Houston takes all the momentum Washington had as they even the World Series after winning 8-1 in Game 4.
It’s funny how baseball can work out, isn’t it?
Astros ace Gerrit Cole was expected to mow through the Nationals’ lineup in Game 1. When that did not go as hoped, the Astros turned to experienced vet Justin Verlander to not let the Nationals head to D.C. with too much momentum.
Least to say, expect the unexpected. This is the World Series.
The World Series is a place for the lesser-known players to shine, to step up and make a name for themselves in an effort to help their team secure the coveted World Series trophy.
In Game 4, that player was Jose Urquidy.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch revealed that Game 4 would be a bullpen game of sorts following Zack Greinke’s start the night before. The Astros were bold for utilizing a bullpen game while down 2-1, not knowing what version they would get, especially after Game 2, where the bullpen surrendered eight runs in a 12-3 loss at home.
After Urquidy’s start, you could remove the “bullpen” from the “bullpen game.”
The 24-year old right hander absolutely dazzled Saturday night in D.C. He was opposed by Nationals lefty and prized free-agent signee Patrick Corbin, who had pitched in relief in Game 1.
Urquidy went five innings and allowed only two hits while walking none and striking out four. He allowed two baserunners.
Corbin was less than stellar. The Astros jumped on him from the get-go, scoring two runs in the first. Second baseman Jose Altuve swung at the first pitch he saw and turned it into a single. Left fielder Michael Brantley followed that with a single of his own, bringing up third baseman Alex Bregman.
Bregman would hit a third consecutive single, bringing in Altuve from second for the first run. First baseman Yuli Gurriel made it four straight singles and scored Brantley, making the lead 2-0 after the first inning.
In the top of the fourth, with Correa on first after a walk, Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos jolted a pitch from Corbin to left field and it cleared the wall easily. It was the second straight game in which Chirinos hit a home run, this time putting his team up 4-0.
Jose Urquidy was pulled after the fifth inning, and reliever Josh James was put in to begin the bottom half of the sixth. It may have been World Series nerves, but James did not have his stuff in Game 4. He allowed two walks to Gerardo Parra and Adam Eaton. James was lifted in favor of Will Harris, who gave up an rbi-single to Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon and put the Nats on the board, 4-1.
The Nationals pulled their starter after six innings. Corbin allowed seven hits and four runs over his six innings of work. Tanner Rainey took over on the mound and allowed two leadoff walks.
Davey Martinez pulled Rainey for 42-year-old Fernando Rodney. He allowed a single to Brantley to load the bases. Following that, Alex Bregman buried the Nationals in one swing, hitting a grand slam to left field. Rodney just did not have it at all, seemingly losing his pitching composure after the grand slam and reloading the bases four batters later.
The Astros never looked back. The seventh inning was essentially where the Nats attempted a comeback to the 8-1 deficit. Center fielder Victor Robles singled and pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk to put runners on first and second.
Shortstop Trea Turner then laced a low liner down the first base line that was fielded by a diving Gurriel. The race to first base was on, and both Gurriel and Turner slid head first into the bag.
Gurriel’s glove touched the base just a sliver of a second before Turner’s outstretched hand. The rally was dead, and the Nationals officially lost when Chris Devenski shut the door in the bottom of the ninth.
It was rainy during Game 4, but it did not affect the Astros. They thumped the team who did the same to them just three days prior.
After four games, both teams have scored 19 runs. However, the Astros have out-hit the Nationals, 43-36.
With Games 3 and 4 seemingly being the reverse images of Games 1 and 2, Sunday night’s Game 5 will be really crucial as to who will be heading to Houston needing to win only one game and secure a championship.
It will be a Game 1 starting pitcher rematch, as Gerrit Cole will look to correct himself after performing sub-optimally in the beginning of the Series. Max Scherzer will bring his next-level focus and intensity to right the Nats ship and win the first World Series game in D.C. in 86 years.