Nats beat Astros 7-2, force Game 7
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Game 6 of the World Series (all times local):
Stephen Strasburg gutted through without his best fastball to throw a five-hitter Tuesday night, and now it's on to Game 7 in the first World Series ever in which the visiting team won each of the first six games.
Adam Eaton and Juan Soto hit solo homers off Justin Verlander in the fifth inning, Anthony Rendon had five RBIs that included a two-run homer in the seventh, and the Nationals rallied past the Astros 7-2 and tied the Series at 3-3.
Fired up after a controversial call at first base went against them in the seventh, the Nationals padded their lead moments later when Anthony Rendon homered off Will Harris. Washington manager Dave Martinez, still enraged at umpires, was ejected during the seventh inning stretch, screaming as a pair of his coaches held him back. Rendon added a two-run double off Chris Devenski in the ninth.
The Washington Nationals are three outs away from forcing a deciding Game 7 in the World Series.
Washington took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning, after both teams went 1-2-3 in the eighth, following that wild seventh inning that included the disputed interference call before Anthony Rendon's two-run homer and ejection of manager Dave Martinez.
Chris Devenski was on the mound for Houston to start the ninth.
So far, the visiting team has won every game in this series. The Nationals won the first two games in Houston, before the Astros won three in a row in Washington.
Without a comeback, Houston will lose three games in a row at home for only the second time this year.
Washington manager Dave Martinez has been ejected after a volatile argument in which he was physically restrained from getting at umpire crew chief Gary Cederstrom.
The trouble started in the top of the seventh when speedy Nationals leadoff man Trea Turner was called out for interference — he hit a tapper down the third base line, and plate ump Sam Holbrook said Turner was out for running outside the line.
It was a big call because catcher Robinson Chirinos' throw had gotten away, leaving runners at second and third.
Martinez came on the field to shout at Holbrook but left fairly soon.
There was a delay of over 4 1/2 minutes while umpires got on the headsets with the replay room. Part of the discussion was whether the play was reviewable — rather, it was an umpire's judgment, which cannot be challenged.
After the top of the seventh ended, Martinez came on the field to talk to Holbrook and Cederstrom. Suddenly, Martinez got extremely agitated, and bench coach Chip Hale had to hold him back.
The Nationals wound up taking a 5-2 lead on a two-run homer by Anthony Rendon off reliever Will Harris.
After the Astros batted, manager AJ Hinch came from the dugout to talk with Holbrook while Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre met with Cederstrom on the dirt near the backstop.
Stephen Strasburg worked around a leadoff single in the sixth inning to wrap up another scoreless frame and keep the Nationals on top 3-2 in Game 6.
Houston manager A.J. Hinch lifted Justin Verlander for Brad Peacock to start the sixth after Verlander surrendered homers to Adam Eaton and Juan Soto to give the Nationals the lead an inning earlier.
Peacock struck out two in a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Alex Bregman legged out an infield single with no outs in the bottom of the inning but was erased when Yuli Gurriel grounded into a force out. Yordan Alvarez then also grounded into a force that left Gurriel out at second before Strasburg struck out Carlos Correa to end the inning.
Strasburg has struck out six and thrown 86 pitches through six innings.
The Washington Nationals went deep twice while trying to force a Game 7 at the World Series, and Stephen Strasburg worked out of a jam to protect the lead they just got.
Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each hit solo homers in the fifth inning off laboring Astros starter Justin Verlander to put the Nationals up 3-2 in a Game 6 they have to win to extend their season.
Washington's two left-handed batters pulled balls into the right field seats. Eaton's tying blast was measured by MLB Stats at 381 feet, while Soto's go-ahead shot went a little farther — about 413 feet into the second deck.
Verlander needed 93 pitches (59 strikes) to get through five innings, allowing five hits and walking three. His three strikeouts pushed his MLB postseason career record to 205, but Brad Peacock took over on the mound to start the sixth.
Houston hadn't had a hit against Strasburg since Alex Bregman's solo homer in the first put the Astros up 2-1, until No. 9 batter Josh Reddick's one-out single in the fifth.
George Springer, who hit the first pitch of the game off the wall in left field for a double, followed with another double. But with runners on second and third, Jose Altuve struck out swinging at a low breaking ball and Michael Bradley grounded out.
Strasburg, 4-0 this postseason, has thrown 46 of 77 pitches for strikes. He has five strikeouts and two walks.
Justin Verlander is through four innings but has needed 75 pitches to nurse a 2-1 lead. There's been some stirring in the Houston bullpen, but no one is throwing yet.
José Urquidy could be warming up soon. The 24-year-old righty rookie, who began the year in Double-A, dazzled with five shutout innings in Game 4 and is available.
