Juan Soto recorded a three-hit, three-RBI game in his World Series debut as the Washington Nationals rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the Fall Classic.
Soto drilled an opposite-field, game-tying home run leading off the fourth innings on Tuesday. He delivered a two-run double, also to the opposite field, an inning later to cap the Nationals’ three-run uprising off Astros ace Gerrit Cole (0-1).
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At 20 years, 362 days old, Soto became the fourth-youngest player to homer in a World Series game.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer (1-0) survived five laborious innings and departed with a 5-2 lead.
Soto pulled the Nationals even at two-all with his 417-foot (127 metres) blast onto the train tracks above left-centre field.
Cole, 19-0 with a 1.59 ERA over his previous 25 starts, had already surrendered a solo homer to Ryan Zimmerman with two outs in the second inning. By the time Soto strolled to the plate in the fifth, the Nationals had secured a 3-2 lead.
Two batters after Adam Eaton produced a run-scoring single to right, Soto lined a 3-2 slider from Cole off the scoreboard in left. Victor Robles and Anthony Rendon scored on the play, with Rendon coming home from first base after the ball caromed past left fielder Michael Brantley.
Scherzer responded by retiring the side in order for the first time in the bottom of the fifth. He had allowed a two-run, two-out, two-strike double to Yuli Gurriel in the first inning after holding batters to a 0-for-17 mark with runners in scoring position this postseason.
Washington will look to head home with a 2-0 series lead when Stephen Strasburg takes the mound opposite Justin Verlander in Game 2 on Wednesday.
“It’s huge. They waited a long time to get to this position. I’m super happy that I’m a part of it. We’re elated to be here, really. The city, the fans, we’ve got the Capitals wearing helmets playing the game, they’ve got name tags up there with the big W on there. The city is going crazy,” Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals manager, said.