The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday — winning the first World Series in the 50-year history of the franchise. The Nationals were founded in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, moving to Washington, D.C., in 2005.
The Nationals, representing the National League, won Game 7 by a 6-2 score, becoming the first team in the 115-year history of the Major League Baseball World Series to win four games on the road. They also won the first World Series by a team based in the nation's capital since the American League Washington Senators defeated the New York Giants in 1924, per Baseball-Reference. That World Series 95 years ago also went the full seven games.
Washington starter Max Scherzer gutted out five innings, allowing two runs. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was pitching after receiving a cortisone shot for a painful impingement in his neck that originally saw him as a scratch for Game 7, according to The Washington Post.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in Patrick Corbin, who started all 33 games he pitched in the regular season, out of the bullpen to start the sixth. At the time, the Astros held a 2-0 lead on a solo home run by Yuli Gurriel in the first inning and a fifth-inning RBI single by Carlos Correa.
Corbin turned the game around for Washington, holding the Astros — the third-highest scoring team in the Major Leagues — to just two hits and no runs over three dominant innings.
In the seventh inning, Washington took the lead on a solo home run by MVP candidate Anthony Rendon, followed by a two-run shot by veteran Howie Kendrick. The Nationals never looked back, tacking on another run in the eighth and a pair in the ninth.
Daniel Hudson retired the Astros in order in the bottom of the ninth to bring the World Series trophy back to Washington D.C.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch made the controversial decision not to bring staff co-ace Gerrit Cole -- an impending free agent -- out of the bullpen to replace starter Zack Greinke with one out in the seventh inning after Greinke surrendered the home run to Rendon.
Instead, Hinch opted for 35-year-old righty Will Harris, who had been effective in the regular season, posting a 1.50 ERA in 60 innings -- all out of the bullpen, per MLB.com. But Harris allowed Kendrick's two-run homer on the second pitch that he threw. As a result, Harris took the loss in Game 7, while Corbin goes down as the winning pitcher.The Nationals won the World Series as a wild-card team and were only the second to win the World Series since the current format of two wild-card teams per league, which, since 2012, has had teams facing each other in a one-game "play-in" for the right to continue in the postseason. The first was the San Francisco Giants in 2014, who beat the American League's Kansas City Royals in a seven-game World Series.
The World Series MVP award went to Nationals right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who won two games in the seven-game series, including the crucial Game 6, with his team down 3-2 and needing a win to force the seventh game.