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The Washington Nationals won their debut World Series game, edging out the Houston Astros 5-4 in game one of the best-of-seven series in Houston.
The Astros went 2-0 up early on before home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and Juan Soto drew the Nationals level.
Soto, 20, drove in two more runs to make it 5-2 in the fifth inning.
George Springer homered in the seventh and drove in another run in the eighth to give Houston hope, but the National League champions held on for the win.
It was a memorable night for left fielder Soto, who turns 21 on Friday, picking up three hits, three runs batted in (RBI) and a stolen base on his ‘Fall Classic’ debut.
Despite the expectation of a pitching duel between Houston’s Gerrit Cole and Washington’s Max Scherzer, two of Major League Baseball’s elite starters, both allowed plenty of early baserunners at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros, who had MLB’s best regular-season record on the way to the American League pennant, fell quiet between Yuli Gurriel’s two-run double in the first and Springer’s home run, but a seventh-inning rally was ended at 5-3 when Yordan Alvarez struck out with the bases loaded.
Centre fielder Springer, who had set a new MLB record by homering in his fifth successive World Series game dating back to the Astros’ 2017 triumph, reduced the deficit to one run when his RBI double scored pinch-hitter Kyle Tucker from second base, but Nats reliever Sean Doolittle came in to claim the last four outs to pick up the save.
Cole, dominant for so much of the season, went seven innings but gave up five runs in a game for the first time since May, taking the loss as Scherzer conceded five hits in five innings but was awarded the win.
The series continues at the same venue on Wednesday night (01:00 BST on Thursday), with Houston’s Justin Verlander facing Washington’s Stephen Strasburg on the mound.
|World Series results & schedule (home team listed first)|
|Game 1: Houston 4-5 Washington|
|Game 2: at Houston, Wednesday 23 October (01:00 BST, Thu 24 Oct)|
|Game 3: at Washington, Friday 25 October (01:00 BST, Sat 26 Oct)|
|Game 4: at Washington, Saturday 26 October (01:00 BST, Sun 27 Oct)|
|Game 5*: at Washington, Sunday 27 October (00:00 GMT, Mon 28 Oct)|
|Game 6*: at Houston, Tuesday 29 October (00:00 GMT, Wed 30 Oct)|
|Game 7*: at Houston, Wednesday 30 October (00:00 GMT, Thu 1 Nov)|
|*Games 5-7 if required; US clocks do not change until 3 November|