A shimmer of light crept its way through the cracked door of the Washington Nationals unforgettable year, as the Nationals live to see the final day of the 2019 season, forcing Game 7 against the Houston Astros in the World Series. Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg did not blink in Game 6 as their stellar outings in the batter’s box and on the mound helped the Nationals tie the series 3-3 with a 7-2 win Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Rendon led the Nationals with 134 RBI in the regular season, and proved his ability to bring his teammates and himself home with five RBI in Game 6. Rendon’s biggest hit came in the top of the seventh inning with a two-run shot to left field, two plays following a controversial play at first base that became a prerequisite to Dave Martinez’s ejection in the middle of the inning.
Rendon had struggled offensively in the World Series prior to Game 6 but resurrected his bat to help force a Game 7 in Houston, “No one is going to feel sorry for you,” Rendon said following the game. ” They’re going to expect you to go out there and just perform as best as you can, and they’re going to expect the best out of you.”
Martinez remained heated, as he barked at home plate umpire Sam Holbrook in between the seventh inning, even after Rendon answered back with insurance runs to give the Nationals a three-run cushion. Trea Turner was called out via an interference play, that involved Yuli Gurriel at first base, as he hustled down the first base line.
“This is not about me or the umpires. This is about the Washington Nationals and those guys in the clubhouse coming to Game 6 and playing lights out, knowing that this could be it. And I’m super proud of them.” Martinez told reporters following the game. “I mean — and in the heat of the moment things get blown out of hand. I saw things differently. But I’m not going to — like I said, I’m never going to criticize any umpires or anything, because they’re a big part of the game.
For the third straight game, Juan Soto provided a run on the scoreboard for the Nationals, hitting a monsterous solo home run in the fifth inning. As Soto trotted to first base, he held onto the bat until he reached first base, taking a jab at Alex Bregman who did the same after hitting a two-run home run in the second inning.
Strasburg did not lose sight of his goal after giving up the Astros only link to runs in the first inning. After the two-run home to Bregman, Strasburg ended the night cruising through 8.1 innings with seven strikeouts before Sean Doolittle inhabited the mound to close out Game 6.
Justin Verlander has yet to win a World Series game in his fifth appearance on the mound in the Fall Classic. The CY Young award winner gave up two home runs, a solo shot off the bat of Adam Eaton and Soto’s rocket to the second deck of the right field stands.
“I thought he ran out of gas at the end,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said concerning his Game 6 starter. “And he had a lot of hard innings, they got a couple of baserunners on virtually every inning except for the 2nd. He had to work through 18, 19-plus pitches, 20 pitches, high-stress pitches. So it was an easy decision for me. I thought he left it all out on the field.”
The Washington Nationals will surrender their trust to Max Scherzer one last time as he sets to take the mound in Game 7. Scherzer was pulled out of the pitching matchup in Game 5 due to neck and back spasms. Zack Grienke will attempt to help his team hoist the World Series trophy in front of their fans at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night.
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