The Washington Nationals are the 2019 World Series champions, beating the Houston Astros 6-2 in a tense, well-played Game 7 to take the title at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
The Nationals victory continued the oddball string of visiting teams winning every game in this Series. It was DC’s first baseball title since 1924, when the Washington Senators won. Washington was the oldest team in baseball and started off the year 19-31, but turned it around. Tonight, they stand atop Major League Baseball.
Pitcher Stephen Strasburg was the World Series MVP. He won two games during the Series, and now faces a monumental decision. In three days, he can opt out of a contract that will pay him $100 million over four years and become a free agent. That could mean an even larger payday.
The Astros took the early lead, powered by the strong pitching of Zack Greinke and a second-inning home run from first baseman Yuri Gurriel.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer, who had to miss an earlier start because of back muscle and neck stiffness that he claimed left him unable to dress himself, put up a valiant performance simply to take the mound. But he wasn’t particularly sharp in the early going. The Astros got their hits, including a golfed Gurriel homer, and Scherzer walked four batters through five. But the right-hander always found a way to escape trouble, stranding 9 Astros baserunners in his five innings.
On his 98th pitch, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa lined a single past Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon to come through with an RBI single to make it 2-0, Houston. Given that the Astros had won 60 games at home this year, the lead looked huge.
Astros starter Greinke, who had struggled earlier in the Series, was shutting down the Nationals attack during his stint on the mound, flashing his former Cy Young form. But Greinke tired in the seventh inning, giving up a home run to Nationals third baseman Rendon, followed by a walk to Juan Soto.
He was then replaced by reliever Will Harris, who promptly gave up a historic home run to 36-year-old Howie Kendrick, the National League Championship Series MVP. Kendrick hit a home run off the right field foul pole with Soto aboard, only the fifth time a homer has shaken up the lead in a World Series game.
With Scherzer out of the game, the Nationals turned to Patrick Corbin, usually a starter. He was the winning pitcher, locking down the victory with three well-pitched innings.
In the top of the 8th, 21-year-old Juan Soto drove in Adam Eaton with yet another run, scoring him with a hard single to right. Then the Nationals broke it open with two more in the ninth with a two-RBI single from Adam Eaton.
Reliever Daniel Hudson pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out Michael Brantley for the final out.
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