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Urquidy shuts down Nats, Astros win 8-1 to even World Series

Bregman swats grand slam, drives in five

World Series - Houston Astros v Washington Nationals - Game Four Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

These are the kind of performances you need to win a World Series. A rookie who makes an extraordinary contribution when it’s needed most.

In just his 11th career appearance—the third-fewest prior to a World Series start—Houston Astros’ rookie Jose Urquidy allowed just two baserunners and blanked the Washington Nationals across five scoreless innings to even the World Series at two games apiece in an 8-1 victory.

To steal a line from TCB favorite mhatter: “Are Urquidy me?”

It also doesn’t hurt when your MVP candidate crushes a grand slam to work his way out of a funk.

After dropping the first two games at home, the Astros have won two straight on the road and have the top two pitchers in the American League ready to go.

Clutch City is back. And the World Series is coming back to Houston.

The Astros got the scoring started right away.

After a George Springer strike out started the game, the next five Astros reached base. Jose Altuve continued his torrid postseason with another hit to tie a club postseason record—which, of course, he already owned.

Altuve has reached base in every game this postseason and in 24 consecutive playoff games, the third-most in American League history.

Michael Brantley followed with another hit and Alex Bregman showed early signs of snapping his slump with an RBI single to the gap on the first pitch.

Yuli Gurriel smoked a shot to third base, where Anthony Rendon made a great play to keep the ball from reaching the outfield. But Gurriel beat the throw as Brantley scampered home to make it 2-0. The Astros became the first team to hit four consecutive singles in the first inning of a World Series game.

Carlos Correa worked a walk to load the bases with just one out, but Robinson Chirinos hit into a double play to kill the rally.

Nonetheless, Nationals’ starter Patrick Corbin needed 26 pitches to get three outs and the Astros were off to a good start yet again. Houston has scored in the first inning in three of the first four World Series contests, though that hadn’t gone well prior to tonight.

Then, the legend of Urquidy, which began against the New York Yankees in the ALCS, continued to be told.

Urquidy retired six of the first seven Nationals he faced before a Yan Gomes double began the bottom of the third. That was the second and last National to reach base against Urquidy, who used a mix of brilliance to keep Washington off-balance all night.

In the fourth, Robinson Chirinos clobbered a pitch halfway up the bleachers in leftfield to put the Astros ahead 4-0.

Chirinos joined a select group of catchers to homer in consecutive World Series games.

Urquidy responded with a shutdown bottom half of the inning, sending down the heart of the Nats’ lineup in order to keep the Astros rolling.

He did more of the same in the fifth, registering another clean inning to end his outing by retiring nine straight batters.

All told, Urquidy allowed just two hits, walked none, and struck out four, needing just 67 pitches to canvas five innings.

With the Astros still leading 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Josh James entered in relief. James issued two walks to put two runners aboard with one out and the heart of the Nats’ order due up.

Thankfully, AJ Hinch went to his “panic button” Will Harris to get out of the jam.

Anthony Rendon hit a grounder off Harris to load the bases with just one out and Juan Soto coming to the plate. The Astros have modified their approach against Soto as the series has progressed, throwing more offspeed pitches in an attempt to stymie the Nats’ rookie. Houston was happy to concede just a run on his RBI grounder to first for the second out of the inning. Harris came through yet again with a strikeout of NLCS MVP Howie Kendrick to squash the threat.

World Series - Houston Astros v Washington Nationals - Game Four Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Astros offense finally exploded in the seventh.

Tanner Rainey issued consecutive walks to Kyle Tucker and Springer to start the inning. Rainey retired Altuve on a popout to rightfield before being removed for Fernando Rodney.

Brantley greeted Rodney with his third knock of the night to load the bases with one out.

That’s when Bregman’s inevitable World Series moment finally arrived.

Bregman clubbed a grand slam off Rodney to put the Astros ahead 8-1 and essentially put the game out of reach.

Bregman’s homer gave him five RBI on the night, the most by a third baseman in Series history.

The slam was the first in a while in World Series history, though I don’t really want to talk about the last one that occurred. I just want to show you another video of Bregman’s blast.

The Astros’ low-leverage relievers certainly made things eventful the rest of the night. Hector Rondon, Brad Peacock, and Chris Devenski each allowed at least one baserunner but combined for three scoreless innings to secure the victory. They were aided by their teammates in the field, including Gurriel, who made a fantastic play on a hard hit by Turner to end the seventh.

And now, the stage is set.

Best-of-three, with each team sending their co-aces to the mound the next two games.

Game 5 is Sunday night at 7:08 CT.

Box score and videos here.