Cole, Astros push Nats to brink with Game 5 win
Gerrit Cole quieted the Washington Nationals’ bats as the Houston Astros took spot-starter Joe Ross deep twice in a 7-1 victory in Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night, giving the Astros a 3-2 series lead and pushing Washington to the brink of elimination heading back to Houston.
After winning the first two games of the series in Houston, the Nationals dropped all three of the first World Series games played in Washington since 1933, by a combined score of 19-3.
Scheduled starter Max Scherzer was scratched Sunday afternoon with a nerve issue in his neck, forcing the Nats to turn to Ross for an emergency start. He allowed four runs in five innings.
Houston failed to score in the first inning for just the second time in the series, but the Astros still struck first, on Yordan Álvarez’s two-run home run in the top of the second.
As they did Saturday night, the Astros doubled their advantage to 4-0 in the fourth on another two-run home run, this one off the bat of Carlos Correa. Ross worked ahead to an 0-2 count but just missed the outside corner for strike 3. Four pitches later, Correa bashed a hanging slider into the left field bleachers.
Cole had a far better second start than his first, in which the Nationals tagged him for five earned runs and two home runs in seven innings. After allowing the first two runners of the second inning to reach via singles, he didn’t allow a basehit the rest of the way until Juan Soto’s solo home run with one out in the seventh, as the Nats finally got on the board. Cole finished seven innings of work with just the one run allowed on three hits and two walks, striking out nine.
Houston got the run right back as Yuli Gurriel poked a two-out, two-strike single off Daniel Hudson past a diving Trea Turner up the middle in the top of the eighth to stretch the lead to 5-1. In the ninth, George Springer hit a two-run shot deep into the left-field seats to make it 7-1.
Astros relievers Joe Smith and Ryan Pressly worked a scoreless eighth and ninth innings to close it out.
The series shifts back to Houston, where Washington has won both games so far, for Game 6 Tuesday night. Game 2 starters Stephen Strasburg and Justin Verlander are slated for a rematch, with first pitch at 8:07 p.m.