Astros vs. Nationals score: Houston takes World Series lead as Gerrit Cole cruises to Game 5 win

The Houston Astros defeated the Washington Nationals, 7-1, in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday at Nationals Park. The Astros have taken the lead in the best-of-seven series at 3-2 and head back to Houston one win away from their second World Series title in three years.

After jumping out to a commanding 2-0 lead, the Nats were swept in three games at home now find themselves facing elimination. The winner of Game 5 has gone on to take home the title 30 of the 45 times (67 percent) when the World Series had been tied at 2-2.

A trio of Astros two-run home runs -- from rookie Yordan Alvarez, shortstop Carlos Correa and outfielder George Springer -- made up the bulk of Houston's offense in the lopsided win. The Nationals scored their lone run is the seventh inning when Juan Soto hit a solo home run off Astros starter Gerrit Cole.

Game 5 was originally set to feature a pitching duel (and rematch of Game 1) between two Cy Young candidates in Nats right-hander Max Scherzer and Cole. But Scherzer, 35, was a late scratch because of spasms in his neck and upper back. Joe Ross got the start in his place, and aside from giving up a pair of two-run homers in his five-inning, five-hit outing, he was solid.

For more on this game, here are our big takeaways.

Why the Astros won

Cole was an ace tonight for his club. He rebounded from his uncharacteristic Game 1 start to put together a dominant outing, one fans have grown accustomed to when the right-hander's on the mound. Cole pitched seven innings, giving up just three hits and one run, the Soto homer. He struck out nine batters, while walking just two. His nine Ks in the win bring his single-season total (regular and postseason) to 373 strikeouts. Cole passed Nolan Ryan (367, 1974) for the fifth-most all-time on the single-season strikeout list. Cole is now 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA this postseason.

A hot offense continued in Houston's third straight win as well. Astros manager AJ Hinch decided to return Alvarez, normally the club's designated hitter, to the starting lineup for Game 5. Alvarez knocked his first postseason home run in the second inning off Ross. It was also his first homer since Sept. 21.

Why the Nationals lost

Simply put, Washington's offense went dormant for all three of the team's World Series home games. In Game 5, the Nats finished with just four hits for the second straight World Series game. They struck out 10 times. Our own Matt Snyder has more on the Nats offensive struggles.

Without Scherzer (who beat Cole in Game 1), the Nats were already forced in the underdog spot. While Ross wasn't exactly Scherzer-like, he did manage to keep the Nats in the game. But in the end, his five -nning start (5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) really didn't matter all that much. With the Nats offense disappearing as of late, they were never going to beat one of the best run-producing teams in all of baseball. A shaky bullpen -- the Nats weakness all season-long -- didn't help their chances at a possible comeback. In Daniel Hudson's 1 1/3 outing out of the bullpen, he gave up three more runs, including a two-run home run off the bat of George Springer.

Turning point

Correa's two-run homer in the fourth inning all but put this game away for Houston. Four runs is a good lead for your team, and it's especially good when you have one of the best pitchers on the planet on the mound.

Correa's Game 5 homer was his 11th career postseason blast. He broke a tie with Albert Pujols for the most postseason homers before turning 26-years-old. 

Play of the game

Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel has been producing highlight reel plays this entire postseason. Sunday night, we were treated to yet another all-out play at first. Gurriel, a Gold Glove finalist this year, fielded a Trea Turner grounder and then dove into the bag to get the out.

In case you're feeling a little bit of deja vu after watching the replay of Gurriel's Game 5 play, it's because he executed a nearly identical one (although, he dove twice) in Game 4, also to get Turner out.

What's next

The two clubs will have Monday off as they travel back to Houston. Game 6 of the World Series is set for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET -- stream via fuboTV (Try for free). The Astros will send out Justin Verlander to face Stephen Strasburg in a pitching rematch of Game 2. The full World Series schedule can be found here.

CBS Sports provided live updates, highlights and analysis throughout Game 5. You can relive the game below.

Live updates
(168)
See New Posts
@MLBStats via Twitter
October 28, 2019, 3:31 AM
@Nationals via Twitter
October 28, 2019, 3:28 AM

The Nationals scored three runs in 27 innings at home. One run in each game. Brutal.

October 28, 2019, 3:28 AM

Springer 2-run homer has opened the floodgates here at Nats Park.

The Nats look like a dead team walking.

October 28, 2019, 3:03 AM

Asdrubal Cabrera was double-switched in last half inning, so he'll bat now.

Yan, or Yanny as the Nats fans called him last night, Gomes with a leadoff single here in the eighth.

Joe (Joseph if you're a freak) Smith is in.

Astros regain a four-run lead in the eighth.

Astros have runners on the corners with two outs.

Altuve advances Springer with a ball to the left side. Astros are in real position to make this a four-run game again.

Leadoff double for Springer and the Astros are threatening right out of the gates.

See More

Our Latest Stories

San Diego Padres v Seattle Mariners

Padres clinch playoff berth

Matt Snyder • 1 min read
fenway-park-intruder.png

Intruder breaks into Fenway during game

Katherine Acquavella • 1 min read
usatsi-149426431.jpg

Donaldson rips umps after ejection

Katherine Acquavella • 2 min read
ron-gardenhire-tigers.jpg

Tigers manager Gardenhire retires

R.J. Anderson • 1 min read