Nats beat Astros 6-2 to win first World Series
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series (all times local):
Howie Kendrick and Anthony Rendon homered in the seventh inning as the Washington Nationals overcame a two-run deficit and rocked the Houston Astros 6-2 Wednesday night in Game 7 to claim the first World Series title in franchise history.
With all eyes on Max Scherzer and his remarkable recovery following an injection, the Nationals embraced their shot in a Series where the road team won every game. Even more against the odds: Juan Soto and Washington rallied from behind to win five elimination games this postseason.
Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and the Nats brought the first World Series championship to the nation's capital since Walter Johnson delivered the crown for the Senators in 1924.
The Washington Nationals added to their lead going into the ninth inning of Game 7 after another hit by their young slugger.
Juan Soto's RBI single in the eighth inning extended Washington's lead over the Houston Astros to 4-2.
Houston will have the top of its order coming up in the bottom of the ninth, needing at least two runs as they try to win their second World Series title in three years.
Washington, with the Nationals in their 15th season, will try to take a World Series title with the visiting team winning every game.
Soto, who turned 21 last Friday, has two hits in the Series finale and 18 this postseason, with only one player younger than him matching that. Miguel Cabrera had 18 hits as a 20-year-old rookie for the World Series champion Marlins in 2003.
Anthony Rendon homered off Zack Greinke and Howie Kendrick followed with a go-ahead, two-run drive against Will Harris in the seventh inning, giving the Washington Nationals a 3-2 lead over the Houston Astros in Game 7.
Greinke cruised through six innings with a one-hit shutout, needing just 67 pitches
With Washington trailing 2-0, Rendon drove a pitch into the left-field Crawford boxes with one out in the seventh, then Juan Soto walked on five pitches.
Harris relieved and Kendrick swung past a curveball, then drove a cutter to the opposite field, where it hit off the screen attached to the right-field foul pole, stunning the crowd at Minute Maid Park.
Yuli Gurriel singled off Patrick Corbin with two outs in the bottom half but became the Astros' 10th stranded runner when Yordan Álvarez grounded out.
Zack Greinke put up another zero in the sixth while Patrick Corbin took over for Max Scherzer in Game 7 with Houston leading the Nationals 2-0.
Greinke breezed through a 1-2-3 sixth inning. He has allowed just one hit, walked one and has thrown 67 pitches in this efficient outing.
Pinch-hitter Jake Marisnick led off Houston's sixth with a single. But Corbin struck out George Springer before Jose Altuve grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Zack Greinke is providing quite an assist for the Houston Astros as they try to clinch their second World Series title in three seasons.
Houston leads the Washington Nationals 2-0 through five innings, and finally got a hit with a runner in scoring position.
Greinke has allowed only two runners, giving up a single in the second inning and a walk in the fifth. The five-time Gold Glove-winning pitcher and former Cy Young winner, a trade deadline acquisition for the Astros this year, already has five fielding assists — the most by a pitcher in a World Series game since Greg Maddux's five while throwing eight scoreless innings for Atlanta against the Yankees in Game 2 in 1996.
Yuli Gurriel led off the Astros second with a homer off three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.
The Astros have had runners every inning, with seven hits and four walks. But they were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position until Carlos Correa's two-out RBI single off the glove of diving third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Houston's Zack Greinke pitched one-hit ball through four innings against the Nationals in World Series Game 7, facing the minimum 12 batters as the Astros maintained their 1-0 lead.
Washington's Max Scherzer kept escaping trouble, failing to pitch a 1-2-3 inning but holding the Astros to 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Houston stranded seven runners.
A five-time Gold Glove winner, Greinke induced four comebackers, including one he turned into a double play following Juan Soto's leadoff single in the second, Greinke needed just 41 pitches for his first 12 outs.
Scherzer allowed five hits and three walks but just the one run, on Yuli Gurriel's home run leading off the second. He threw 76 pitches,
After Josh Reddick's two-out single in the fourth, George Springer walked on four pitches and José Altuve flied out to center.
Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke both threw scoreless third innings in Game 7 after Yuli Gurriel gave Houston a 1-0 lead over the Nationals with a solo homer off Scherzer in the second.
Greinke sailed through the third inning, needing just eight pitches to retire Ryan Zimmerman, Yan Gomes and Victor Robles. Greinke, a five-time Gold Glove Award winner, fielded a softly hit grounder by Zimmerman before George Springer caught fly balls by Gomes and Robles to leave Washington with just one hit through three innings.
Jose Altuve singled with no outs in the bottom of the frame and Alex Bregman walked with one out. But Houston missed an opportunity to add to the lead when Scherzer retired Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez to end the inning.
When Scherzer left the mound with 55 pitches, there began to be a bit of stirring in Washington's bullpen.
The Houston Astros have taken a 1-0 lead in Game 7 and missed a chance to add more runs off three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.
Yuli Gurriel led off the Astros second with a homer into the Crawford Boxes in left field, sending the orange-clad crowd into a frenzy.
Rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Carlos Correa followed with sharp singles. But Robinson Chirinos popped out on an attempted sacrifice bunt before Josh Reddick grounded out. The inning ended on George Springer's liner that was caught just off the ground by left fielder Juan Soto.
With Scherzer and Zack Greinke on the mound, it is the first time Cy Young winners have matched up in Game 7 of a World Series. Neither has a strikeout through the first two innings.
Greinke has allowed one hit while throwing 12 of 20 pitches for strikes. Scherzer, the Game 1 winner who missed his Game 5 start because of an irritated nerve near his neck, has walked one and thrown 19 of 33 pitches for strikes.
Young slugger Soto got the Nationals hit with a single to right field but was quickly erased from the basepaths when Howie Kendrick hit a comebacker to Greinke to start a 1-4-3 double play.
