The Houston Astros defeated the Washington Nationals, 8-1, in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series on Saturday night at Nationals Park. The Astros tied the series at 2-2 with the blowout victory. The Nationals, who have dropped two home games in a row, will host Game 5 on Sunday night.
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman hit aoff Nationals reliever Fernando Rodney to break the game wide open for Houston. The Nationals scored their lone run in the sixth inning when Juan Soto hit a first-pitch RBI ground out with the bases loaded.
In what was supposed to be a bullpen game for Houston, twenty-four-year-old right-hander Jose Urquidy was the "starter" for Houston and turned in an impressive outing. Urquidy pitched five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits while striking out four.
For Washington, lefty Patrick Corbin gave up four earned runs in six innings of work. He allowed two runs in the first inning when he surrendered four consecutive singles. Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos took Corbin deep for a two-run homer in the fourth inning that doubled Houston's lead to 4-0.
In this World Series, visiting teams have won every game so far. It's just the fifth time that's happened in a World Series, and the first time it's happened since 1996. When the first four World Series games have been split, the team that's on the road -- the Astros, in this case -- for Game 5 (with Games 6 and 7 back at home) has gone on to win 31 of 55 times (56%).
For more on this game, here are our big takeaways.
Why the Astros won
The Astros chose to go with a bullpen game for Game 4, but Urquidy's dominance altered that original plan a bit. Urquidy delivered five scoreless innings, and held the Nats lineup to just two hits. Urquidy, who made his MLB debut this past July, became just the fourth rookie in the last 30 years to throw a scoreless start in the World Series. He last pitched in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Yankees, when he gave the Astros 2 2/3 innings of one-run relief in what turned out to be the pennant-clinching game.
The combination of relievers Will Harris, Hector Rondon, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski shut out Washington with 3 2/3 scoreless innings to close the game. Harris continued his impressive postseason with another strong relief appearance in Game 4. The right-hander now has not given up a run in his last 10 playoff outings (9 innings). In Game 3 of the World Series, Harris retired all five batters he faced.
As far as the offense, the Astros got production from Alex Bregman and Robinson Chirinos. After homering in Game 3, Chirinos went deep again Saturday. At 35, he became the first catcher to hit multiple home runs in a World Series at age-35 or older.
Bregman found himself in a similar situation when he went up to face Nationals reliever Fernando Rodney, with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of Game 4. In Game 3, Bregman also faced Rodney with the bases loaded, but grounded out. This time, Bregman knocked the second pitch from Rodney -- a 92.6 mph sinker -- to the bleachers in left field for a grand slam.
Why the Nationals lost
With Game 3 and 4 losses, the Nationals have lost consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 13-14 against the Braves. In Saturday's Game 4 loss, Washington's offense couldn't pick up starter Patrick Corbin up after he stumbled through his first postseason start since Oct. 15 in Game 4 of the NLCS. The Nats finished with just four hits and looked nothing like the offense that scored a total of 17 runs in their back-to-back wins in Houston.
When the bases were loaded with just one out in the sixth inning, the Nationals only brought in one run. Juan Soto hit a ground out RBI for the second out while Howie Kendrick recorded the final out with an inning-ending strikeout. In Games 3 and 4, the Nationals are 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position. While Game 3 had more opportunities for the Nats to score (and win), Game 4 saw barely any. The third and sixth innings were the only two times in the loss that Washington batted with a runner in scoring position.
Robinson Chirinos' home run -- his second in as many World Series games -- in the fourth inning gave the Astros a cushioned lead, but off Fernando Rodney put the game away. Not only was this a turning point for Game 4, but for the best-of-seven series as well. Bregman's homer was the 20th grand slam in World Series history.
Play of the game
We've been treated to plenty of defensive gems this entire World Series, but how about this play from Nats center fielder Victor Robles in Game 4? In the fifth inning, Robles robbed the hot-hitting Michael Brantley of another single with this diving catch.
According to Statcast, this hit had a five percent chance of being caught, and Robles ran 42 feet in just 2.9 seconds to make the grab. Robles, 22, led the league during the regular season with +21 Outs Above Average.
The two clubs will square off for Game 5 on Sunday night for their final game at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. The Astros will send out flame-thrower Gerrit Cole to face Nats ace Max Scherzer in a pivotal Game 5 on Sunday. First pitch is set for Sunday at 8 p.m. ET -- stream via fuboTV (Try for free).
The CBS Sports MLB staff provided live updates, analysis and more in our live blog of Game 4. You can relive the game below.