WASHINGTON — Every game became a mission for the Houston Astros, who boarded a plane to the nation’s capitol facing a 2-0 series deficit. In Game 4 of the World Series, Astros manager AJ Hinch put an immense amount of faith in a 24-year-old kid from Mazatlan, México, who made pitching in his first World Series seem effortless, guiding the Astros to a 8-1 victory over the Washington Nationals Saturday night at Nationals Park.
“A couple of moments I was thinking about, oh, my God, I’m World Series pitching. It’s awesome,” Jose Urquidy said after pitching in the biggest game of his career.
Urquidy became the first Mexican-born player to pitch five scoreless innings in his World Series debut as a starter. In those five innings Urquidy was able to strike out four batters while surrendering two hits.
“That means a lot for me. To be the second Mexican player to win a World Series game is something special. I think this is now history, right? I feel very special for that.”
Urquidy was able to lock himself down in the third inning after giving up a leadoff double to Yan Gomes with the help of Carlos Correa, who stretched out on a liner for the third out to save the lone predicament Urquidy faced in Game 4.
“He’s outstanding,” AJ Hinch said on his Game 4 starter. “From the very beginning I thought he was calm, I thought he was in control of his stuff. His fastball had a little extra life to it. It’s had good life this postseason. And then he just came up with big pitch after big pitch.”
Hinch preached how he has remained confident in all players that don the Astros uniform, even the rookie who began the 2019 season with the Corpus Christi Hooks, the Astros Double-A affiliate team.
“If you didn’t know who he was, I think this stage will make sure everybody knows who he is now,” Hinch said with the utmost respect for the México-native.
The Astros pounced on Patrick Corbin early in the first inning, as Corbin gave up four straight singles and two RBI through five batters. Jose Altuve was one of the four players to brace a single, marking the 24th time the 29-year-old second baseman has reached base safely. After going 2-for-5 in Game 3, Altuve remains the Astros franchise leader in hits with 58 hits in his postseason career.
Throughout the 2019 regular season, Fernando Rodney has held onto 17 games for the Astros but could not hunker down Alex Bregman who broke the game open with a grand slam, just right of the left field foul pole, to give the Astros a whopping 8-1 lead over the Nationals.
“It felt good just to add some insurance, because Jose Urquidy was doing a great job, got us off to a great start,” Bregman said following a five RBI game. “Our offense came out and scored some runs, and then to just add some insurance after they scored a run was huge.”
For the Astros it was imperative for their offensive woes in Game 1 and Game 2 to be forgotten. In Houston, the Astros offense limped through two loses. The reason? Failing to provide runs by going 3-for-17 with runners-in-scoring-position. That all seems like a hoax looking at the two World Series games played in DC, as the Astros found their swing with men-on-base.
To ignite the Astros rally, catcher Robinson Chirinos belted a no-doubter into the left field seats for his second home run of the World Series with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning.
“How about Robbie’s game? His game, on both sides of the ball,” Hinch said about his catcher. “He hit the two-run homer, huge for us to get what felt like an insurmountable lead right up until they built an inning after that.”
The lone run for the Nationals came when Juan Soto seeped a RBI pass relief pitcher Will Harris with a sacrifice groundout in the sixth inning. One miniscule run would not be enough to power through the Houston Astros, who have found their stride in Nationals Park.
The Nationals will try to salvage what’s rest of their World Series homestand as they place their trust in CY Young award winner Max Scherzer in Game 5 at Nationals Park Sunday night. They will also have an opportunity to face Gerrit Cole to regain the series lead, preparing to pack their bags to venture on a return flight to Houston for Game 6.
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