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2019 World Series
|2019 World Series|
|MVP||Stephen Strasburg (Washington)|
|Umpires||Lance Barksdale, Gary Cederstrom (crew chief), Doug Eddings, Sam Holbrook, James Hoye, Alan Porter (Games 1–2),[note 1] Jim Wolf (Games 3–7)[note 1]|
|ALCS||Houston Astros defeated New York Yankees, 4–2|
|NLCS||Washington Nationals defeated St. Louis Cardinals, 4–0|
|Television||Fox (United States – English)
Fox Deportes (United States – Spanish)
MLB International (International - English)
|TV announcers||Joe Buck, John Smoltz, Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci (Fox)
Rolando Nichols, Edgar Gonzalez and Carlos Álvarez (Fox Deportes)
Matt Vasgersian and Buck Martinez (MLB International)
Unanimo Deportes (Spanish)
|Radio announcers||Dan Shulman, Chris Singleton and Buster Olney (ESPN)
Beto Ferreiro and Orlando Hernández (Unanimo Deportes)
Robert Ford and Steve Sparks (HOU)
Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler (WSH)
The 2019 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2019 season. The 115th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League champion Houston Astros and the National League champion Washington Nationals. The series was played from October 22 to October 30. The Nationals won the series, four games to three, to secure their first title in franchise history. Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg was named the World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) after earning two wins in the series.
While the Astros had home-field advantage for the series, the road team won all seven games. It was the first best-of-seven postseason series in any of the major North American sports leagues in which the visiting team won all seven games, surpassing the previous high of five.
For the third straight year, MLB sold presenting sponsorships to all its postseason series; as with the 2017 and 2018 World Series, this World Series was sponsored by YouTube TV and was officially known as the 2019 World Series presented by YouTube TV.
This was the first World Series appearance for the franchise that began its existence as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and moved to Washington in 2005 as the Nationals. The Nationals were also the last team from the 1969 expansion class (which also included the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers - who began as the Seattle Pilots - and San Diego Padres) to earn a trip to the series. The World Series appearance also means that all National League teams have been to the World Series at least once. The only American League team not to reach the Fall Classic is the Seattle Mariners, who were part of the 1977 expansion. The Astros and Nationals had never met in the postseason before, despite Houston's stint in the National League from 1962-2012. The Astros and Nationals did not play an interleague game in 2019, and last faced each other during the 2017 regular season. The two teams share a Spring training site in West Palm Beach, Florida, and opened the 2019 Spring training schedule against each other. This was the second World Series to feature two expansion teams, the first being in 2015 between the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets.[note 2]
The Nationals had an 82–80 (.506) win-loss record in 2018, and started the 2019 season with a 19–31 (.380) record. Second-year manager Dave Martinez began to receive public pressure to be fired by the Nationals. The team engineered a turnaround and finished the season in second place in the National League East, four games behind the Atlanta Braves, ending the year with a 93–69 (.574) record. The Nationals were one of two teams to qualify for the playoffs as a wild card team from the National League. Martinez had missed three games in September due to a cardiac catheterization procedure to treat angina.
The Nationals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers at home in the National League Wild Card Game, coming behind from a 3–1 deficit in the eight inning to win 4–3. The Nationals then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had won the previous two National League pennants, in the National League Division Series. The Nationals were behind two games to one, and won their second and third elimination games of the postseason to take the best-of-five series. The postseason series win was the first in Washington Nationals history.[note 3] In the National League Championship Series, the Nationals swept the St. Louis Cardinals (who had defeated the Braves in the Division Series round) in four games to secure the first pennant in franchise history (including their time as the Montreal Expos from 1969 to 2004). It was the first World Series appearance for a Washington, D.C., team since 1933. The franchise known as the Washington Senators were a charter franchise of the American league who played in D.C. from 1901–1960 before moving to Minnesota to become the Twins. The Senators' name was passed to an expansion franchise that began play the year following year, 1961, and that team played in D.C. through 1971 before moving to Texas as the Rangers. There was no major league baseball team in Washington, D.C. between 1972–2004.
The Astros won the 2017 World Series, the franchises' first World Series championship. They lost in the 2018 American League Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox. The Astros finished the 2019 regular season with a 107–55 (.660) win-loss record, which was the best in baseball. They won the American League West.
