Astros One Win Away from World Series Title

When myworld arrived at the park on Sunday night we thought the Nationals were doing a special Halloween celebration. It appeared that Max Scherzer was on the mound disguised as Joe Ross. It was not until we settled in that reality struck and it was actually Joe Ross on the mound. Max Scherzer was having a resurgence of his back problems and would not be available to pitch on Sunday.

The Astros took advantage of the lack of Scherzer in the second when Yordan Alvarez slugged a two run homerun into the centerfield bleachers. Yuli Gurriel had started the rally with an infield single that glanced off Joe Ross and bounced toward Anthony Rendon, who could not make the throw to first. Alvarez got an opportunity to play left field by his manager after sitting out the first two games to get some swings in. Alvarez rewarded Hinch in his first at bat.

The Nationals had an excellent opportunity to rally in the bottom half of the second. Back to back singles by Juan Soto and Howie Kendrick put runners on first and third with no one out. Normally clutch hitter Ryan Zimmerman struck out. Victor Robles ended the threat by grounding into a double play. That would be the last time the Nationals would get a runner past first, with the exception of the solo homerun by Soto in the seventh.

The Astros struck again in the fourth on a two run homer by Carlos Correa. This was the start of the Nationals complaint with the home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Joe Ross thought he had strike three on him but Barksdale disagreed, even though the pitch appeared to catch the outside corner. The next pitch Correa deposited into the left field bleachers.

The Nationals tried to make a comeback in the 7th with a solo homer by Soto. Ryan Zimmerman drew a two out walk and Victor Robles ran the count to 3-2 against Cole. The next pitch was clearly high and outside but Barksdale emphatically rang Robles up for strike three. The umpire probably knew he had blown the call with the boos raining from the stadium and getting even louder when they saw the replay on their phones, and as Robles threw his bat, batting gloves and everything else in the direction of Barksdale near home plate he was not ejected. Except for Astro fans Barksdale was the most hated person in the world for that particular moment.

The Astros put the game away in the last two innings, scoring a run on a Yuli Gurriel single in the 8th and two more on a two run homer by George Springer in the 9th.

Game Notes - Trump arrived at the ball park after the first pitch was thrown. Don’t know if that was purposeful intent. Juan Andres, a Trump critic was throwing out the first pitch. When Trump was introduced in the third inning the “boos” overwhelmed any cheers that may have been in the stadium. There were also chants of “lock him up”. D.C., Virginia and Maryland are strongly Democratic areas, so those “boos” may not have been as prevalent in Ohio…The Nationals were outscored 19-3 in the three home games. The Nationals were not really in any of the games, a disappointment to the 130,000 in attendance. Under the 2-3-2 format the Astros became just the second team to win the middle three games on the road without trailing. The Yankees were the other team against the Dodgers in 1949…Barksdale did not show any accountability for the blown call, blaming it on the catcher Yan Gomes for standing up too quickly after the pitch.

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