The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros, 12-3, in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park. Washington takes a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and will host Game 3 in D.C. on Friday night. Going up against potential Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, the Nationals broke Game 2 wide open with a six-run seventh inning.
Nationals catcher Kurt Suzkuki-- a solo shot off Verlander -- in the seventh inning, and the Nats tacked on five more runs in the frame to turn a 2-2 tie into an 8-2 lead. Washington starter Stephen Strasburg picked up his fourth win of the postseason after he threw six innings.
The Nationals are on an eight-game October winning streak and haven't lost since NLDS Game 3 vs. the Dodgers. Road teams that take a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the World Series 77 percent of the time. And, the last 11 MLB teams to take a 2-0 lead have gone on to win the title, including the 2018 Red Sox.
As far as the Astros' side of things, it's not looking great. Just three of the previous 25 teams to lose the first two games at home under the current 2-3-2 format have come back to win the World Series. It hasn't been accomplished since the 1996 New York Yankees came back against the Atlanta Braves.
Here's more on the Nationals' blowout win.
Why the Nationals won
In Wednesday's Game 2 win, every batter in the Nationals lineup finished with either a run scored or an RBI. An incredibly balanced and deep lineup led this club to a commanding win, and 2-0 series lead.
A total of 17 runs from the Nats are the most by road team in the first two games of the World Series since the 1960 Yankees (20 runs vs. Pirates). The Nationals scored six runs in the seventh inning () of Game 2, while the Astros have scored seven runs altogether in their first two World Series games.
After Strasburg allowed a two-run home run to Alex Bregman in the first inning, he buckled down and held one of the most powerful offenses in the league scoreless for his final five innings. In the sixth inning with just one out and runners on first and second, Strasburg fought his way out of a tight spot. He got Carlos Correa to pop up for the second out and struck out Kyle Tucker to end the inning and keep the game tied at two apiece.
The right-hander owns 1.34 ERA during this year's playoffs. With his stellar outing on Thursday, he's now struck out 40 batters while walking just two in his four postseason starts. Strasburg's 1.10 career playoff ERA is third-lowest all-time among pitchers with no fewer than five postseason starts. Sandy Koufax (0.95) tops the list, followed by Christy Mathewson (1.06).
Why the Astros lost
The Astros, a club that's normally dominant while playing at home in Minute Maid Park, looked lifeless in their Game 2 loss. A question facing the Astros heading into Game 2 was whether their offense could find its way out of its funk, and they still looked a bit lost at the plate in Wednesday's defeat. Leadoff batter George Springer (0 for 5), Carlos Correa (0 for 4) and Robinson Chirinos (0 for 2) all went hitless in the loss.
Verlander's so-so start didn't help things either. In fact, the Astros ace. Verlander is still looking to record the first World Series win of his career. He's now 0-5 in his five World Series starts, with Houston and Detroit.
Suzuki's seventh-inning homer was just the beginning. . It was the 36-year-old Suzuki's second hit of a poor postseason so far at the plate, but it kicked off a six-run seventh-inning offensive outburst that broke this game wide open and secured the club a huge Game 2 win.
Play of the Game
Let's highlight this defensive gem from Trea Turner. He's been playing incredible defense at shortstop this entire playoffs, and this quick grab -- with the ball coming off George Springer's bat at 110.8 mph -- is impressive. Take a look:
Thursday will be a travel day for both clubs as the series shifts to Nationals Park in Washington D.C. for Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary). Game 3 of the World Series is set for Friday at 8 p.m. ET. The Astros will send out right-hander to face Nats right-hander .
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