The Astros played the Tampa Bay Rays, who won the American League Wild Card Game, in the American League Division Series. Houston defeated the Rays in five games. In the American League Championship Series, the Astros defeated the New York Yankees in six games. This was Houston's third World Series appearance and second in three years.
Washington won the series, 4–3.
|1||October 22||Washington Nationals – 5, Houston Astros – 4||Minute Maid Park||3:43||43,339|
|2||October 23||Washington Nationals – 12, Houston Astros – 3||Minute Maid Park||4:01||43,357|
|3||October 25||Houston Astros – 4, Washington Nationals – 1||Nationals Park||4:03||43,867|
|4||October 26||Houston Astros – 8, Washington Nationals – 1||Nationals Park||3:48||43,889|
|5||October 27||Houston Astros – 7, Washington Nationals – 1||Nationals Park||3:19||43,910|
|6||October 29||Washington Nationals – 7, Houston Astros – 2||Minute Maid Park||3:37||43,384|
|7||October 30||Washington Nationals – 6, Houston Astros – 2||Minute Maid Park||3:42||43,326|
|WP: Max Scherzer (1–0) LP: Gerrit Cole (0–1) Sv: Sean Doolittle (1)
WSH: Ryan Zimmerman (1), Juan Soto (1)
HOU: George Springer (1)
The Nationals wore their alternate road blue jerseys for Game 1. Before the national anthem, a moment of silence took place in honor of umpire Eric Cooper, who had died on October 20. Former Astro Brian McCann threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate Evan Gattis. Max Scherzer started for the Nationals, while Gerrit Cole started for the Astros. In the bottom of the first, Yuli Gurriel hit a two-run double with two outs, giving the Astros a 2–0 lead. In the top of the second, Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run to cut the Astros' lead to 2–1. Juan Soto led off the top of the fourth inning with a home run to tie the game, 2–2. Soto became the fourth-youngest player to hit a home run in a World Series; Andruw Jones in 1996 was the youngest to date. Adam Eaton drove in a run in the top of the fifth, followed two batters later by a Soto two-run double, giving the Nationals a 5–2 lead.
Scherzer exited after pitching five innings, having allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven batters. Cole went seven innings, allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out six. After Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin pitched a scoreless sixth, George Springer led off the bottom of the seventh with the 14th postseason home run of his career, off Nats reliever Tanner Rainey. He also broke a World Series record held by Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig, with a home run in five consecutive World Series games, dating back to Game 4 of the 2017 World Series. The Astros loaded the bases later in the inning with two walks off of Rainey and an infield single off of Daniel Hudson, but Hudson struck out Yordan Álvarez to prevent any more scoring. In the bottom of the eighth, pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker singled, advanced to second on a fly ball by Aledmys Díaz, and Springer drove in another run with a double, pulling the Astros to within one, 5–4. Sean Doolittle, the Nationals' fifth pitcher of the game, got the final out of the eighth inning and retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth, concluding matters when Carlos Correa lined out to Víctor Robles to preserve the win. Doolittle earned his second save of the postseason and the underdogs took the series lead, marking the first time in franchise history that the Nationals won a World Series game.
|WP: Stephen Strasburg (1–0) LP: Justin Verlander (0–1)
WSH: Kurt Suzuki (1), Adam Eaton (1), Michael A. Taylor (1)
HOU: Alex Bregman (1), Martín Maldonado (1)
Gymnast and Houston native Simone Biles threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 2. Starting pitchers were Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals, who wore their alternate road blue jerseys, and Justin Verlander for the Astros, who wore home white. After a walk and a single to start the game, Anthony Rendon drove in two runs with a double. Alex Bregman tied the game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. In the top of the second inning, Verlander recorded the 200th postseason strikeout of his career setting a new major league record, passing John Smoltz.
