The Washington Nationals came into the 2019 World Series as the biggest underdog since 2007, but they’ve taken the critical first game over the Houston Astros. The Nationals bounced back from an early 2-0 hole to take a 5-2 lead and hold on for dear life to a 5-4 win in Game 1.
Juan Soto led the way for the Nationals in his first World Series game. He went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a solo home run off Gerrit Cole that got the Nationals going.
The Astros jumped out to a 2-0 lead and made life tough for Max Scherzer. The Nationals starter gave up a walk and a single to lead off the inning before getting two outs. Yuli Gurriel doubled to knock in two runs, giving Cole what seemed like an insurmountable lead.
However, the Nationals slowly chipped away. Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-out home run in the top of the second inning to cut the Astros lead to 2-1. In the fourth inning, Soto hit a leadoff solo home run to tie it.
Scherzer kept the Astros off the board but was burning through pitches. However, the Nationals finally got him a lead in the fifth. Kurt Suzuki walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a Victor Robles single. After a sacrifice moved Suzuki to third, he scored on an Adam Eaton single. Juan Soto added two more runs with a a two-out RBI double to give the Nationals a 5-2 lead.
Scherzer lasted through the fifth inning before turning it over to potential Game 3 or 4 starter Patrick Corbin. The Nationals third ace came in and struck out two and got a third out around a single to get through the sixth.
The Astros started clawing back with a George Springer lead-off homer off Tanner Rainey in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 5-3. Rainey walked two batters to bring up the go-ahead run, but closer Daniel Hudson came on to get two outs around an infield single. Davey Martinez made all the right calls with his bullpen and going to his closer in the seventh was a big one.
Hudson gave up a single and double in the eighth to cut the Astros lead to 5-4, at which point Sean Doolittle came on to get the out. Doolittle came back and retired the side in the ninth to get the save.
Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday evening at Minute Maid Park. Justin Verlander takes the mound for the Astros and Stephen Strasburg pitches for the Nationals. First pitch is set for just after 8:00 p.m.