HOUSTON (AP) — It’s been an unconventional road to Game 7 of the World Series for Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals.
Seizing the October spotlight he missed out on as a youngster, Strasburg pitched another postseason gem into the ninth inning Tuesday night as the Nationals beat the Houston Astros 7-2 to tie this Fall Classic at 3-3.
Juan Soto ran all the way to first base with his bat following a go-ahead homer, the same way Houston slugger Alex Bregman did earlier.
Yep, these wild-card Nationals have matched the heavily favored Astros swing for swing, hit for hit — even home run celebration for home run celebration.
Now, it’s onto a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night to decide the only Series in which the visiting team won the first six.
“It’s weird, really. You can’t explain it,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said.
Adam Eaton and Soto hit solo homers off Justin Verlander in the fifth to help the Nationals overcome a 2-1 deficit. Anthony Rendon also went deep and drove in five runs.
“Maybe they enjoy our park and maybe we enjoy their park,” said Rendon, who attended high school 4½ miles from Minute Maid Park. “We’re not going to ask questions.”
Max Scherzer, revitalized by an injection of painkiller, is primed to return from an irritated nerve in his neck to start Game 7 for Washington in a Series that’s been all road, sweet, road.
Scratched from his scheduled Game 5 start only hours before the first pitch, Scherzer was warming up in the seventh inning Tuesday before Rendon’s homer, then sat down as Martinez became the first manager tossed from a Series game since Atlanta’s Bobby Cox in 1996.
“The cortisone shot worked. That relieved the pressure on the nerve, and then keep applying heat,” Scherzer said. “Our chiropractor, he does amazing…