Strasburg, Nats force Game 7 with 7-2 win over Astros
A night full of drama couldn’t faze Stephen Strasburg, who pitched into the ninth inning to help the Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 7-2 and force a deciding Game 7 of the World Series.
In a rematch of what was a pitchers’ duel in Game 2 before the Nats broke that game open, Strasburg once again bested Justin Verlander, who is still winless in the World Series, taking his sixth career Fall Classic loss. Strasburg finished having allowed five hits and two runs in eight and a third innings.
The road team won for the sixth consecutive time in the series, the first time that has happened in MLB postseason history.
In the top of the seventh with the Nats leading 3-2, a controversial call caused a several-minute delay, as, with a runner at first and no outs, Trea Turner was called out on runner’s interference after he collided with Yuli Gurriel’s mitt heading into first base. Replay review seemed to indicate he was clearly in the baseline, but he was called out, leaving a runner at first with one out instead of second and third with nobody out. Two batters later, Anthony Rendon made sure that wouldn’t come back to haunt the Nats, hitting a towering home run into the Crawford boxes in left field to stretch the lead to 5-2.
After the Nationals tried to play the game under protest, they were told they could not, and manager Davey Martinez exploded out of the dugout during the seventh-inning stretch. He had to be physically restrained by bench coach Chip Hale, but was still ejected, marking the first time a manager has been thrown out of a World Series game since Bobby Cox in 1996.
Just as they did in the first matchup between these pitchers, both offenses scored in the first inning. Turner beat out an infield single after an overturned replay review, moved to second on Adam Eaton’s sacrifice bunt, and scored as Rendon poked a ground ball through the shift-vacated right side of the infield.
In the bottom of the frame, George Springer hit Strasburg’s first pitch off the left field wall for a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on José Altuve’s sacrifice fly. Alex Bregman homered to left with two outs to put Houston in front, and Gurriel hit one to the wall in right-center that Juan Soto hauled in.
Just like Game 2, both settled in after the opening frame, but the Nationals jumped on Verlander in the fifth, as both Eaton and Soto homered to right field, Soto’s landing deep in the upper deck, pushing Washington in front 3-2.
Strasburg pitched out of a second-and-third, one-out jam in the bottom half of the frame after Josh Reddick’s bad jump kept him from scoring on Springer’s double. Altuve struck out and Turner was positioned perfectly to snag Michael Brantley’s liner up the middle off the short hop, throwing him out to end the frame.
Rendon added a two-run, ninth-inning double to provide the final margin and cap a five-RBI night. Sean Doolittle got the final two outs on the mound to close it out.
Max Scherzer, who was scratched from Game 5, is expected to start Game 7 against Zack Greinke. First pitch is at 8:08 p.m. Wednesday night in Houston.