Astros defeat Nationals at home to tie series at 2-2
Unheralded rookie José Urquidy outpitched big-name aces, quieting Washington’s bats and the Nationals Park crowd, too. Alex Bregman busted out of his slump with a go-ahead single in the first inning and a grand slam in the seventh, and the resurgent Houston Astros routed the Nationals 8-1 Saturday night to pull even at two games apiece in an unpredictable World Series that’s been one big road show. Urquidy had never pitched above Class A before this year.
“A couple of moments,” he tells the AP, “I was thinking about, oh my God, I’m in a World Series pitching.” Game 1 winner Max Scherzer takes the mound Sunday hoping to get Washington a home Series victory for the first time since the Senators won in 1933. In a rematch of the opener, Gerrit Cole goes for Houston after losing for the first time since May. Visiting teams have won the first four games for the first time since 1996, when the Yankees broke the pattern in Game 6 against Atlanta to take the title.
“This is what it’s all about,” Bregman said. “This is a beautiful thing. It’s two teams battling it out. They’ve got great pitching, great offenses. It’s been fun so far, and just want to keep it rolling.” Fans started leaving in the seventh, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate and battered the bullpen. Bregman, who began the night in a 1-for-13 Series slide, had the big blow, driving a low, inside fastball from Fernando Rodney into the left field stands of the ballpark where he was the All-Star Game MVP in 2018.
Bregman held his bat high as he slowly walked out of the batter’s box, then took 28 seconds to savor circling the bases. Orange-clad Houston fans in the right field upper deck chanted “Let’s go Astros!” as Nationals fans were silenced. Wild-card Washington lost consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 13-14 against Atlanta. Game 6 will be Tuesday night in Houston, when the Astros lose their road-field advantage.