Kurt Suzuki started the night 14 for 42 (.333/.349/.381) with two doubles off Justin Verlander in their respective careers, and he singled off the Houston Astros’ starter the first time up in Game 2 of the 2019 World Series.
It was 2-0 Washington after the top of the first, but it was 2-2 after the bottom of the inning, as the Astros rallied to tie things up.
It was still tied at 2-2 after six, with Stephen Strasburg limiting the Astros to just the two early runs, as Verlander did, but then Suzuki stepped up to lead off the seventh.
Suzuki connected for his second hit of the night and 16th career hit off the future Hall of Fame starter, sending a go-ahead home run out to left field in Minute Maid Park that put the Nationals up 3-2 in what ended up being a six-run inning which blew things open in a 12-3 win.
“That was huge. And I’m glad he hit the home run. And I’m actually glad that -- Stras pitched unbelievable, and he was able to get that win from that,” Davey Martinez told reporters after taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“But Suzuki gives us good at-bats, he’s given us good at-bats all year. He got a good pitch to hit and he put a good swing on it.”
“Obviously the homer was great,” Suzuki said.
“I think anytime you can help the team out any way you can offensively, defensively, it doesn’t matter, do one thing to help the team win and good things will happen.”
But he really crushed that pitch, a 93 MPH 1-0 fastball up in the zone from Verlander.
“I can’t remember the last time I barreled a ball up like that,” Suzuki said. “It felt great. It felt like months ago. Probably was months ago. It felt great.
“Just the fact to help the team out any way I can, whatever it was. We get some runs on the board and we were able to put some runs up in the later part of the innings, and it was good.”
“He’s been coming up clutch and having big hits like that,” Anthony Rendon added in their joint post-game press conference. “We talk about how he came into the season, going to be platooning and not playing too often. Like he said, he’s 36 years old, he’s had a lot more ABs than anticipated and it’s good, he’s been continuing to help us win ballgames.”
Just being here at this point, Suzuki said, and playing in the World Series for the first time in his career, has been amazing, and to help the team get ahead 2-0 means even more.
“Yeah, it feels great,” he said. “I’ve waited 13 season for this moment to be able to play in the World Series. I kind of joked with a lot of the guys, Anthony in the training room, how I’ve got energy now, this is the last series of the season now, no matter what. We’re playing for it now. If you can’t get up for these games I think you’re in the wrong sport, you should retire or something, because this is it. You obviously see all the media and the coverage that you get for the World Series. It kind of pumps you up and especially waiting how long I did to get to play in a World Series game, to advance past the first round of the postseason it’s awesome. We’re just looking forward to the next game. Obviously we know what’s at stake. We’re not looking too far in the future. We know to keep our eye on the target, come out, just be 1-0 the next day and go from there.”