By Logan Perrone
The narrative leading up to Tuesday night was all about the pitching, with aces Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer squaring off in the opener of the series. Yet, the bats from both dugouts were alive, with both young talent and veteran experience leading the way.
The Astros struck first, plating two runs off Scherzer in the first inning, a continuing problem for the 35-year old. Ryan Zimmerman, the franchise’s first draft pick after leaving Montreal as the Expos, got the Nationals on the board in fairytale fashion, exposing Gerrit Cole’s mortality with a dead-center solo shot in his first career World Series at bat.
Washington’s young stud Juan Soto would record the first of his three hits in the fourth inning, homering to left off Cole to tie the game at 2-2. The Nationals would score three more runs in the fifth, courtesy of an Adam Eaton single and a Soto double. Cole would remain in the game until the seventh, being responsible for all of Washington’s runs.
The Astros would chip back one run at a time. After a scoreless bottom of the sixth via Patrick Corbin, George Springer would homer in the seventh off of Tanner Rainey. He would follow up that at-bat by ripping an RBI double off Daniel Hudson to score Kyle Tucker, and make it a one-run game at 5-4.
Sean Doolittle would seal the deal for the Nationals, getting the final out of the eighth before pitching a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to record the four-out save. The victory was the franchise’s first Fall Classic win, as well as their seventh straight win this postseason going back to their game four win in the NLDS against Los Angeles.
The game was not only historic for the Nationals, but players on both sides of the diamond. Juan Soto, who has become one of the youngest players to even play in a World Series, became the second youngest to both homer and record three hits in their World Series debut. Conversely, Ryan Zimmerman became the oldest player to homer in their first World Series game.
For the Astros’ George Springer, his seventh inning home run marked an MLB record five-straight World Series games with a homerun for the 30-year old, dating back to 2017. Unfortunately, that would be the only positive headline for Houston.
Gerrit Cole’s struggles in game one were not the result that many had expected. Cole, who has gone 16-0 in his last 16 starts (3-0 in the postseason), had last lost a decision five month to the date when the ‘Stros fell 9-4 to the White Sox. He would pitch through the seventh, allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out six.
Scherzer, composed after a bumpy start, would cruise through the following four innings of work, allowing only three hits thereafter and finishing with seven Ks. The Washington bullpen struggled in the seventh and eighth innings after Corbin got pulled (possibly with a game three start in question), but got passed the dangerous Houston lineup to secure the victory.
Game two is set to feature two premiere pitchers once more, with Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg getting the bump for the Astros and Nationals, respectively. That game is set for 8:07 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org