The first game of the series took place on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Max Scherzer started for Washington and Gerrit Cole for Houston. Going into the game, Gerrit Cole had not lost since May 25th and sported a 19-0 record in those 25 starts.
The Astros took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to a two-run double by Yuli Gurriel. Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo homer in the second and Juan Soto tied the game in the fourth. In the fifth inning, the Nationals scored three runs to take a 5-2 lead. While George Springer drove two runs in for the Astros, Houston was unable to surmount the deficit and the Nationals took game one by a score of 5-4, handing Gerrit Cole his first loss since May.
The game also marked the first time since May, where Cole had given up two home runs in the same start. He gave up two home runs and five runs in the World Series.
Coming off a game one loss, the Astros hoped to rebound and avoid dropping both games at home. Future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander took the mound for Houston and faced off against Stephen Strasburg. The Nats took a page out of Houston’s playbook and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first; however, Alex Bregman took Strasburg deep for a two-run homer, tying the game in the bottom of the inning.
The game remained tied until the seventh inning, when everything fell apart for Houston and Justin Verlander. The inning started by Kurt Suzuki hitting a go-ahead leadoff home run. Later in the inning, Howie Kendrick got a bases loaded single to extend the lead to 4-2. Two batters later, Asdrubal Cabrera drove two more runs in with a single and Ryan Zimmerman followed suit in the next at bat.
At the end of the seventh, Washington had taken an 8-2 lead. Adam Eaton would hit a two-run home run in the eighth to make the score 10-2 and the Nats added two more runs, making it a 12-2 game. Houston did cut into the deficit after a solo homer by Martin Maldanado in the ninth, but the damage was already done. Washington won game two by a score of 12-3, taking a 2-0 lead in the series heading back to Washington on Friday.
By winning the first two games, the Washington Nationals continued to prove doubters wrong. With these two wins, the Nationals have now won their last eight straight games, dating back to the division series against the Dodgers.
Game three starters will be Zack Greinke for the Astros and Anibal Sanchez for the Nationals. Greinke has struggled in his postseason starts so far, having an 0-2 record and an earned run average over six. On the other hand, Anibal Sanchez is 1-0 in two games pitched this postseason with an earned run average under one. Sanchez also pitched 7 ⅔ no hit innings in game one of the Championship Series.
The Washington Nationals have announced that Patrick Corbin will be starting game four. The Houston Astros have yet to name their game four starter. If the Astros drop game three, the odds are that Gerrit Cole will be starting game four, considering that it would be an elimination game and he has been their best starter this postseason.
With Washington going back home with a 2-0 lead in the series, it seems likely that the Nationals will win their first World Series. It is going to be difficult for Houston to bounce back from consecutive losses at home, not to mention the fact that Washington has been dominant at Nationals Park this postseason; however, the past has shown that you can never count out a team until the final out is made. No matter what happens, it is clear that this series has been, and will continue to be, an exciting one.
The Astros will look to swing the pendulum in their favor or potentially risk going down 0-3. The 2004 Boston Red Sox are the only team to ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the history of American team sports. The Astros will need a historic performance to keep their season alive.
Game three is tonight at 8:07 p.m., it will be aired on FOX.