Asdrúbal Cabrera then was retired on a nice snag by Gurriel, who stepped on first base for the unassisted out just moments before putting the Astros ahead with his second homer this postseason — and first in this World Series.
Soto, who turned 21 last Friday, has 17 hits this postseason. The only player younger than him with more hits in a single postseason was Miguel Cabrera, who had 18 as a 20-year-old rookie for the World Series champion Marlins in 2003.
Washington and Houston were scoreless after a hitless first inning in Game 7.
Zack Greinke need just eight pitches to retire Trea Turner on a lineout, Adam Eaton on a squib in front of the plate and Anthony Rendon on a groundout.
Averaging 97 mph with his fastball, Max Scherzer retired George Springer on a flyout and José Altuve on a groundout, walked Michael Brantley, then got Alex Bregman on a flyout. Scherzer, recovered from an irritated nerve near his neck with the help of a cortisone injection, threw 15 pitches.
Texas-born actor Matthew McConaughey kicked off Game 7 of the World Series by declaring: "Let's play ball." Wearing the same orange jersey the team was wearing Wednesday night, McConaughey worked the packed crowd into a frenzy by asking: "Houston are you ready," when he took the microphone.
Earlier, two of Houston's famed Killer B's, Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell threw out ceremonial first pitches simultaneously. Biggio made his toss to pitcher Collin McHugh and Bagwell threw his to pitcher Lance McCullers.
Bagwell and Biggio were part of Houston's first World Series team in 2005 that was swept by the Chicago White Sox. McHugh and McCullers helped the Astros to their first title in 2017.
Umpires apparently wouldn't have gotten much of an argument from Astros manager AJ Hinch if that disputed interference call hadn't been made in Game 6.
Nationals leadoff hitter Trea Turner was ruled out on interference with the first baseman when running on his slow roller that was fielded by pitcher Brad Peacock in the seventh inning. The game was stopped for about 10 minutes, including about 4 ½ minutes with the umpires on headsets discussing the situation, before Turner was called out and another runner was returned to first base.
"That one I wish common sense prevails," Hinch said before Game 7, when asked if he would like to see the base running rule altered. "I actually side with Turner on this one, that I didn't think that he was getting in the way of anything. It was an errant throw."
Nationals manager Dave Martinez says Game 7 starting pitcher Max Scherzer has told him that he feels great and is ready to go.
"He's going to go, he's going to pitch," Martinez said before the deciding game Wednesday night. "We'll see how far he will take us."
Scherzer, the Game 1 winner, wasn't able to make his scheduled start in Game 5 on Sunday night because of an irritated nerve near his neck. The three-time Cy Young winner had an injection that night and threw on flat ground before Game 6. He was later seen throwing in the bullpen during that game Tuesday night.
Martinez wasn't sure Scherzer would be able to pitch again in this World Series after he couldn't move Sunday. The manager even scrunched his shoulders and grimaced while trying to imitate how the pitcher looked before the shot.
Scherzer will be throwing to catcher Yan Gomes instead of Kurt Suzuki, who was initially in the starting lineup for Game 7 after missing the last three games with a hip flexor strain.
The manager says Suzuki is still available to come off the bench and play, either as a hitter or catcher.
Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has been scratched from Washington's starting lineup for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.
Suzuki missed the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain. The 36-year-old was initially listed in the starting lineup but was replaced again by Yan Gomes just under three hours before the first pitch.
Gomes will be behind the plate for Max Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner who was unable to make his start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck. Scherzer is starting the finale after a cortisone shot.
Gomes was listed eighth, the same spot Suzuki was to bat.
Alex Bregman and Houston manager AJ Hinch spoke three times Tuesday night about the third baseman carrying his bat to first base after hitting a home run in the first inning.
Hinch said he talked to Bregman about it during the game, after the game at the stadium and on the phone after they both left the park following Houston's 7-2 loss to the Nationals in Game 6.
Bregman apologized for the move after the game and Hinch shared what he told him about it.
"It's just not how we do things and not something that was necessary," Hinch said. "It was an emotional reaction. I love the way he plays and it doesn't diminish what he brings to the table, but it was unnecessary."
However, Hinch knows that Bregman learned his lesson from the miscue and wants him to put it in the past.
"After the game and into the night I wanted to make sure he realized he's got to forgive himself before he moves on," Hinch said. "We need to make sure it doesn't ruin (Game 7). I don't want it to carry over."
Houston manager AJ Hinch said Game 6 starter Justin Verlander won't be available for Game 7 against the Washington Nationals.
After taking the loss in Game 6 to fall to 0-6 in seven career World Series starts, Verlander said he would be available on Wednesday if Hinch needed him. But Hinch shut that down.
"All hands on deck means most hands on deck," Hinch said.
While Verlander is out while Houston tries to win a second championship in three seasons, fellow ace Gerrit Cole could be used out of the bullpen.
Cole got the win in Game 5 on Sunday. Hinch said he'll talk to him before the game about how he might use him on Wednesday.
"It would be in a limited capacity if I ask him to do anything," Hinch said.
Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki is back in Washington's lineup for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.
Suzuki hadn't played the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain. The 36-year-old, who homered in Game 2, will be behind the plate to catch for Max Scherzer.
Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner, was unable to make his start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck. He is starting the finale after a cortisone shot.
Washington's lineup was unchanged aside from Suzuki back in the lineup batting eighth, and center fielder Victor Robles dropping back to the No. 9 spot after catcher Yan Gomes hit in that spot in Game 6.
Houston used a familiar lineup against the right-hander, led off by 2017 World Series MVP George Springer.