Baseball / MLB

Astros awaken, reduce World Series deficit to 2-1


From the moment George Springer jumped on the game’s third pitch for a single, then quickly swiped a base, to the way he and his teammates sprinted off the field after the final out a little past midnight Saturday, the Houston Astros were suddenly aggressive and energetic.

And suddenly right back in the thick of this World Series.

Yes, the Fall Classic finally showed up back in Washington, 86 years later — and, sparked by Springer and Jose Altuve, the Astros finally showed up in the Fall Classic.

Springer had two of Houston’s four steals, Altuve doubled twice before scoring each time, Zack Greinke repeatedly worked out of trouble, and the Astros made sure they wouldn’t go quietly despite looking listless twice at home, beating the Nationals 4-1 on Friday to cut their Series deficit to 2-1.

“We’re pretty good, too,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. “It kind of re-establishes us.”

Washington starter Anibal Sanchez, who pitched 5⅓ innings, took the loss. He allowed 10 hits and four runs while walking one and striking out four.

The Astros can even things up in Game 4 on Saturday night at Nationals Park. The Nationals will start $140 million lefty Patrick Corbin, while Hinch said he’ll go with rookie Jose Urquidy.

“We didn’t panic,” Altuve said.

Washington’s eight-game winning streak, tied for the longest in a single postseason, ended with a sloppy performance in the first Series game hosted by the nation’s capital since the Senators lost to the New York Giants in 1933.

A sellout crowd of 43,867, dressed mostly in red for the occasion, soaked it all in, standing in unison at key moments, booing ball-strike calls that hurt their team, chanting “Let’s go, Nats!” often and even getting to do their “Baby Shark” sing-and-clap-along when that children’s tune blared as a walk-up song in the sixth.

“It was electric,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “The boys in the dugout, they were fired up.”