Na­tion­als top Astros in Game 7 to win 1st World Series ti­tle

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Ben Walker As­so­ci­ated Press

HOUS­TON — Stephen Stras­burg pa­raded the

MVP tro­phy for deliri­ous fans packed be­hind the dugout. Max Scherzer tear­fully hugged his team­mates. Ger­ardo Parra did the Baby Shark chop, Sean Doolit­tle flapped snow an­gels next to the mound.

Al­most out of con­tention in May, champs in Oc­to­ber.

Howie Ken­drick, An­thony Ren­don and the Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als com­pleted their amaz­ing come­back jour­ney — fit­tingly with one last late rally on the road.

In Game 7 of the World Series, no less.

Ken­drick and Ren­don home­red in the sev­enth in­ning as the Na­tion­als over­came a two-run deficit,rock­ing the Hous­ton Astros 6-2 Wed­nes­day night to win the first ti­tle in fran­chise his­tory.

With all eyes on Scherzer and his re­mark­able re­cov­ery af­ter a painkillin­g in­jec­tion, these Na­tion­als truly em­braced their shot in the only Series when the road team won ev­ery game.

Even more against the odds: Juan Soto and Wash­ing­ton came from be­hind to win five elim­i­na­tion games this post­sea­son, an un­prece­dented feat.

“What a story,” said Ryan Zim­mer­man, the only player who’s been a part of ev­ery Na­tion­als team.

“The way this game went is the way our whole sea­son went.”

Stras­burg, new lefty Pa­trick Corbin and the Nats brought the first World Series cham­pi­onship to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal since ol’ Wal­ter John­son de­liv­ered the crown for the Sen­a­tors in 1924.

This fran­chise started out as the Mon­treal Ex­pos in 1969 when the ma­jor leagues ex­panded be­yond the bor­der, putting a team with tri­color caps at jaunty Jarry Park. They moved to D.C. in 2005, end­ing Wash­ing­ton’s three-decade-plus wait for big league base­ball af­ter the Sen­a­tors skipped town to be­come the Texas Rangers.

But the in­cred­i­ble path these wild-card Na­tion­als with the curly W logo took, well, no one could have imag­ined.

Be­cause in one topsy-turvy week, they put aside the pain of past play­off fail­ures and up­ended heav­ily fa­vored Hous­ton. Quite an end­ing to a sea­son that be­gan back in Fe­bru­ary with the Na­tion­als and Astros work­ing out sideby-side at the spring train­ing com­plex they share in Florida.

“Re­silient, re­lent­less bunch of guys,” man­ager Dave Martinez said. “They fought all year long.”

Hav­ing lost star slug­ger Bryce Harper in free agency and be­set by bullpen woes, Wash­ing­ton plum­meted to 19-31 in late May. It got so bad there was talk the Na­tion­als might fire Martinez and trade away Scherzer.

In­stead, they stuck with the mantra that sprung up on T-shirts — Stay In The Fight.

“That was our motto,” Scherzer said.

And months later they fin­ished it, in­deed.

Shut out on one hit by

Zack Greinke go­ing into the sev­enth, they still found a way to win.

“Guess what? We stayed in the fight. We won the fight!” Martinez shouted dur­ing the tro­phy cel­e­bra­tion on the field.

“We were down and out. We were 19-31. We didn’t quit then, we weren’t go­ing to quit now,” he said.

Stras­burg earned the

World Series MVP award with a pair of wins, in­clud­ing Game 6.

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