Through 6 1⁄3 innings pitched it looked like Zack Greinke might singlehandedly win the 115th World Series for the Houston Astros, but Anthony Rendon stepped to the plate and hit one out to left field for the Washington Nationals’ second hit of the game, cutting a 2-0 lead the home team had built up in half, 2-1.
Greinke was done for the night after a walk to Juan Soto in the next at bat, and their lead was gone after Howie Kendrick hit a 2-run homer off of the right field foul pole off reliever Will Harris to make it a 3-2 Nationals’ lead.
Patrick Corbin, who took over for Max Scherzer after five gutsy innings from the Nationals’ starter, tossed three scoreless in relief, and Daniel Hudson closed out the ninth. 6-2 final.
The Washington Nationals win the World Series. For the first time since 1924, a D.C.-based team has won the World Series. They did it. The fight is over.
Scherzer vs the Astros: Davey Martinez told reporters before last night’s game that if they could win Game 6, and barring any setbacks for Max Scherzer, whose neck locked up on him over the weekend, and kept him from starting in Game 5, the 35-year-old right-hander would be starting Game 7 with the Astros in Minute Maid Park.
“If Max tells me tonight that he’s good then Max will pitch until his neck decides he can’t pitch anymore,” Martinez explained, when asked what he could reasonably expect out of Scherzer given what transpired over the previous few days.
“I can’t see myself telling Max, you’re only going to go 75 pitches. He’s going to want to go out there and go as long as he can.”
Scherzer, who held Houston to five hits, three walks, and two runs in Game 1 of the 2019 Fall Classic, wasn’t entertaining questions about how much he had in him at this point.
Reporter: “How long do you think you can go tomorrow?”
Scherzer: “Should be good.”
Reporter: “Normal start?”
Scherzer: “It’s Game 7. Let’s go.”
Scherzer took that fire to the mound tonight and worked around a 2-out walk in a scoreless, 15-pitch first, but a 2-1 slider up and in to Yuli Gurriel in the first at bat of the second landed in the left field seats for a solo home run and 1-0 Astros’ lead. Back-to-back singles followed, but Scherzer stranded both runners at the end of an 18-pitch frame that left him at 33 total, and he stranded two more in a 22-pitch third.
A two-out single and a walk in the home half of the fourth inning gave the Astros two more baserunners, but José Altuve lined out to center field to end a 21-pitch frame which left the Nats’ starter 76 total, with Houston 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position on the night.
The Astros were 1 for 7 with RISP after Carlos Correa hit a screamer by third with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth, driving Yuli Gurriel in after he’d grounded into a force and moved up on a walk to Yordan Alvarez, 2-0. That was it for Scherzer, who got out of the jam without further damage, but didn’t come back out for the sixth...
Max Scherzer’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 103 P, 58 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
Greinke vs the Nationals: In his first career World Series start, Zack Greinke gave up one run on seven hits in 4 2⁄3 IP in Game 3, though his high pitch count (95 total) ended up at least in part leading to it being a relatively brief outing.
Going into Game 7, Greinke said he wasn’t feeling any added pressure in the all-or-nothing matchup.
His take on what makes the Nationals’ lineup tough for an opposing pitcher?
“They have some good hitters. Not a lot of holes, not a lot of strikeouts. That’s probably the toughest part,” Greinke said.
And his takeaways from the first go-round in the Fall Classic?
“They had a lot of good at-bats,” he told reporters. “They pitched pretty good. And they got a good amount of hits. I felt all right and they made it tougher than it would ideally be.”
Greinke’s first three innings in Game 7 were relatively easy, with two of the frames, quick, eight-pitch innings that left him at 28 overall with a 1-0 lead early in Minute Maid Park.
He was up to 59 pitches after working around a one-out walk in the top of the fifth, limiting the Nationals to just the one free pass and a single, with eight ground ball outs from the 16 batters he’d faced.
An eight-pitch (his third of the night) 1-2-3 sixth left Greinke at 67 pitches overall, and he got the first out of the seventh... before Anthony Rendon stepped in and crushed a change from the Astros’ starter, hitting a no-doubter out to left field to cut a 2-0 lead in half, 2-1.
Juan Soto walked in the next at bat, and that was it for Greinke with Howie Kendrick due up...
Zack Greinke’s Line: 6.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 80 P, 49 S, 10/2 GO/FO.
Game 7s: As mentioned in the Nationals’ pregame notes, tonight’s game was the 40th time, “... in a best-of-seven World Series that it has extended to a final game (including 1912, when eight games were played following a Game 2 tie).”
In those previous 39 games, “... the home team had been victorious 18 times (46.2%), while the road team had come out on top 21 times (53.8%), though, they noted, “the home team had been victorious in nine of the last 12 Game 7s.”
Rendon’s Spotlight: Anthony Rendon started Game 7 with hits in 12 of 14 games going back to Game 2 of the NLDS with the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 19 for 50 (.380/.452/640) with seven doubles, two home runs, 14 RBIs, nine walks, six Ks, and nine runs over that stretch, impressing Astros’ skipper A.J. Hinch with his play in the World Series.
“He’s under the radar,” Hinch said of the soon-to-be-free agent infielder.
“And yet he’s one of the most impressive superstars in our game. And I think on this national stage we’ve gotten to see it.
“But I hope he goes 0-4 today. And then I hope he gets a great contract in the offseason.”
Rendon was 0 for 2 with a K the first two times up against Zack Greinke, but he got him in at bat No. 3, crushing a 1-0 changeup from the Astros’ starter, and sending a solo home run to left to get the Nationals on the board, down 2-1 in the seventh.
BULLPEN ACTION: Patrick Corbin came on for the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth, with the Astros up, 2-0, and worked around a leadoff single in a 10-pitch frame. Still 2-0 Astros.
Will Harris took over against Howie Kendrick with the score 2-1 in the home team’s favor in the top of the seventh and Juan Soto on first, and Kendrick hit an 0-1 cutter out to right off the foul pole for a go-ahead home run, 3-2 Nationals. Asdrúbal Cabrera’s single ended the night for Harris...
Roberto Osuna came on to get the Astros out of the top of the seventh.
Corbin returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning, and worked around a two-out hit for a second scoreless frame.
Osuna walked Adam Eaton with one down in the top of the eighth, and Eaton stole second before scoring on a two-out RBI single to right by Juan Soto, 4-2.
Howie Kendrick singled as well to knock Osuna out... and Ryan Pressly got out No. 3 to keep it a 4-2 game.
Corbin returned to the mound in the eighth as well, and with some help on an awful called third strike on Carlos Correa, retired the side in order for his third scoreless frame.
Joe Smith gave up two singles and a walk, loading the bases with one down, so A.J. Hinch went to the pen again for José Urquidy who gave up a single to center by Adam Eaton, 6-2 Nationals when two runs score on the hit and an error in center.
Daniel Hudson came on in the ninth and finished it.
Final Score: 6-2 Nationals
Washington Nationals win the World Series. No - no words. No words to describe it. Poetry! They should have sent a poet.