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Nationals crush Astros in Game 2 to take commanding World Series lead – USA TODAY

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< div class="ui-video-controls story-video inline-story-video top priority"readability ="35" > What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’Bob Nightengale remained in the Houston Astros clubhouse following a disastrous loss to the Nationals in Game 2, but he explains a positive state of mind throughout the team. U.S.A. TODAY HOUSTON– In their quest to restore their dignity, and then get on even ground, and then consider possibly making the postseason, the Washington Nationals rolled out 50 players this season. Some were well-paid superstars, a few more were journeymen on short-term commitments, and others still simply a hope and a prayer in the type of a waiver-wire claim.Wednesday night,

with a championship maybe hanging in the balance, the Nationals leaned on every last resource they had to as soon as again hold off the Houston Astros until they might deliver a punishing, decisive blow.Stephen Strasburg

battled Justin Verlander and the tiring Astros lineup to a standstill for six innings and 114 pitches, enough time for among the Nationals’ travelling heroes to come to the fore.This time,

it was Kurt Suzuki, a veteran catcher of 13 seasons and three playoff runs, who manhandled a Justin Verlander fastball for a seventh-inning, go-ahead home run that might one day be remembered as a championship blow.VERLANDER:

Astros pitcher sets postseason strikeout record ASTROS: Commissioner worried about controversy with assistant GM Suzuki’s blast let loose a seventh-inning cavalcade of runs– six in all– as they completed Verlander and then enjoyed the Astros self-implode. 2 innings later, Minute Maid Park mainly emptied, they declared a 12-3 triumph that sends them back to the nation’s capital with a commanding 2-0 World Series lead.Win 2 of 3 at Nationals Park, and D.C. will have its first World Series promote since the 1924 Washington Senators endured a seven-game battle versus the New York Giants.That was two franchises earlier in Washington’s mostly checkered baseball history. And possibly that’s what’s most sensational about this Nationals run: For much of October, conserve for 2 painful removal

video games, they’ve made it look easy.They’re now on an 18-2 run counting the last days of the routine season and are 10-2 in these playoffs.History may record this Game 2 as the Series-deciding win, one that will appear like a blowout to future generations.Until the seventh, it was a standoff that eventually degenerated as the Nationals imposed their will.< div id ="module-position-SMhPcGOrrso" class="story-asset image-asset"readability="32">

Washington Nationals’Adam Eaton celebrates his two-run crowning achievement with Victor Robles in the eighth inning. (Photo: Matt Slocum, AP) Manager’s unique

The postseason is filled with forks in the road that pass unremarkably or end up being the site of a season-crushing pileup.In the bottom of

the 6th inning, Nationals manager Dave Martinez opted to deliberately walk Astros rookie Yordan Alvarez after a fading Strasburg threw him a set of balls. He ‘d yielded a double to Yuli Gurriel after a seven-pitch fight, and after Alvarez’s walk, Carlos Correa worked a complete count off him.But Straburg

caused a popout from Correa for a crucial second out, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch tossed rookie Kyle Tucker to pinch hit.While Tucker worked an eight-pitch at-bat, it was Strasburg who seemed in control of the minute, all the way through the last pitch, a curveball Tucker half-heartedly waved at for the last out.After Suzuki’s home run, Hinch attempted a similar gambit. It failed spectacularly.Verlander released a walk to Victor Robles, finishing his night, and after reliever Ryan Pressly released a walk and got a sacrifice bunt, the fantastic Juan Soto loomed at the plate.Hinch desired no part of the novice who had actually already laced four hits in two video games, so he chose to load the base.

It was the first deliberate walk the Astros have actually provided all year.And it fired up the merry-go-around. Howie Kendrick followed with a two-out smash off Alex Bregman’s glove at third for an infield single Then, among those forgettable waiver claims, Asdrubal Cabrera

, lashed a Pressly pitch for a two-run single.Suddenly, 2-2 ended up being 6-2. And the Astros still weren’t out of the problem.” Clearly I think there’s a lot of downside offered that I haven’t done it all year, “Hinch stated of the deliberate pass.

“But paradoxically I thought it was our finest possibility to limit their scoring, and instead it put fuel on a fire that was already burning. “Bregman blues After a grim Game 1 efficiency that consisted of a ninth-inning strikeout in a 5-4 loss, Bregman said he had to turn things around,” ASAP.”He literally did, crushing a Strasburg error changeup to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first.But his blue duration was not yet done.Bregman squandered yet another Astros scoring opportunity by grounding out with 2 outs in the third. And in that neverending seventh inning, he couldn’t confine Kendrick’s ground ball, permitting the important fourth run to score.Two batters later on, it become an utter circus, when he charged a Ryan Zimmerman grounder and threw extremely to very first base. Zimmerman had an RBI single and another run scored on Bregman’s error.Both groups will fly to Washington on Thursday early morning. The flight might feel longest to Bregman.State of the series The phase now moves to Nationals Park for Games 3, 4 and– if needed– 5, with Anibal Sanchez dealing with Zack Greinke on Friday night.

Given their deficit, the Astros may consider bringing ace Gerrit Cole back on early rest in Game 4– or regular rest if anticipated rains assail the location Saturday. “It’s gon na be lit,”Eaton said after the video game. “I think it’s going to be quite ludicrous.”

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< div class="ui-video-controls story-video inline-story-video priority"readability ="35" > What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’Bob Nightengale was in the Houston Astros clubhouse following a devastating loss to the Nationals in Game 2, but he describes a favorable mood throughout the group. Suzuki’s blast let loose a seventh-inning cavalcade of runs– 6 in all– as they ended up Verlander and then viewed the Astros self-implode. He literally did, crushing a Strasburg mistake changeup to connect the video game 2-2 in the bottom of the first.But his blue duration was not yet done.Bregman squandered yet another Astros scoring possibility by grounding out with two outs in the 3rd. Offered their deficit, the Astros might consider bringing ace Gerrit Cole back on early rest in Game 4– or regular rest if forecasted rains pelt the location Saturday. “It’s gon na be lit,”Eaton stated after the game.

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