World Series Game 3: Astros bounce back to beat Nationals

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor

The Houston Astros finally showed some of their championship moxie in Game 3 of the World Series.

With their backs against the wall after losing Games 1 and 2 at home, the Astros bounced back to spoil the Washington Nationals’ first-ever World Series home game with a 4-1 victory in Game 3. Houston will have an opportunity to even the series in Game 4 on Saturday.

Everything the Astros lacked at Minute Maid Park seemed to return in Game 3. They took control of the game early thanks to some clutch hitting against Washington starter Anibal Sanchez. Josh Reddick opened the scoring with a second-inning RBI single before Michael Brantley tacked on two more runs with singles in the third and fifth innings.

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Robinson Chirinos’ sixth-inning homer provided some insurance.

The Astros also got a gritty effort from starter Zack Greinke. Facing constant traffic, Greinke limited Washington to one run despite allowing seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings. The key being that he held the Nationals hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. Washington left 11 runners on base overall.

After allowing eight runs in Game 2, Houston’s bullpen toughened up to record 13 scoreless outs in Game 3. Josh James got the win after striking out Ryan Zimmerman to strand two runners to end the fifth inning. Brad Peacock, Will Harris, Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna brought it home.

Houston Astros' Robinson Chirinos celebrates after his home run against the Washington Nationals during the sixth inning of Game 3 of the baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Houston Astros' Robinson Chirinos celebrates after his home run against the Washington Nationals during the sixth inning of Game 3 of the baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE

• Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley: Houston’s No. 2 and No. 3 hitters did their part to get Houston’s offense on track. The duo teamed up twice to produce a run with Altuve setting the table with a triple and double before Brantley singled him home. Together they’ve gone 11 for 26 to begin the World Series.

• Robinson Chirinos: Houston’s catcher entered the game hitless in 15 at-bats since Game 5 of the ALDS on Oct. 5. He picked up two hits in Game 3, including a line drive solo home run off the left-field foul pole. That home run, by the way, made some World Series history.

• Josh James: He faced only one batter, but arguably recorded the biggest out of the game for Houston. Entering with two outs and two runners in scoring position, James struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end the fifth inning and preserve Houston’s lead.

MUST-SEE MOMENT

After hitting the Nationals’ first World Series home run in Game 1, Ryan Zimmerman made history again by scoring the Nationals’ first World Series run at home. Unfortunately for them, that was their only run. And unfortunately for Zimmerman, the moment from Game 3 that he will be most remembered for is this reaction after being buzzed by a Josh James pitch.


WHAT THEY'LL BE TALKING ABOUT

Donald Trump is coming to the World Series: The 45th U.S. president announced plans to attend Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday. Now that the Astros have guaranteed that game will happen, the president’s visit appears to be set in stone. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says Trump opted against throwing out the first pitch and is expected to be a late arrival.

How do the Nationals respond?: Now that their eight-game postseason winning streak is over, what type of mettle will we see from the Nationals in Game 4? The loss guarantees they’ll see Gerrit Cole again in the series and perhaps Justin Verlander, too. Beating those guys once is tough enough. Knowing they’ll have to do it twice might make Game 4 a bit more urgent.

WHAT'S NEXT

We're on to Game 4 on Saturday, which thanks to Houston's win will have a little extra juice. The Astros have announced that spot starter/long reliever Jose Urquidy will start the game. That indicates they’ll be going with another bullpen heavy game like ALCS Game 5.

The Nationals will send left-hander Patrick Corbin to the hill. The free-agent signee has served as a true third ace for Washington. He’s coming off a scoreless inning of relief in Game 1.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on Fox.

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