Nationals win first World Series title over the Astros

The Washington Nationals come back from down 3-2 in the series to win in seven games

Brayton Wilson
October 30, 2019 - 10:44 pm

Photo: Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

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For the first time in the franchise's 51-year history, the Washington Nationals are the champions of the baseball world.

In a series that saw the road team come up with a win in the first six games, the Nationals continued that trend on Wednesday night with their fourth road win of the series to claim their first ever World Series title. Washington came back from down 2-0 in the seventh inning to score six unanswered runs and beat the Houston Astros, 6-2 in Game 7 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

Both teams went to a couple of aces on the mound to start Game 7, with the Astros turning to Zack Greinke and the Nationals turning to Max Scherzer.

The Astros got on the board first in the second inning thanks to a solo home run from first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who took Scherzer deep to the left field bleachers. Houston added to its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning with a Carlos Correa single that scored Gurriel from second base.

Scherzer ended up pitching well for the Nationals, going five full innings and striking out three, while giving up seven hits, two earned runs and four walks.

As for Greinke, he was dealing in the early going as he took the Astros into the top of the seventh inning with the 2-0 lead.

However, things started to fall apart for Houston in the seventh.

After getting right fielder Adam Eaton to ground out to the shortstop for the first out, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon came up to the plate and hit his second home run in as many nights to cut the Astros' lead in half.

Greinke would walk left fielder Juan Soto, which then forced manager A.J. Hinch to make a pitching change, bringing in reliever Will Harris from the bullpen. Aside from the home run given up to Rendon, Greinke pitched a gem of a game, going 6.1 innings and striking out three, while giving up only two hits, two earned runs, and two walks on 80 pitches thrown.

On just the second pitch of the next at-bat for second baseman Howie Kendrick, the 36-year-old veteran took Harris to the opposite field for a go-ahead two-run home run to give Washington the 3-2 lead.

From there, the Nationals added another run in the top of the eighth inning, and another two runs in the top of the ninth inning to set up pitcher Daniel Hudson to get the final three outs. 

After center fielder George Springer popped out to second base to start the ninth inning, Hudson went on to strike out both second baseman Jose Altuve and left fielder Michael Brantley to complete the 1-2-3 inning and give Washington the World Series title.

The winner of the Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player Award went to another ace pitcher for the Nationals, Stephen Strasburg. The 31-year-old right-hander ended up pitching in Game 2 and Game 6 for Washington, both in Houston, where we went 2-0, pitching 14.1 innings, and striking out a combined 14 batters while giving up 12 hits, just two earned runs and three walks. 

Overall in the 2019 postseason, Strasburg appeared in six games for Washington, winning all five of his starts with a 1.98 ERA and 47 strikeouts.

Strasburg was a former first overall pick of the Nationals in the 2009 MLB Draft out of San Diego State, and went on to make his MLB debut with Washington in 2010.

At the end of the month of May, the Nationals were 19-31 and not looking like playoff contenders in the National League. From that point forward, the Nationals ended up finishing the year 74-35 to earn a Wild Card berth and a one-game matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers. After beating the Brewers in come back fashion at Nationals Park, Washington ended up taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five National League Divisional Series, where they came back from down 2-1 in the series to take the series in five games.

That punched the Nationals' ticket to the National League Championship Series, where they took on the St. Louis Cardinals. It ended up being a cake walk for Washington, who ended up out-scoring the Cardinals 20-6 in a four-game sweep to advance to the franchise's first World Series.

The Nationals made some history in the playoffs along the way, becoming the first team in baseball history to play in five elimination games in the postseason, in which they came back from a deficit to win each game.

The 2019 World Series was also the first best-of-seven series in Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, or the National Basketball Association in which all of the games were won by the visiting team.

The 2020 MLB season will open on Thursday, March 26 when all 30 clubs will be in action around the league.

The Nationals will open their 2020 campaign on the road when they take on the New York Mets at Citi Field.

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