How the Astros found their way back into the World Series

The Houston Astros finally showed some of their championship moxie in Game 3 of the World Series.

With their backs against the wall after losing Games 1 and 2 at home, the Astros bounced back to spoil the Washington Nationals’ first-ever World Series home game with a 4-1 victory in Game 3. Houston will have an opportunity to even the series in Game 4 on Saturday.

Everything the Astros lacked at Minute Maid Park seemed to return in Game 3. They took control of the game early thanks to some clutch hitting against Washington starter Anibal Sanchez. Josh Reddick opened the scoring with a second-inning RBI single before Michael Brantley tacked on two more runs with singles in the third and fifth innings.

Robinson Chirinos’ sixth-inning homer provided some insurance.

The Astros also got a gritty effort from starter Zack Greinke. Facing constant traffic, Greinke limited Washington to one run despite allowing seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings. The key being that he held the Nationals hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. Washington left 11 runners on base overall.

After allowing eight runs in Game 2, Houston’s bullpen toughened up to record 13 scoreless outs in Game 3. Josh James got the win after striking out Ryan Zimmerman to strand two runners to end the fifth inning. Brad Peacock, Will Harris, Joe Smith and Roberto Osuna brought it home.

 

WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE

 

• Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley: Houston’s No. 2 and No. 3 hitters did their part to get Houston’s offense on track. The duo teamed up twice to produce a run with Altuve setting the table with a triple and double before Brantley singled him home. Together they’ve gone 11 for 26 to begin the World Series.

• Robinson Chirinos: Houston’s catcher entered the game hitless in 15 at-bats since Game 5 of the ALDS on Oct. 5. He picked up two hits in Game 3, including a line drive solo home run off the left-field foul pole. That home run, by the way, made some World Series history.

• Josh James: He faced only one batter, but arguably recorded the biggest out of the game for Houston. Entering with two outs and two runners in scoring position, James struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end the fifth inning and preserve Houston’s lead.

MUST-SEE MOMENT

After hitting the Nationals’ first World Series home run in Game 1, Ryan Zimmerman made history again by scoring the Nationals’ first World Series run at home. Unfortunately for them, that was their only run. And unfortunately for Zimmerman, the moment from Game 3 that he will be most remembered for is this reaction after being buzzed by a Josh James pitch.

 

WHAT THEY'LL BE TALKING ABOUT

Donald Trump is coming to the World Series: The 45th U.S. president announced plans to attend Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday. Now that the Astros have guaranteed that game will happen, the president’s visit appears to be set in stone. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says Trump opted against throwing out the first pitch and is expected to be a late arrival.

How do the Nationals respond?: Now that their eight-game postseason winning streak is over, what type of mettle will we see from the Nationals in Game 4? The loss guarantees they’ll see Gerrit Cole again in the series and perhaps Justin Verlander, too. Beating those guys once is tough enough. Knowing they’ll have to do it twice might make Game 4 a bit more urgent.

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Houston Astros relief pitcher Roberto Osuna celebrates their teams win against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the baseball World Series Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington. The Astros won 4-1. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Houston Astros relief pitcher Roberto Osuna celebrates their teams win against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of the baseball World Series Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington. The Astros won 4-1. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Houston Astros' Kyle Tucker steals second as Washington Nationals' Asdrubal Cabrera can't handle the throw during the sixth inning of Game 3 of the baseball World Series Friday, Oct. 25, 2019, in Washington. Tucker advanced to third. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Houston Astros' Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick celebrate after Game 3 of the baseball World Series against the Washington Nationals Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington. The Astros won 4-1. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Oct 25, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) and catcher Robinson Chirinos (28) celebrate after beating the Washington Nationals in game three of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Astros' Roberto Osuna and Robinson Chirinos celebrate after Game 3 of the baseball World Series against the Washington Nationals Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington. The Astros won 4-1. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Members of the Washington Nationals celebrate after the Nationals defeated the Houston Astros 5-4 in Game 1 of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto, Washington Nationals 2 and Victor Robles celebrate after Game 1 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in Houston. The Nationals won 5-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros is congratulated by first base coach Don Kelly #15 after hitting an RBI double in the eighth inning during Game 1 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Washington Nationals' Sean Doolittle celebrates after Game 1 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in Houston. The Nationals won 5-4 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Washington Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton (2) attempts to catch a ball at the wall that falls for a double by Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) in the eighth inning during Game 1 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo by Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Washington Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton can't get a glove on a RBI-double by Houston Astros' George Springer during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) touches home plate after a fourth inning home run to tie the game during Game 1 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo by Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) connects with a fourth inning home run during Game 1 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, October 22, 2019. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: The Washington Nationals celebrate their 5-4 win over the Houston Astros in Game One of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 22, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
The Washington Nationals celebrate after Game 2 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019, in Houston. The Nationals won 12-3 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws a pitch in the third inning during Game 2 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros fields a ground ball but makes a throwing error in the seventh inning during Game 2 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 23: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning in Game Two of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros is forced out at second base by Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 23: Juan Soto #22, Michael A. Taylor #3 and Gerardo Parra #88 of the Washington Nationals celebrate their 12-3 win over the Houston Astros in Game Two of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 23: Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Washington Nationals is greeted by teammates Brian Dozier #9 and Adam Eaton #2 in the dugout after scoring on a two-run RBI single hit by Ryan Zimmerman #11 during the seventh inning of Game 2 of the 2019 World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
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WHAT'S NEXT

We're on to Game 4 on Saturday, which thanks to Houston's win will have a little extra juice. The Astros have announced that spot starter/long reliever Jose Urquidy will start the game. That indicates they’ll be going with another bullpen heavy game like ALCS Game 5.

The Nationals will send left-hander Patrick Corbin to the hill. The free-agent signee has served as a true third ace for Washington. He’s coming off a scoreless inning of relief in Game 1.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on Fox.

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