HOUSTON: The Houston Astros led Major League Baseball with 107 wins this season and were expected to crush the Washington Nationals in the World Series, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Instead, the upstart Nationals beat Houston 6-2 on Wednesday to capture the best-of-seven final 4-3 in the first seven-game series where road teams swept every game.
The Astros seized a 2-0 lead and Zack Greinke had allowed only one hit in 6 1/3 innings, but the Nats exploded for three runs in the seventh and padded the margin from there.
Needing one win from the final two games for their second title in three seasons, the Astros were left with only misery.
“There’s 28 other teams that would love to have our misery,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I just told our team, it’s hard to put into words and remember all the good that happened because right now we feel as bad as you can possibly feel.
“I’m proud of these guys. I’m proud of the season. It was an incredible season for us.”
But it won’t be fondly recalled any time soon by anyone in an orange Astros jersey.
“This is going to sting for a really long time, and it should,” Hinch said. “It feels really bad. But when the dust settles, we’ll be very proud of the season we had, albeit one win short.”
Hinch watched the Astros start 0-for-6 at the plate with runners in scoring position. They stranded nine base runners in the first five innings, settling for a 2-0 lead when it could have been much more.
“You just give yourself as many opportunities as you can. If you give yourself enough you’re going to find your way out of it a little bit,” Hinch said.
“We left multiple base runners on every inning it felt like. It never got frustrating because you don’t have time. You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in that.”
Greinke baffled the Nats until Anthony Rendon’s solo homer in the seventh and Howie Kendrick smacked a two-run homer off reliever Will Harris that gave Washington the lead for good.
“He was incredible. Absolutely incredible,” Hinch said of Greinke. “He did everything we could have asked for and more. He executed pitches. He was in complete control of the game. He made very few mistakes.
“We asked him to do more today than he had done, and pitched deeper into the game more than he had done in the entire month of October.”
Hinch will never know what would have happened had he left Greinke in the game to face Kendrick.
“It’s a decision I’ll have to live with,” Hinch said. “I’ll think about it.”
The Astros won 60 home games in the regular season but couldn’t take one to capture the title.