With Sunday’s road victory by the Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals were pushed to the brink of elimination and in need of a victory to extend the series to a decisive seventh game.
Nationals 7, Astros 2 (box score)
Strasburg did not allow any further scoring in 8.1 IP, giving up two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Controversy erupted in the 7th inning when, following a leadoff single by Yan Gomes, Trea Turner was ruled out at 1st base on batter interference after being nailed by a throw as he was crossing the bag. It appeared he had been taking a direct line to the base in fair territory rather than using the running lane which is, inexplicably, in foul territory.
During the review, Turner put MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, whose responsibilities include overseeing umpiring, on blast thanks to a hot mic.
Trea Turner: “Joe Torre is sitting right there … he’s sitting with his head down trying not to look up.” pic.twitter.com/BM92dbAKGN
— Joon Lee (@joonlee) October 30, 2019
Nationals manager Dave Martinez became the first manager ejected in the World Series since Bobby Cox in 1996.
During the 7th inning stretch, Nationals Manager Dave Martinez was visibly upset with the umpires and was ejected during the exchange. pic.twitter.com/AZ23MusrNN
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 30, 2019
The call on Turner was criticized by fans as well as current and former MLB players.
Wow! If that call costs them this game… #WSHvsHOU
— Randal Grichuk (@RGrich15) October 30, 2019
Why put the bag in fair territory then! Go and do the softball orange safety bag so we can make it clear where to touch the bag in FOUL territory. Such a bad rule pic.twitter.com/VicFsyi9We
— Kyle Schwarber (@kschwarb12) October 30, 2019
That’s such a brutal call. If anyone knows interference, it’s me…. and that ain’t it chief.
— Will Middlebrooks (@middlebrooks) October 30, 2019
Ex-player and analyst Doug Glanville noted the problem is due to the placement of the running lane relative to first base.
Everyone who knows me knows how much I despise the running lane rule but it is the rule. Lane is in foul territory, base is in fair. Kills right-handed hitters in particular. Needs to change. #mlbplayoffs
— Doug Glanville (@dougglanville) October 30, 2019
It appeared the Nats would go quietly following the interference call after Eaton popped out, but Anthony Rendon delivered with a two-run homer to extend the Washington lead.
He then blew the game open in the 9th with a two-run double, finishing the night 3-4 with one run scored and five RBI.
The World Series will conclude tonight starting at 8:08 PM ET. Let’s hope it is as every bit as epic as Game 7 of the 2016 World Series and not an anticlimactic letdown like Game 7 of the 2017 edition of the Fall Classic. Matchup: TBD. Max Scherzer, who was scratched from Game 5 with neck pain, has said he is available and ready to pitch.