Nationals Rally for 5-2 Lead vs. Astros: Live Updates


Gerrit Cole only needed to face three batters in the sixth, even if he did not quite match Max Scherzer’s perfection of the previous half-inning.

Asdrubal Cabrera lined out with a soft single to left center, causing a stir of activity in Houston’s bullpen, but Cole induced a 4-6-3 double-play off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman. Cole then got a third out when Kurt Suzuki flied out to second base.

The game finally has a perfect inning, thanks to Max Scherzer.

Michael Brantley lined out to center, Alex Bregman grounded out to short and Yuli Gurriel struck out.

Hopefully Washington fans enjoyed it, as Scherzer is now up to 112 pitches. His season-high was 120 and he was only allowed to throw more than 110 seven times.

A few singles, some heads-up baserunning, and a booming double have the Nationals leading Gerrit Cole and the Astros.

The Nationals put pressure on Cole immediately. Kurt Suzuki drew the first walk of the day from Houston’s co-ace, and Victor Robles followed with a single on a sharp grounder to right. Trea Turner lined out to right, but showing some aggressiveness, Suzuki advanced to third after the catch.

That proved to be a key decision, as with runners on the corners and one out, Adam Eaton laced a single to right, sending Suzuki home.

Anthony Rendon broke his bat on a hard grounder to third that Alex Bregman tried to turn into a double-play, but even with a clean turn at second base, Houston only got the out at second thanks to Rendon running hard out of the box. That left runners at the corners with two outs for Juan Soto, who smacked a double off the wall, bringing both runners home.

Howie Kendrick then smoked a ball that looked like it would send at least one more run in, but Cole got bailed out by a thrilling diving catch from Carlos Correa to end the inning.

This is easily Cole’s worst start since May 22, when he took a loss to the White Sox that proceeded one of the most dominant stretches by a starting pitcher in recent memory.

It’s not as if either starter has truly faltered, but considering how dominant both of them typically are, the fact that there has not been a 1-2-3 inning yet today is at least somewhat surprising. That streak continued for Max Scherzer in the fourth.

The slumping Yordan Alvarez led off with a single on a hard grounder up the middle, continuing that surprising run of imperfection.

After Martin Maldonado flied out to left for the first out, Josh Reddick tried to argue that his bat had made contact with Kurt Suzuki’s glove on the first pitch he saw. The umpiring crew disagreed and three pitches later, Reddick flied out to shallow left.

Scherzer walked George Springer, putting two runners on for Jose Altuve, but Washington escaped the jam when Houston’s second baseman grounded out to first to end the inning.

The bullpen should get ready though. Scherzer is up to 96 pitches and his day will end soon.

On the second pitch of the inning from Gerrit Cole, Juan Soto tied the game, 2-2, with a 417-foot homer to left-center.

Cole proceeded to breeze through the rest of the lineup, as Howie Kendrick flied out to right and Asdrubal Cabrera and Ryan Zimmeran both struck out, but it is a whole new ball game.

The score is still 2-1 Astros, but Max Scherzer’s lack of efficiency is becoming an issue.

After Jose Altuve flied out harmlessly to right, Michael Brantley lined a cutter to right for a single and Alex Bregman struck out on a huge cut at a 95-mile-per-hour fastball.

Yuli Gurriel proceeded to hit a pop to center that Victor Robles was playing too deep to corral. Robles, a 22-year-old center fielder, was shaken up on his dive for the ball, but then the game was delayed to determine if Brantley had been physically stopped from attempting to run home by Houston’s third base coach, Gary Pettis. It did appear that there was some illegal contact between Pettis and Brantley, but no call was made.

After play resumed, with runners on second and third with two outs, Carlos Correa struck out to end the inning.

In what should be a troubling differential for Washington, Scherzer is up to 69 pitches through three innings, while Cole is at 42.

Gerrit Cole worked around a two-out single to record a scoreless inning.

He got Victor Robles to pop out to first and Trea Turner to ground out to third, but with two outs Adam Eaton singled on a liner to left that a diving Alex Bregman very nearly snared at third base. Washington’s M.V.P. candidate, Anthony Rendon, then flied out to center to end the mild threat.

Max Scherzer had little trouble getting out of the second even if he is having a hard time keeping his pitches in the strike zone.

Yordan Alvarez drew a leadoff walk ahead of a fly out to right by Martin Maldonado. Houston’s No. 9 hitter, Josh Reddick, managed to get Scherzer to throw six pitches but popped out to Trea Turner in very shallow center field. Scherzer then froze George Springer on a terrific changeup to end the inning.

Ryan Zimmerman, the face of the Nationals essentially since the team arrived in Washington, homered to center on the second pitch he saw in a World Series game, narrowing the Nationals’ deficit to 2-1.

Gerrit Cole had started things off by retiring Howie Kendrick on a grounder to short and then kept Carlos Correa busy by inducing a pop-up from Asdrubal Cabrera that Houston’s shortstop also handled.

Up stepped Zimmerman, who joined the Nationals late in the 2005 season — the year they moved from Montreal. He launched a 96-mile-per-hour fastball 413 feet for just the second run against Cole this postseason.

Cole was able to recover, inducing a grounder from Kurt Suzuki to — who else? — Correa, to end the inning.

Houston, which came in as a heavy favorite, took a quick 2-0 lead off Washington’s Max Scherzer thanks to Yuli Gurriel’s two-out, two-run double off the wall.

Houston’s leadoff batter, George Springer, drew a seven-pitch walk and on Scherzer’s next pitch, Jose Altuve singled to left. Scherzer pulled off quite a feat in striking out Michael Brantley on three pitches, but he was wild on his third pitch to Alex Bregman and Springer was able to advance to third.

Scherzer finished a strikeout of Bregman on a vicious slider, but with runners on the corners and two outs, Gurriel lined a 1-2 fastball off the wall in left, bringing both runners home.

Carlos Correa struck out to end the inning, but not before Scherzer had spotted Gerrit Cole a 2-0 lead — which is more runs than Cole has allowed so far this postseason.

Gerrit Cole quickly had to deal with a runner in scoring position, but nothing came of the Nationals’ brief threat.

Trea Turner led off the game with a sharp grounder to short that Carlos Correa couldn’t field cleanly, leading to an infield hit. On the next pitch, Turner stole second, just barely beating Martin Maldonado’s throw. Adam Eaton popped out to third on a bunt attempt and Anthony Rendon struck out, bringing up Washington’s powerful youngster, Juan Soto, who struck out swinging on a 99-mile-per-hour fastball.

Playing in Houston, the Nationals will have a designated hitter for the game, and they went with Howie Kendrick, who won the M.V.P. Award in the N.L.C.S.

1. Trea Turner, SS

2. Adam Eaton, RF

3. Anthony Rendon, 3B

4. Juan Soto, LF

5. Howie Kendrick, DH

6. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B

7. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B

8. Kurt Suzuki, C

9. Victor Robles, CF

The Astros went with a fairly typical lineup for them, with the only aberration being Martin Maldonado starting at catcher, thought that is typical in games started by Gerrit Cole.

1. George Springer, CF

2. Jose Altuve, 2B

3. Michael Brantley, LF

4. Alex Bregman, 3B

5. Yuli Gurriel, 1B

6. Carlos Correa, SS

7. Yordan Alvarez, DH

8. Martin Maldonado, C

9. Josh Reddick, RF



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