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Nationals force winner-takes-all World Series decider in explosive Game 6

Nationals boss Dave Martinez became the first manager ejected in the World Series since 1996.

Ejected: Martinez's confrontation with umpires.
Ejected: Martinez's confrontation with umpires.
Image: Matt Slocum

STEPHEN STRASBURG BAFFLED Houston’s batters and Anthony Rendon drove in five runs to power the Washington Nationals to a 7-2 win over the Astros, forcing a Game 7 winner-takes-all showdown for the World Series.

Washington pulled level at 3-3 in baseball’s best-of-seven final, setting up a decider on Wednesday evening.

Washington’s Juan Soto and Adam Eaton blasted solo home runs in the fifth inning and Houston native Rendon hit a two-run homer in the seventh and a two-run double in the ninth.

That was enough run production for the Nationals thanks to Strasburg mystifying the Houston hitters who had produced 19 runs over the prior three games.

“I saw an incredible pitcher,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “He was really good. We didn’t put a lot of stress on him.”

Nationals boss Dave Martinez became the first World Series manager ejected since Atlanta’s Bobby Cox in 1996, needing to be restrained from angrily confronting umpires after a controversial call in the seventh inning.

Washington clung to a 3-2 lead in the seventh when controversy struck.

Nationals shortstop Trea Turner was called out for interference on first baseman Yuli Gurriel and the decision was upheld after a 4 1/2-minute video review. It would cost Washington a run when Rendon smashed a homer to left field.

After the inning, Martinez angrily moved toward the umpires, bench coach Chip Hale restraining him. But Martinez yelled until home plate umpire Sam Holbrook ejected him, leaving Hale to take the team to the finish.

The Nationals will start three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer in Game 7 after neck spasms kept him out of game five. Fellow right-hander Zack Greinke will start for Houston.

“We have a great opportunity to play a game seven in the World Series in our ballpark,” Hinch said.

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But a World Series in which Houston was one of the heaviest favorites in years has turned into a historic epic, the first World Series with road teams winning the first six games.

“It’s weird,” Martinez said. “You can’t explain it.”

The Astros will try for their second title in three seasons while the Nationals seek the first crown in their franchise’s 50-year history. It would also be the first World Series title for Washington since 1924.

 © – AFP, 2019   

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