HOUSTON — Howie Kendrick hit an opposite-field, two-run home run in the seventh inning, and the Washington Nationals completed an upset of the Houston Astros, claiming the decisive Game 7 with a 6-2 victory on Wednesday to secure the franchise’s first championship.
It’s the city of Washington’s second World Series title, after the Senators won it all in 1924. The Montreal Expos, who debuted in 1969, moved to Washington and became the Nationals starting in 2005.
Kendrick, whose grand slam in the 10th inning of the National League Division Series felled the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers, again struck the decisive blow for the Nationals, who became the first team to win four road games in the Fall Classic. Kendrick slapped an 0-1 cutter from Astros right-hander Will Harris (0-1) off the right-field foul pole to erase a 2-1 deficit.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin (1-1) made that lead stand by completing a three-inning stint of scoreless relief. He replaced starter Max Scherzer to open the sixth and induced an inning-ending double play from Jose Altuve to keep the deficit at 2-0.
Corbin stranded Yuli Gurriel in the seventh after Washington pulled ahead and set the Astros down in order in the eighth before yielding the mound to Daniel Hudson. Corbin allowed two hits and fanned three.
Juan Soto stroked an RBI single in the eighth to make it 4-2. Washington added two runs of insurance in the ninth, ensuring victories for the road team in all seven games of the series, a first in any major US sport. The Nationals faced won five elimination games en route to the title.
“We stuck together. I know that, when we had nothing else to lose,” Houston Native and Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon said. afterward. “When people had written us off, we were facing elimination games that people thought we shouldn’t have been there in the first place. So we just kept on fighting and happened to come out on top.”
Astros right-hander Zack Greinke pitched exceptionally before departing following his one-out walk to Soto in the seventh inning. Greinke faced the minimum through four innings and had just 59 pitches on his ledger through five scoreless frames. He also initiated a double play in the second inning and recorded four additional assists.
But Rendon started the comeback with his one-out homer off Greinke. Kendrick landed the staggering blow two batters later.
Greinke was charged with two runs on two hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
As was the case for most of their losses the Astros were done in by failures with runners in scoring position. Houston struck first against Scherzer when Gurriel homered leading off the second inning. From that point, the Astros went hitless in six plate appearances with runners in scoring position before Carlos Correa lined a two-out, two-strike single past Rendon to score Gurriel in the fifth.
The Astros finished one-for-eight with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 baserunners. They went four-for-29 with runners in scoring position at home in the World Series.
Scherzer, who was scratched from an expected Game 5 start due to neck and back spasms, allowed two runs on seven hits and four walks in five innings, striking out three.
WASHINGTON CELEBRATES FIRST WORLD SERIES TITLE
Political divisions were swept to one side as Washington baseball fans erupted in cheers at almost midnight on Wednesday to celebrate the city’s first World Series title since 1924 after the Nationals defeated the Houston Astros 6-2.
Despite wet weather, thousands of fans celebrated after the Nationals came from behind in Houston to win Game 7 of Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship series.
Hardy fans braved a watch party at the Nationals’ stadium on the Washington waterfront.
The city’s last World Series victory came 95 years ago, when the Washington Senators defeated the New York Giants in seven games.
The Nationals’ run to the World Series title united fans from across the ideological spectrum even as Washington is embroiled in a growing impeachment inquiry into Republican President Donald Trump led by Democrats in Congress. [
Trump was booed by Nationals fans and regaled with chants of “lock him up” when he attended the fifth game of the series on Sunday in Washington.
The Nationals have played in Washington since 2005 when the franchise, formerly known as the Montreal Expos, moved from Canada. — Reuters