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Sports Nationals' ice-cold offense can't find big hit as World Series lead disappears

11:45  27 october  2019
11:45  27 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Three takeaways from Nationals' Game 2 World Series win over the Astros

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“It’s blown up pretty big ,” Patrick Corbin, the Game 4 starter, told reporters. “Everyone seems to be doing it. Despite the buildup, Parra wound up striking out and no one else on the Nationals mustered much offense either as they fell to the Astros They still hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series .

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Nationals shortstop Trea Turner pops out in the first inning.© Brad Mills, USA TODAY Sports Nationals shortstop Trea Turner pops out in the first inning.

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals offense has suddenly gone cold at the most inopportune time.

After scoring 17 runs in the first two games of the World Series, the Nationals have only been able to score a meager two runs in their last two losses to the Houston Astros in Games 3 and 4 at Nationals Park.

The Nationals have combined to go 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position in those games – 0-for-10 in Game 3 and 1-for-9 in Game 4.

That's a far cry from the .355 mark with runners in scoring position they posted during their eight-game postseason winning streak.

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"I don’t think we’re swinging the bats poorly," said Nationals right fielder Adam Eaton, who went 0-for-3 in the 8-1 loss on Saturday. "With runners in scoring position, yes, but when they make their pitches – I don’t care who you are – 97 on the black on each side and two other pitches they’re throwing, it’s going to be difficult."

It's not like the Nationals were facing co-aces Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander these past two games.

In Game 4, it was 24-year-old Astros rookie pitcher José Urquidy, who has only pitched 41 innings during the regular season and 4 ⅓ innings in the postseason. The Nationals made him look like an ace as he tossed five scoreless inning and allowed just two hits to earn the victory.

"I just wanted to make sure that I was fair to him," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "We hadn't asked this much even out of him.

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"I didn't want him to fail. I didn't want to lead him down a path that we hadn't asked him to do over the last month and have it turn on him."

The Nationals had a chance to get things going in the second inning when Yan Gomes hit a leadoff double, but Urquidy got the next three batters out to end the threat.

"I don’t think it’s a matter of us having bad at-bats," said Nationals shortstop Trea Turner. "We got runners on base, just haven’t gotten any big hits.

"We hit a lot of balls good, right at people ... who knows, some of those balls fall and we’re still playing."

The Nationals, who last lost consecutive games on Sept. 13-14, need their bats to wake up – and fast. The Astros tied the series 2-2 and now have momentum on their side and the pitchers lined up for what is a best-of-three set.

Cole, who is 19-1 since May 22, is scheduled to pitch Game 5 on Sunday, and Verlander is set to pitch Game 6 back home in Houston on Tuesday.

The opportunities were their for the Nationals in each of the last two games, but they failed to execute when they had the chances.

"We haven't hit the last couple of days, but I've got confidence we'll bounce back and be ready to play tomorrow," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "It's just one of those things.

"It's baseball. And it's the World Series."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nationals' ice-cold offense can't find big hit as World Series lead disappears

World Series champs Washington Nationals get their parade .
World Series champs Washington Nationals get their paradeTens of thousands of fans are expected for a parade Saturday honouring the Nationals, who won a nail-biting, come-from-behind victory against the Houston Astros in Game 7 to clinch the World Series.

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