The Nationals ‘Finish the Fight,’ capture first World Series Championship

Julia Ruocchio, Sports Editor

The 2019 World Series featured an interesting showdown between the American League Champion Houston Astros and National League Champion Washington Nationals. On October 30, 2019, the Nationals were crowned World Series Champions for the first time in franchise history.

Second baseman Jose Altuve is one of the main reasons as to why the Astros made it to the Fall Classic. He sent Houston to the World Series with a walk-off homer in game 6 of the American League Championship Series (ALCS) against the New York Yankees. The Nationals became the 13th Wild Card team to make it to the World Series, and made a historical run to get to where they are. They had a horrendous 19-31 record in late May and considered rebuilding at the trade deadline, but then decided to keep the team together and earned a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

The pitching matchup in game one displayed the best of the best, featuring two of the game’s best pitchers, Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole. Despite having home field advantage, Houston lost game one by a score of 5-4. Cole suffered his first loss since May 22nd, putting an end to the longest streak in MLB history without a loss. He surrendered five earned runs in seven innings pitched.

Nationals’ 13-year veteran Ryan Zimmerman homered in his first World Series at-bat, trimming Houston’s early lead to 2-1. Houston’s first two runs came courtesy of first basemen Yuli Gurriel, who smashed a two-run double in the first. 21-year old Juan Soto led the way for the Nats, contributing with a homer and three-RBI’s.

Game two was the same outcome as game one The Nationals beat the Astros in a blowout of 12-3. Stephen Strasburg outdueled former Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander, striking out seven in a six inning, two run effort. 

Catcher Kurt Suzuki broke a 2-2 tie with a clutch solo homer in the seventh to begin a decisive six run seventh, providing the Nationals with a lead they would never turn down. It was Washington’s eighth straight win this postseason, dating back to game four of the NLDS against the L.A. Dodgers.

In games three, four, and five, the road team continued to dominate. Game three consisted of a 4-1 Astros win. That cut their series deficit to 2-1. Outfielder Josh Reddick drove in the game’s first run with a bloop single in the second. Robinson Chirinos contributed with a home run in the sixth inning. 

After outlasting Cole and Verlander in the first two games of the series, the Nationals struggled against Houston’s Zack Greinke, who hurled four and two-thirds innings of one-run, six strikeout ball. On the other hand, Anibal Sanchez faltered for the Nationals. He allowed four earned runs in five and one-third innings.

The Astros evened up the series in Game four, with an 8-1 victory. Alex Bregman led the offense, crushing a grand slam in a 5 RBI performance. Robinson Chirinos homered for a second consecutive game, widening the lead to 4-0. Rookie Jose Urquidy tossed five frames of shutout ball in an impressive outing against Washington.

Similar to the Astros, the Nationals got swept at home following a loss in game five. Game five would see the Astros take a 3-2 series lead, putting them one win away from their second World Series title in three seasons. Cole was back to his winning self, while Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa, and George Springer highlighted the offense, each hitting two-run shots in support of Cole’s strong start.

The Nationals had their backs against the wall for the first time of the World Series in game six. Stephen Strasburg faced Justin Verlander in the must-win contest. Strasburg was outstanding, tossing eight and one-third dazzling innings to lead Washington to a win that forced a game seven.

In Game seven, third baseman Anthony Rendon was the top contributor on the offensive side for Washington, going 3-for-4 with a home run and 5 RBI. The home run came at the right time, as the Nationals had to deal with a controversial call in which Trea Turner was called out after interfering with a play at first base. Adam Eaton and Juan Soto each homered in the fifth to put the Nats back on top.

Despite being scratched from his game five start because of injury, Scherzer was ready to pitch game seven, when Washington needed him the most. Although the Astros were up 2-0 in the seventh, the Nationals lived up to their motto ‘Finish the Fight’ and began to capitalize on opportunities.

Rendon’s solo blast came just batters before Howie Kendrick connected with a clutch two-run homer to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Washington scored two more runs in the eight and ninth innings, and won the game 6-2. The Washington Nationals were crowned World Series Champions for the first time in franchise history. They fought until they won the championship that was very well deserved.

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