Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
With an utterly disappointing start to the World Series for the Astros having lost the first two games at home with their best pitchers on the mound, they took Game 3 to get back into it. On Saturday, they went one step further with an 8-1 win in Game 4, and are now back in the driver's seat with both teams needing two wins of the final three games to take the series.
It started with a brilliant performance by Jose Urquidy, who exceeded expectations in a start that earned him a win, then Alex Bregman put the exclamation point on the night with a grand slam later in the game. Here is a recap of Game 4:
Final Score: Astros 8, Nationals 1.
Series: tied 2-2.
Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy.
Losing Pitcher: Patrick Corbin.
Houston jumps ahead early again
Just like in Game 3, the Astros went right at the Nationals to get an early lead. It came by way of four-straight singles in the top of the first by Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel, with Bregman and Gurriel's coming in for RBIs. They would go on to load the bases, but an inning-ending double play would hold them to just a 2-0 lead.
That score held until the top of the fourth, where Houston doubled their score with one swing of the bat. Carlos Correa started the inning with his second walk of the night, setting up a two-run homer by Robinson Chirinos, his second in as many nights, pushing the Astros out to a 4-0 lead.
2 days, 2 homers for @robinson28ch. 💪💪 #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/4s894plqNN
— MLB (@MLB) October 27, 2019
Urquidy exceeds expectations in a gem of a start
While the Astros were putting up four runs, Jose Urquidy would have been okay with just one through his start. In a game that was expected to be full of many relievers, the rookie pitcher carried his team on his back for a terrific outing.
Urquidy allowed two hits, a single in the first and double in the third. That's it for five innings in the World Series against the Nationals who just three days ago put up twelve runs. Not only was it just what his team needed, but it was also arguably the best start by a pitcher on either team this whole series. His final line in an incredible night: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.
Nats get one back in the sixth, but Bregman blows it open in the seventh
Josh James was first out of Houston's bullpen as they looked to their relievers to hold on to the four-run lead over the final four innings. James would not have his best stuff, getting a strikeout but allowing two walks, prompting A.J. Hinch to make another move to bring in Will Harris to shut down the inning.
Harris would have a comebacker deflect off his leg against his first batter, loading the bases before getting an RBI-groundout for the second out, making it 4-1. He would end the threat there, getting a crucial strikeout to end the inning and hold the three-run lead.
In the top of the seventh, the Astros went to work against Washington's bullpen. They loaded the bases on a pinch-hit walk by Kyle Tucker, walk by George Springer, then single by Michal Brantley. That brought the struggling Alex Bregman to the plate with one out, and instead of getting just one run on a sacrifice hit, instead blew the game open with a huge grand slam to make it 8-1 and get him back on track at the plate.
ALEX. BREGMAN. GRAND. SLAM. pic.twitter.com/wWV5ac6XAN
— MLB (@MLB) October 27, 2019
Houston ties the series
Hector Rondon was next out of Houston's bullpen to try and hold the newly created seven-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. He would record two outs while putting two on base, resulting in a change to bring in Brad Peacock, who would get the last out of the inning. Peacock remained in the game for the bottom of the eighth, working around a walk and error for a scoreless inning to move the game into the ninth with Houston still ahead seven runs.
Chris Devenski was the final pitcher of the night for the Astros, coming in for the bottom of the ninth to hold on to the seven-run lead and get the final three outs. He did so, getting a scoreless frame to finish the victory, which has Houston in a tie for the World Series with back-to-back wins after dropping the first two games.
Up Next: World Series Game 5 will get underway Sunday with another 7:07 PM Central start time. The pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 1 with the Nationals sending out Max Scherzer and the Astros starting Gerrit Cole. Scherzer was the winner of that game with five innings of work while allowing two runs and Cole received his first loss of the postseason by allowing five runs over seven frames. Houston will expect Cole to be back to the dominant self that had him out to a 3-0 start to the postseason before that tough outing.
The Astros playoff report is presented by APG&E.
With a new season on the horizon, the Astros have high hopes for 2024 after coming just one game shy of being in the World Series for three consecutive seasons.
If Houston wants to get back to the Fall Classic in 2024, they're going to have to rely on their pitching. Owner Jim Crane believes the club has 8 starting pitchers when Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. return mid-season.
Which allows several of the starters to move to the bullpen and provide even more depth. Add those guys to Bryan Abreu, Ryan Pressly, and Josh Hader and you have a recipe for success.
Check out the video above as ESPN Houston's Jeremy Branham goes through the entire staff and makes his case for the Astros having the best pitching staff in baseball.
You can listen to The Killer B's with Jeremy Branham and Joel Blank every weekday on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 from 3 pm - 6 pm!