The atmosphere around Nationals Park was electric Friday night, as fans lined up hours before the first World Series game in the nation’s capital since 1933.
“An unbelievable environment today,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said of the sellout crowd of 43,867 fans. “The fans here were incredible.”
The Astros, after losing two games in Houston, scored runs in four different innings and captured a 4-1 victory as the Nationals left 12 runners on base and were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. Washington still leads the series 2-1 with game 4 on Saturday at 8:07 p.m.
“We were aggressive out of the strike zone — uncharacteristic of what we had been doing,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “Let’s go get some rest and come back tomorrow.”
While the bats were mostly silent, Martinez praised the Nationals fans who painted Navy Yard red. Many stood throughout the game, waiting in vain for the Washington offense to break loose.
“It was electric,” Martinez said. “Bring it again tomorrow. It was great; I love it.”
The Astros were able to shut down Washington star Juan Soto on Friday. He had three hits in Game 1 but was hitless in Game 3 and struck out to end the contest.
“We are pretty good, too. He was very aggressive early,” Hinch said of Soto. “We just had a nice team win. We did a lot of things well tonight. Our pitching was phenomenal. It reestablishes us in this series. A win was huge for us tonight. This series is clearly not over.”
The Nationals trailed 2-1 when starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez came to the plate with a runner on base and out in the fourth.
Martinez thought of using a pinch-hitter but didn’t. “I seriously thought about it,” the manager said. Sanchez struck out and then leadoff man Trea Turner made the last out of the frame.
“We want to be aggressive in the strike zone,” Martinez said. “That is our goal. We just didn’t do that tonight.”
“We feel good,” Sanchez said. “Those games, it’s day by day. Tomorrow is another day. Everything’s tied at zero. Hopefully,y we got a better opportunity to score some runs and let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki had to leave the game in the sixth inning with a right hip flexor and Martinez said he will know more about his condition Saturday.
The Nationals will start veteran lefty Patrick Corbin on Saturday while Houston will go with opener Jose Urquidy.
“He will go as long as he is good,” Hinch said of the reliever.
“The manager told me I will have the ball tomorrow,” rookie Urquidy said through an interpreter. “I am trying to learn from these three games and compete tomorrow. I am living the dream. It is a big opportunity for me.”
Houston’s Michael Brantley had two hits and drove in two. “We have a lot of respect for the Nationals. They are up 2-1. They played a competitive ballgame,” Brantley said.