Nationals destroy Astros, take 2-0 series lead

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON– The Nationals dugout dancing has stolen America’s heart and the team doesn’t plan on stopping the party on the plane ride back to Washington as they take Game Two and manhandle the Astros 12-3 to take a two-games-to-none series lead

Kurt Suzuki became a one-man wrecking crew and Washington’s hero in Game Two lifting the suddenly bleak Nationals offense by taking Astros starter Justin Verlander deep to break the 2-2 tie in the seventh inning.

“We’re getting contributions from guys up and down the roster,” closer Sean Doolittle told Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post. “Our stars are playing like stars, but we’re getting contributions from guys one through nine in the order.”

Washington wore their navy blue jersey’s with the word “Nationals” scribed across the chest. In those blue uniforms the Nationals were 8-0 coming into Wednesday night’s game and extended their undefeated streak by another game after the blowout win in Houston.

The Nationals, notorious for scoring late in the game started to blow the game open after the Suzuki homer. Washington scored six runs in the seventh inning and batted around to sink the Astros after they had stayed afloat for the first six innings.

The Nationals, smelling blood in the water, worked two walks off of the newly entered Astros reliever Ryan Pressley. A Sac bunt from Adam Eaton moved both Victor Robles and Trea Turner over to second and third with only one out.

After a short fly ball from Anthony Rendon that wasn’t deep enough to drive Robles home the Astros did something they haven’t done since the 2018 season: intentionally walk a batter. The Astros had seen enough of Juan Soto who doubled and homered in Game One and decided that they didn’t want Juan Soto to beat them.

Okay, so? Howie Kendrick delivered. Kendrick faced a similar situation in the NLDS with the bases loaded. We know how that went. On an 0-1 slider, Kendrick grounded to third on a ball that was booted by likely American League MVP Alex Bregman. Everyone moved up a base and Asdrubal Cabrera stepped up to the plate.

“Contact is your friend in October,” Astros Manager told reporters at his postgame press conference.

Cabrera, who finished the game with three RBIs, lined a single up the middle to drive in two runs to give the Nats a 6-2 lead. Before his bases loaded at-bat, Cabrera had struggled. In seven World Series at-bats Cabby had only recorded one hit and struck out five times and had fans calling for him to be benched in favor of Brain Dozier.

The Nationals scored six more times including homers from Adam Eaton and Michael A. Taylor who came in as a defensive replacement as the October legend keeps growing on Taylor who played in the Minor Leagues from June until August.

“There was a lot of dancing in the dugout,” Fox analyst John Smoltz said after the Nationals took Game Two.

Nationals starter, Stephen Strasburg, obviously affected by the six day layoff didn’t have his best stuff tonight. After allowing a first inning homer that allowed the Astros to tie the game at two, Stasburg gutted out the next five innings ultimately throwing 114 pitches, 71 one of which were for strikes.

Through those six innings Strasburg struck out six including one of the biggest of his career in the sixth inning. With two runners on base in a tie ball game, Hinch turned to former top prospect and a left-handed power bat Kyle Tucker to pinch hit for the light hitting catcher Robinson Chirinos who had struck out twice already.

Strasburg and Tucker battled for seven pitches before Strasburg was able to break-off a breaking ball that caught the outside quadrant of the strike zone which swung momentum in the Nationals favor.

Now, the Nationals can keep on dancing until Friday night when The District will host its first World Series game since 1933 as the city sits just two wins away from a World Series title.

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