Aníbal Sánchez, pitching for the first time in 14 days, gave up 10 hits and four earned runs in 5 1⁄3 innings pitched tonight, as the Houston Astros beat the Washington Nationals 4-1 in the nation’s capital to get themselves back in this thing after dropping the first two in the World Series at home in Minute Maid Park.
A crowd of 43,867 turned out in Nationals Park for the first World Series game in D.C. since 1933, cheering on the NL Champion Nats, but Astros’ starter Zack Greinke gave up just one run on seven hits in 4 2⁄3 IP and Houston’s bullpen held the lead the rest of the way, as they got their first win in the 2019 Fall Classic.
Sánchez vs Houston: Davey Martinez dismissed any concerns about the fact that Aníbal Sánchez hadn’t pitched in two weeks when he named the 35-year-old, 14-year vet as his starter for Game 3 of the World Series.
“He threw a sim game and got up to 80 pitches between his bullpen work and the sim game,” Martinez explained. “He’s ready to go.”
“He’s had this happen before to him and it didn’t seem to affect him,” the manager added.
“So he gets it, he’s a professional, he kept himself ready. He’s been engaged this whole time.”
In the two starts he made in the postseason before tonight, Sánchez dominated opposing hitters, giving up a run on four hits in five innings of work against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, before throwing 7 2⁄3 scoreless innings against St. Louis in the Championship series with the Cardinals.
Sánchez’s start tonight was his second in a World Series game, seven years after his first, and he fell behind early, working around a leadoff single in the first, but giving up a run in the second, with Carlos Correa doubling with one down and scoring on an RBI single to short left field by Josh Reddick, 1-0.
Juan Soto, who threw one way over home on Reddick’s hit, misplayed a double to left by José Altuve in the top of the third, turning it into a leadoff triple by the diminutive Astros’ infielder, who scored on a chopper to second by Michael Brantley that Asdrúbal Cabrera couldn’t handle, 2-0 ‘Stros.
Altuve was 2 for 3 on the night after he doubled to left with one out in the third, and he scored the Astros’ third run when Michael Brantley singled to right in the next at bat, 3-1.
It was 4-1 in the Astros’ favor after Robinson Chirinos bounced a first-pitch sinker off the left field foul pole with one out in the sixth, and a walk to pinch hitter Kyle Tucker in the next at bat ended Sánchez’s outing...
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 57 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Greinke vs the Nationals: Zack Greinke was still part of the Diamondbacks’ rotation when he faced the Nationals in the nation’s capital back on June 13th, tossing 7 1⁄3 scoreless on just 75 pitches in a 5-0 win for Arizona in D.C.
“Very seldom did he throw the ball out over the middle of the plate,” Davey Martinez told reporters when asked what made Greinke so tough in that outing.
“If you look, everything was corners, corners, corners. We wanted to be aggressive early, it just didn’t — like I said, when he’s on like that, he’s tough.”
In 10 starts for the Astros after Houston acquired the 36-year-old righty in July, Greinke went (8-1) with a 3.02 ERA, a 3.28 FIP, nine walks, and 52 Ks in 62 2⁄3 IP.
In three postseason outings this month, heading into tonight’s start, Greinke was (0-2), however, with a 6.43 ERA in 14 IP.
Greinke worked around a one-out double in the first inning tonight, then got a backwards K and a double play after giving up back-to-back singles in the first two at bats of the second.
He took the mound in the third with a 2-0 lead, and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam, striking Asdrúbal Cabrera out with a filthy, 68 MPH, 1-2 curve to complete his third scoreless frame.
A leadoff walk to Ryan Zimmerman and one-out RBI triple to left field by Victor Robles in the bottom of the fourth got the Nationals on the board, however, as they cut the Astros’ lead in half, but the potential tying run was stranded at third base two outs later.
It was 3-1 Astros in the fifth, when Adam Eaton slapped a single through the left side of the infield to lead off the inning, and Asdrúbal Cabrera hit a 3-1 fastball to right field for a two-out double on what ended up being the last pitch by Greinke...
Zack Greinke’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER 3 BB, 6 Ks, 95 P, 60 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
Turn-On: With a walk in his first plate appearance in Game 2 of the World Series, Trea Turner extended an on-base streak to 24 straight games, going back to September 17th.
Over that stretch, the Nationals’ 26-year-old shortstop had a .317 AVG with nine doubles, six home runs, 13 RBIs, seven walks, four steals, and 21 runs scored.
Turner lined out to left the first time up against Astros’ starter Zack Greinke tonight, but he battled for eight pitches in his second at bat in the third, then lined a 3-2 slider to left for a single to extend his on-base streak to 25-straight games.
Important News: Juan Soto is now 21 years old. That is all. Back to the game coverage...
BULLPEN ACTION: Josh James took over for the Astros in the 5th, with the score 3-1 in the visitor’s favor, but there were runners on second and third with two out. Ryan Zimmerman stepped in against the right-handed reliever, and went down swinging at a filthy 3-2 change that darted in under his hands.
Fernando Rodney took over for the Nationals with the Astros up 4-1 and a runner on first in the top of the sixth, after Aníbal Sánchez gave up a one-out solo home run and a walk, and an error on a stolen base by Kyle Tucker put the runner on third.
Rodney walked George Spring to put runners on the corners, and Springer stole second with José Altuve at the plate, but the Nats got an out in a rundown on a chopper to third, before an intentional walk to Michael Brantley and a force at second on a grounder up the middle by Alex Bregman ended the inning.
One-time National Brad Peacock took over on the mound for the Astros in the bottom of the sixth, and gave up a one-out walk to Victor Robles, who stole second with pinch hitter Matt Adams at the plate, and Adams walked too, ending Peacock’s outing.
Will Harris took over for the Astros, and struck Trea Turner out before Adam Eaton grounded out to end the inning, with the Nationals stranding two.
Joe Ross came on for the Nationals in the top of the seventh inning, and retired the Astros in order in a 12-pitch frame.
Harris came back out for the bottom of the seventh inning, and retired the Nationals in order in a 14-pitch frame to keep it a 4-1 game in the Astros’ favor.
Ross returned to the mound as well, in the top of the eighth, working around a two-out hit by George Springer for a second scoreless frame.
Astros’ righty Joe Smith got the bottom of the eighth for the Astros, and Howie Kendrick hit a one-out single in a pinch hit appearance, but Victor Robles K’d looking at a high 1-2 heater for out No. 2., and Yan Gomes, who took over for Kurt Suzuki, grounded out for out No. 3.
Wander Suero got the top of the ninth, and returned the Astros in order on nine pitched.
Roberto Osuna came on for the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth and faced the top of the Nationals’ order.
Adam Eaton dropped a single into short-center with one out, but Anthony Rendon popped up behind the plate for out No. 2, and Juan Soto K’d looking to end it.
Final Score: 4-1 Astros
Nationals lead 2-1 in World Series