The 2019 World Series is now even.
Saturday featured a stellar effort from Astros rookie starting pitcher Jose Urquidy, another jam escaped by reliever Will Harris, another homer from catcher Robinson Chirinos and a game-breaking grand slam from third baseman Alex Bregman. Washington failed to score more than one run in back-to-back games for only the second time in 2019. The first came Sept. 13-14, which also was the last time the Nats lost two straight games.
Here are 19 more facts and figures to know from Houston’s second straight Series victory.
1) The road team is now 4-0 in this series. It’s the fifth time that the visitor has won at least four straight games to begin a World Series, and the first since the Braves and Yankees clashed in 1996.
2) Going back to Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, road clubs have now won six straight. The last time there was a streak that long was from 1949-50.
3) Speaking of that 1996 World Series, that was the last Fall Classic in which a team came back from a 2-0 deficit, with New York rallying past Atlanta. Houston is now halfway toward matching that feat and becoming the 14th team to win a best-of-seven series after dropping the first two games.
4) The Astros now have a slight advantage, historically speaking. When series with this current 2-3-2 format have seen the first four games split, the team that’s been on the road for Game 5 -- and therefore back home for Games 6 and 7 -- has gone on to win 31 of 55 times (56 percent).
In such situations, Game 5 obviously becomes crucial. Teams winning Game 5 to grab a 3-2 lead have won 38 of 55 series (69 percent), including 18 of 22 (82 percent) when taking that game on the road.
A slam for Bregman
5) Bregman blew the game open with his seventh-inning grand slam off Fernando Rodney that gave Houston an 8-1 lead. It was the 20th grand slam in World Series history and first hit by an Astros player. The most recent Series slam was hit by the Cubs’ Addison Russell in 2016, but the last by an American League player came in 2005, when Paul Konerko of the White Sox hit one in Game 2. That shot came against the Astros, who were then playing in the National League.
6) There have now been two third baseman who have hit a slam in a World Series game: Bregman and Cardinals star Ken Boyer, in Game 4 of the 1964 Fall Classic off Yankees pitcher Al Downing.
7) Bregman’s slam was the second hit by an Astros player in any postseason game. Lance Berkman was responsible for the other, against the Braves in Game 4 of the 2005 NL Division Series.
8) Bregman now has nine career postseason homers off eight pitchers, and they all have one thing in common: they have all been All-Stars in their careers. Rodney is a three-time All-Star, most recently in 2016. The other pitchers Bregman has homered off of: Stephen Strasburg, Chris Sale (two), Clayton Kershaw, Blake Snell, Trevor Bauer, Kenley Jansen and Corey Kluber.
9) The Astros’ AL MVP Award candidate went 1-for-13 over the first three games of this World Series, with his lone hit being his first-inning homer off Strasburg in Game 2. Additionally, Bregman was just 4-for-31 dating back to Game 1 of the ALCS before he knocked an RBI single in his first at-bat on Saturday night.
10) The Cubs’ Russell also was the last player to tally at least five RBIs in a World Series game prior to Bregman. The last AL player to drive in that many runs was Hideki Matsui, who drove home six for the Yanks in Game 6 of the 2009 Fall Classic to seal his World Series MVP Award.
Bregman joins Morgan Ensberg (2005 NLDS Game 1) and Carlos Beltran (‘04 NLDS Game 5) as the third Astro to drive in at least five runs in a postseason game. He’s also the first third baseman with five RBIs in any World Series game.
11) Bregman is just the fifth cleanup hitter to hit a grand slam in the Fall Classic, joining Konerko, Boyer, Yogi Berra (1956) and Elmer Smith ('20).
Right on, rookie
12) Game 4 was only the 12th appearance of Urquidy’s Major League career. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, only two pitchers made their first World Series start after fewer career appearances: Phillies right-hander Marty Bystrom (seven prior appearances) in Game 5 in 1980 and current Mets lefty Steven Matz (eight) in Game 4 in 2015.
13) Games 1-3 of this World Series featured a trio of heavyweight starting pitching matchups: Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander vs. Strasburg and Zack Greinke vs. Aníbal Sánchez. But the rookie Urquidy posted more 1-2-3 clean innings (three) than any of those brand-name starters did in the first three matchups.
14) According to Elias, only one pitcher in the Divisional Era (since 1969) had previously made his first career postseason start a scoreless one in the World Series before Urquidy. Jon Lester did it at Coors Field in Game 4 of the 2007 World Series -- a Series-clinching game for the Red Sox.
15) Urquidy is just the second starting pitcher from Mexico to earn a win in a World Series game. He follows countryman Fernando Valenzuela, who pitched a complete game in a 5-4 win over the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1981 Fall Classic.
Cleaning up the mess
16) Harris came up huge for the Astros once again, inheriting a pair of baserunners from teammate Josh James in the sixth and allowing just one run to come home on Juan Soto’s groundout to first. Harris has yet to allow an earned run across 10 scoreless appearances this October, one shy of the all-time record (11, by Jeremy Affeldt for the 2014 Giants) by any pitcher who finished without an earned run allowed in a single postseason.
17) The Nationals’ run did mark the first inherited runner that Harris let home, snapping his perfect streak of 10-for-10. James is also 10-for-10, and no reliever has finished a World Series with at least 10 baserunners inherited and none of them coming around to score.
18) After homering in Game 3, Chirinos launched a two-run homer to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning Saturday. Chirinos is the sixth catcher to homer in back-to-back World Series games, following Mickey Cochrane (1930), Bill Dickey ('39), Roy Campanella ('55), Gene Tenace ('72) and Ted Simmons ('82).