherzer, who was scratched from Game 5 with a nerve issue in his neck, didn’t record his first strikeout until the fourth inning and visibly didn’t have his best stuff all evening. Yuli Gurriel again put Houston ahead early, blasting a hanging Scherzer slider for a leadoff home run to open the bottom of the second inning. But despite two more singles immediately after, the Astros could not score more than the single run, starting a pattern that continued through the early innings.
Time and time again Scherzer wiggled out of jams, with the Astros stranding seven runners through the first four innings. Finally, with two on and two out in the fifth, Carlos Correa’s line shot inside the bag at third glanced off Anthony Rendon’s mitt and into foul territory, scoring Gurriel to make it 2-0. Scherzer got Robinson Chirinos swinging to strand two more runners and escape the threat.
Scherzer survived five innings like he did in Game 1, allowing just the two earned runs. He gave way to Patrick Corbin for a scoreless sixth, seventh and eighth innings, making the lefty the pitcher of record.
Daniel Hudson came on for a 1-2-3 ninth to finish the game.