Leading off the top of the seventh, Kurt Suzuki hit a home run to put the Nationals ahead, 3–2. Verlander exited one batter later; he was charged with four runs on seven hits while striking out six batters, and suffered the loss. Washington scored five more runs in the seventh off of Ryan Pressly, extending their lead to 8–2. With a six-run lead, Strasburg was removed before the bottom of the seventh, having held the Astros to two runs on seven hits while striking out seven. In the eighth inning, a two-run home run by Adam Eaton plus an RBI by Asdrúbal Cabrera extended the Nationals' lead to nine runs. A ninth-inning home run by Michael A. Taylor off of Chris Devenski pushed the lead to 12–2. Martín Maldonado hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth off of Nationals reliever Javy Guerra, but the Nationals completed their eighth consecutive playoff win.
|WP: Josh James (1–0) LP: Aníbal Sánchez (0–1) Sv: Roberto Osuna (1)
HOU: Robinson Chirinos (1)
This was the first World Series game played in Washington, D.C., since October 7, 1933, which was the clinching Game 5 of the New York Giants' win over the Washington Senators. Chad Cordero of the 2005 Nationals threw out the ceremonial first pitch to former teammate Brian Schneider; former astronaut Buzz Aldrin also threw a ceremonial pitch. Aníbal Sánchez started for the Nationals, who wore their home alternate blue jerseys, while Zack Greinke started for the Astros, who wore their road grey uniforms. In the second inning, Josh Reddick drove in Carlos Correa as Houston scored the game's first run. In the third inning, José Altuve doubled and advanced to third on an error, then scored on an infield single by Michael Brantley, giving the Astros a 2–0 lead. The Nationals loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the third, but were unable to score. In the bottom of the fourth, Ryan Zimmerman walked then was driven in by a Víctor Robles triple, cutting the Astros' lead to 2–1.
Houston restored their two-run lead in the top of the fifth, as Altuve doubled and was then driven in by Brantley. Greinke left with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, having allowed one run on seven hits while striking out six batters. The Astros extended their lead to 4–1 in the top of the sixth, as Robinson Chirinos hit a home run off of the left field foul pole netting. Sánchez lasted until one out in the top of the sixth, having allowed four runs on 10 hits while striking out four. With no additional scoring though the middle of the ninth, the Astros brought in closer Roberto Osuna to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Osuna allowed a one-out single to Adam Eaton, but otherwise set down the Nationals; he struck out Juan Soto looking to end the National's eight-game playoff winning streak. Osuna earned his second save this postseason, as Houston pulled within a game of Washington, 2–1. This became the first World Series to begin with three games won by the road team since 1996, when the first five games were won by the road team.
|WP: José Urquidy (1–0) LP: Patrick Corbin (0–1)
HOU: Robinson Chirinos (2), Alex Bregman (2)
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by a Nationals Youth Baseball Academy scholar-athlete. Patrick Corbin started for the Nationals and José Urquidy started for the Astros. Washington again wore their blue alternate home jerseys, with Houston again wearing their road grey uniforms. The Astros scored early, recording two runs in the first inning. Robinson Chirinos hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning, extending Houston's lead to 4–0. Urquidy exited after five innings, having held the Nationals scoreless, retiring nine straight batters before being pulled out.
Washington scored a run in the bottom of the sixth, coming on a Juan Soto ground-out with the bases loaded and one out. Corbin pitched six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out five. A grand slam by Alex Bregman in the seventh inning extended Houston's lead to 8–1. It was the 20th ever World Series grand slam and first since Addison Russell hit one in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series. With no further scoring, the Astros evened the series, 2–2, ensuring a sixth game in Houston. This was the fifth time a World Series started with the road team's winning the first four games, the most recent occurrence having been 1996.
|WP: Gerrit Cole (1–1) LP: Joe Ross (0–1)
HOU: Yordan Álvarez (1), Carlos Correa (1), George Springer (2)
WSH: Juan Soto (2)
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by chef José Andrés. The starting pitchers were Gerrit Cole for Houston and Joe Ross for Washington. Max Scherzer was scheduled to start for Washington, but was scratched about three hours before the game due to neck spasms. The Nationals once again wore their blue alternate jerseys, while the Astros wore their road grey uniforms.
A two-run home run by Yordan Álvarez in the top of the second inning gave the Astros an early lead. In the top of the fourth, Carlos Correa hit another two-run home run, extending Houston's lead to 4–0. Ross pitched for five innings, allowing four runs on five hits while striking out one batter. Juan Soto narrowed the lead to 4–1 with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh. Yuli Gurriel drove in a run in the top of the eighth to restore the four-run lead. Cole left after seven innings, having held the Nationals to one run on three hits while striking out nine. George Springer's two-run home run in the top of the ninth stretched Houston's lead to 7–1. With Ryan Pressly allowing no baserunners in the bottom of the ninth, the Astros moved to within a victory of their second title in three years. This became the third World Series—along with 1906 and 1996—to have the road team win the first five games.
Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale's strike zone during the game drew attention, with some sports journalists, including Jeff Passan, increasing their appeals to MLB for a computerized strike zone. Two women in the crowd flashed their bare chests during the game—briefly visible on television—in an attempt to raise awareness for their website, claiming proceeds from the site "will be going to women with breast cancer". Along with a third woman, they were removed from the game and were banned from all MLB stadiums "indefinitely". U.S. President Donald Trump was booed and "chants of 'Lock him up!' broke out in some sections" when he and wife Melania were introduced before the game. This led to some discussion in the media of the civility required of the event and the larger political discourse taking place.
|WP: Stephen Strasburg (2–0) LP: Justin Verlander (0–2)
WSH: Adam Eaton (2), Juan Soto (3), Anthony Rendon (1)
HOU: Alex Bregman (3)
The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Hakeem Olajuwon to Clyde Drexler, both of whom played college basketball for the Houston Cougars and later won the 1995 NBA Finals with the Houston Rockets. Starting pitchers were Justin Verlander for Houston and Stephen Strasburg for Washington, the same as in Game 2.
Anthony Rendon drove in a run in the top of the first, giving the Nationals an early 1–0 lead. A sacrifice fly by José Altuve and a solo home run by Alex Bregman in the bottom of the first gave Houston a 2–1 lead. Bregman carried his bat to first base after homering, which some media considered disrespectful. Fifth-inning solo home runs by Adam Eaton and Juan Soto gave the Nationals a 3–2 lead. Soto also carried his bat to first base after homering, mimicking Bregman. Post-game, both managers would voice displeasure with the bat-carrying, and Bregman apologized and said he was at fault.
Verlander exited after five innings, having allowed three runs on five hits while striking out three batters. In the top of the seventh inning, Trea Turner was controversially called out for interference on a play at first base, which Washington manager Dave Martinez furiously took issue with, leading to his ejection. A two-out, two-run home run by Rendon off Will Harris—who had not allowed a single earned run in the postseason—later that inning increased Washington's lead to 5–2. Rendon drove in two more runs in the top of the ninth with a double off Chris Devenski, extending the Nationals' lead to 7–2. Strasburg left with one out in the bottom of the ninth, having held the Astros to two runs on five hits while striking out seven. Sean Doolittle relieved Strasburg, and allowed a two-out double to Carlos Correa, but nothing further, and the Nationals evened the series to force a deciding seventh game. This was the first instance in MLB, NBA, or NHL history where the road team won the first six games of a best-of-seven series.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Nationals had a 3–2 lead with a runner, Yan Gomes, on first base with no outs when batter Trea Turner hit a swinging bunt to the third base side of the pitcher's mound. Astros pitcher Brad Peacock fielded the ball and threw it to first base; the ball was not caught by first baseman Yuli Gurriel and rolled into foul territory beyond the base, apparently giving the Nationals runners on second and third with no outs. However, Turner was called out by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook for interference, negating the play and requiring Gomes to return to first base. While initial reports and television commentary indicated the call was for running outside the 45-foot (14 m) runner's lane, MLB's chief baseball officer, Joe Torre, clarified after the game that Turner had interfered with Gurriel's attempt to catch the ball, stating that Turner "did run to the fair side of the 45-foot line, but really the violation was when he kept Gurriel from being able to catch the ball at first base." The call led to a delay of nearly 4 1⁄2 minutes while umpires confirmed their interpretation of the rules (the decision itself was a judgment call not reviewable via MLB instant replay). The call was argued by Nationals manager Dave Martinez when it was first made and again, more intensely, during the seventh-inning stretch, resulting in his ejection by Holbrook. It was the first ejection in a World Series since Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox in 1996.
|WP: Patrick Corbin (1–1) LP: Will Harris (0–1)
WSH: Anthony Rendon (2), Howie Kendrick (1)
HOU: Yuli Gurriel (1)
This was the 40th time a World Series reached its deciding Game 7.[note 4] The starting pitchers were Washington's Max Scherzer, who won Game 1, and Houston's Zack Greinke, who received a no decision in Game 3, making this the first World Series Game 7 started by two previous Cy Young Award winners. Entering the deciding seventh game, road teams had a 16–3 record in games of the 2019 championship series for the three major North American professional sports leagues using the best-of-seven format.[note 5] The Astros wore their alternate orange home jerseys while the Nationals wore their alternate blue road jerseys. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by former Astros Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio.
