The Houston Astros handed the ball to Gerrit Cole, and he gave them a firm grip on the World Series. Minus ailing ace Max Scherzer, the Nationals were no match in this Washington wipeout. Cole bounced back from a Game 1 clunker to pitch the Astros to a 7-1 win Sunday night and a 3-2 World Series lead, the AP reports. Slumping rookie Yordan Álvarez and Carlos Correa each hit an early two-run homer off emergency starter Joe Ross. George Springer added another postseason drive, and Houston won its third straight at Nationals Park. What a turnaround, too—outscored 17-7 overall at Minute Maid Park, Houston hammered Washington 19-3 at Nationals Park.
Scherzer beat Cole in the opener, and was the Nats' best hope to slow Houston. But he was scratched less than 4 hours before game time because of an irritated nerve near his neck, an injury that could finish him for the Series. With the road team winning every time so far, Houston heads home with two chances to claim its second title in three years. Justin Verlander gets the first try when he starts against Stephen Strasburg in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Cole threw three-hit ball for seven innings, nicked only by Juan Soto's home run in the seventh, and struck out nine—eight on breaking balls. "I just thought that we needed to execute better pitches this time out, and I didn't realize that that was how we got that many strikeouts," Cole says.
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