HOUSTON – “Road, Sweet Road” was the theme of this Fall Classic, and that’s what made it quite historic.
Never had the opposing team won all seven games of a World Series in the over century-long history of Major League Baseball’s championship. Through six games, the team on the road came home with the victory.
It was a historic trend that continued in the seventh and final game of the series on Wednesday night, and it gave the Nationals a franchise first.
Thanks to a late-inning rally, Washington beat the Astros 6-2 in Game 7 at Minute Maid Park to win their first Fall Classic in team history. It was their fourth-straight victory in Houston in the series and came after losing all three games at Nationals Park over the weekend.
It completes an incredible turnaround for the team managed by David Martinez, who was the Cubs’ bench coach from 2015-2017. On May 23rd they were 19-31 and ten games out of the NL East lead. After that, they finished 74-38 to get the top NL Wild Card spot, then knocked off the 106-win Dodgers in the NLDS and the Cardinals in the NLCS to reach the franchise’s first World Series.
They won Game 1 and 2 in Houston before losing all three games in Washington in the city’s first Fall Classic since the Senators played in 1933. Down 3-2 in the series, the Nationals rallied back to win Game 6 7-2 to force the decisive contest for the title.
As they have a number of times in the series, Washington fell behind 2-0 to the Astros heading into the seventh inning against a strong Zach Greinke, who was at his best for the Astros. But Anthony Rendon got something going for the Nationals when he hit a solo homer with one out in the seventh, and a Juan Soto walk chased the starter for the game.
Howie Kendrick, who hit the go-ahead homer in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, did so again in this contest as he smacked a two-run homer off the foul pole in right off Will Harris to give Washington a lead they wouldn’t give up.
Soto would add another run on a single in the eighth while former White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton brought in two more with a ninth inning single to finish off the scoring.
Daniel Hudson, who also played for the White Sox back in 2009 and 2010, came in from the bullpen to pitch a perfect ninth to give the Nationals a historic win in which they felt right at home on the road.