Verlander escaped a first-and-second, one-out jam in the fourth. Catcher Robinson Chirinos went to the mound at one point to lock things in.
Stephen Strasburg had retired nine straight batters before issuing a pair of two-out walks in the fourth. He struck out Carlos Correa to end the inning, but the walks helped push his pitch count to 55.
Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg have both settled in after some early trouble for the third inning of Game 6, with Houston leading Washington 2-1.
Verlander had retired seven in a row when he walked Adam Eaton with two outs in the third. Anthony Rendon then drew a walk on a 10-pitch at-bat, but Juan Soto grounded out to leave the runners stranded.
Strasburg pitched his second straight 1-2-3 inning in the third, striking out Josh Reddick before retiring George Springer and Jose Altuve.
Strasburg has retired seven in a row since Alex Bregman's solo homer with two outs in the first put Houston on top.
Game 6 is off to a flying start.
Alex Bregman carried his bat past first base after a solo home run that gave Houston a 2-1 in the first inning at rollicking Minute Maid Park.
Already way more back and forth action than we saw at Nationals Park over the weekend, where Washington never led, was outscored 19-3 and went just 1 for 22 with runners in scoring position while losing three games.
Anthony Rendon smartly grounded an RBI single through the vacant side that put Washington ahead 1-0. The run, set up when leadoff man Trea Turner was ruled safe on a replay reversal, extended Justin Verlander's early woes — he's given up10 runs in the first inning of six postseason starts this month after allowing only 12 in 34 starts during the regular season.
The Astros quickly bounced back. George Springer hit a double on Stephen Strasburg's first delivery, took third on a wild pitch and scored on José Altuve's sacrifice fly to the warning track.
With two outs, Bregman hit a homer to deep left. He trotted with his bat past the bag at first, dropped it in the dirt and continued around the bases.
Yuli Gurriel almost followed with a home run, but his ball was caught against the wall.
Country star Clay Walker, outfitted in a 10-gallon hat, performed the national anthem before Game 6. The predominantly orange-clad crowd waved towels of the same color and cheered loudly as game time approached.
Hakeem Olajuwon zinged the ceremonial first pitch to fellow Houston Rockets legend and Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler. But it wasn't exactly a dream throw, landing a bit outside where Drexler, who played high school baseball, tried to scoop it.
Olajuwon became an Astros fan after moving to Houston to play for the Houston Cougars and then help the Rockets win back-to-back titles in 1994-95.
Drexler has been an Astros fan as long as he can remember. Growing up in Houston, he would ride his bicycle to games at the Astrodome and nab 50 cent tickets in center field. He said he caught home run balls from a bunch of stars, including Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds.
Drexler then revved up the crowd just before first pitch by yelling: "Play ball."
Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg has the chance to become the first MLB pitcher ever to go 5-0 in a single postseason.
Strasburg, the Game 2 winner, takes the mound Tuesday night with the Nationals down 3-2 in the World Series and needing a win to force a Game 7.
The right-hander went into Game 6 with a five-game postseason winning streak, dating back to Game 4 of the 2017 NL Division Series at the Chicago Cubs. He is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA, striking out 52 and walking only four over 35 innings in that streak.
Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson went 5-1 for Arizona during the 2001 postseason. Francisco Rodriguez was 5-0 for the Angels in 2002 before losing Game 4 of the World Series.
Max Scherzer would start Game 7 of the World Series for Washington on Wednesday if the Nationals win Game 6.
The 35-year-old right-hander missed his scheduled start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck, and the Astros beat substitute starter Joe Ross to take a 3-2 Series lead.
Scherzer had a cortisone shot in his neck Sunday and threw in the outfield Tuesday before Game 6.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez says "as of now, he'll definitely start Game 7.
"He threw. He felt good," Martinez says.
Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer has thrown to a bullpen catcher in left field before Game 6 of the World Series.
He told a few reporters afterward, "I'm good."
Scherzer missed his scheduled start in Game 5 on Sunday night because of nerve irritation near his left shoulder and had a cortisone shot.
He said it would take about 48 hours for the painkiller to have an impact.
Pitching coach Paul Menhart watched Scherzer throw. Scherzer hoped to be available for a Game 7 if Washington tied the series Tuesday night.
Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki is out of the Nationals' lineup again for Game 6 of the World Series.
Suzuki missed the past two games because of a hip flexor strain, and after a travel day still wasn't in the lineup Tuesday night against the Houston Astros and Justin Verlander.
The Nationals beat Verlander in a 12-3 in last Tuesday in Game 2. The only change to their lineup from then is center fielder Victor Robles batting eighth with Yan Gomes catching and batting ninth.
Houston, which can clinch its second World Series title in three years with a win, is going with the same lineup it used for Game 2 against Stephen Strasburg.