HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- This was a game the Astros desperately wanted to win.
One of the best pitchers of the generation took the mound for them at Minute Maid Park, his team holding a 3-2 lead in the World Series.
The championship was there for the taking.
But they ran into Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, who dealt 8 ⅓ masterful innings to help lead his team to a 7-2 win in Game 6.
The Astros took a 2-1 lead in the first inning but struggled at the plate after Alex Bregman’s home run.
The reason: Strasburg.
He locates three pitches for strikes and Astros hitters struggled to get to them.
“He just mixed three really, really good pitches,” Bregman said after the game. “His fastball is really good, changeup’s really good. His breaking ball varied in speeds today from 84 (mph) to 80. He was really, really dominant.”
Strasburg gave up five hits and struck out seven.
A wild pitch allowed George Springer to take third base after his leadoff double in the first. But that was a rare mistake for Strasburg, who told FOX after the game that he’d been unknowingly tipping his pitches in the first inning.
Once he settled in, Strasburg was a problem for the Astros lineup.
“I saw an incredible pitcher,” Hinch said. “I mean he was really good. As I said before the game, he has an uncanny ability to slow the game down when he’s under any duress. And we didn’t put a lot of stress on him. But the times we did in the fifth (inning) and then the leadoff single in the sixth, he kind of backs it down a little bit. He throws his secondary pitches for strikes. He locates pitches. He didn’t make a lot of mistakes. Credit to him bouncing back from the first inning. …
“He has a slow heartbeat out there.”
When asked if Houston’s hitters were pressing at the plate, manager A.J. Hinch could only tip his cap. Strasburg was dominant and offensively, the Nationals hit three long balls, which were more than enough to show up the Astros’ output.
“We got beat by the home run. They hit the ball out of the ballpark multiple times and we ran into Strasburg,” Hinch said. “That’s pretty much the explanation tonight.”