A solo home run by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the second inning gave the Astros an early 1–0 lead. Carlos Correa hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend the lead to 2–0. Scherzer pitched five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out three batters. Greinke had given up only one hit (a single) before Anthony Rendon's solo home run in the top of the seventh cut the Astros' lead to 2–1. Greinke walked Soto after Rendon's homer and was then replaced by Will Harris. Harris gave up a two-run home run to Howie Kendrick into the right field foul pole netting, giving the Nationals a 3–2 lead, which they never relinquished. Greinke was charged with two runs on two hits while striking out three in 6 1⁄3 innings.. Roberto Osuna pitched the eighth inning for Houston, when Juan Soto drove in Adam Eaton with two outs to give Washington a two-run lead. The Nationals extended their lead to 6–2 in the ninth inning, with two runs scoring on a one-out single by Eaton with the bases loaded. With Patrick Corbin having pitched three scoreless innings in relief for Washington, Daniel Hudson came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and retired the side in order, striking out Michael Brantley swinging for the final out of the season, to give the Nationals franchise their first World Series title in 51 seasons as the Washington Nationals and, previously, the Montreal Expos, and the city's first since the Senators won in 1924.
The Nationals' win marked the sixth straight year that the road team won the deciding game of the Series, as well as the fourth straight win on the road in a World Series Game 7. For the first time in major North American sports history, the visiting team won all seven games of a best-of-seven postseason series. During postgame ceremonies, Washington's Stephen Strasburg was presented with the World Series Most Valuable Player Award, the first time a former No. 1 overall draft pick earned the award.
Composite line score
WSH: Juan Soto (3), Adam Eaton (2), Anthony Rendon (2), Howie Kendrick (1), Kurt Suzuki (1), Michael A. Taylor (1), Ryan Zimmerman (1)
HOU: Alex Bregman (3), Robinson Chirinos (2), George Springer (2), Yordan Álvarez (1), Carlos Correa (1), Yuli Gurriel (1), Martín Maldonado (1)
Total attendance: 305,072 Average attendance: 43,582
The World Series was televised by Fox for the 20th straight year, with Joe Buck calling the games as play-by-play announcer along with John Smoltz as color commentator and Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci as field reporters. Kevin Burkhardt hosted the network's pregame shows, joined by analysts Frank Thomas, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Fox Deportes aired the series in Spanish, with Rolando Nichols calling the play-by-play, Edgar Gonzalez as color commentator, and Carlos Álvarez as field reporter.
Notes:[note 6] Games 1 through 4 all ranked as the number one most-watched programs of their respective days. Game 1 had the second-lowest audience for any Game 1 to date, with only the 2014 World Series having a smaller audience for the opener. Game 2 had the lowest audience for any Game 2 to date, a distinction previously held by the 2012 World Series. Game 4 was the lowest rated World Series game ever, and had the second-smallest audience ever, with only Game 3 of the 2008 World Series having a smaller audience. Game 7 was the least-watched Game 7 ever, falling below the seventh game of 2014. Overall, this World Series had the fourth-lowest average number of viewers, with only 2014, 2012, and 2008 being lower. Ratings spiked considerably for Game 7, and there were strong ratings in Houston (42.7/63) and Washington, D.C. (31.8/53), making it the most-viewed MLB game in Washington since 1998.
ESPN Radio broadcast the World Series for the 22nd straight year, with coverage presented by AutoZone. Dan Shulman served as play-by-play announcer, with Chris Singleton as color commentator and Buster Olney as field reporter. Marc Kestecher and Kevin Winter hosted the pregame shows with reporter Tim Kurkjian. New Spanish-language radio network Unanimo Deportes, flagshipped at WMYM Miami, broadcast its first World Series with Beto Ferreiro and Orlando Hernández announcing.
Locally, both teams' flagship radio stations broadcast the series with their regular announcers. In Houston, KBME aired the series with Robert Ford and Steve Sparks announcing. In Washington, WJFK-FM aired the series with Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler calling the games. Per MLB rules, the teams' other radio affiliates may carry the series but must air the ESPN Radio broadcast.
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