World Series 2019: All the Records the Nationals Broke to Win Historic First Title

The Washington Nationals clinched a first World Series title in franchise history on Wednesday night, defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 at the end of one the most extraordinary series in memory.

The seventh inning of the decider will live long in Washington's folklore, as Howie Kendrick and Anthony Rendon homered to erase a two-run deficit and give the Nationals a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish.

Patrick Corbin kept the Astros scoreless in his three innings, while Washington scored again in the top of the eight and then added two runs in the ninth inning to put Houston out of the game and secure a first-ever title in franchise history.

The win in Game 7 put an emphatic exclamation mark on an exhilarating run that began back on May 23, when the Nationals were 19-31 and chances of reaching the postseason, let alone the Fall Classic, were as concrete as a mirage.

However, the Nationals embarked on a 74-38 run that propelled them into the playoffs, displaying the sort of against-all-odds attitude that would become the theme of their postseason run.

"Guess what? We stayed in the fight. We won the fight!" National manager Dave Martinez told ESPN. "We were down and out. We were 19-31. We didn't quit then, we weren't going to quit now."

Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30 in Houston, Texas. The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros with a score of 6 to 2. Elsa/Getty

Having dispatched the Milwaukee Brewers in the Wild Card Round, Washington won a first playoff series in franchise history by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers—who had reached the World Series the last two seasons—in the National League Division Series.

A comfortable 4-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series set up the meeting with the Astros.

Washington arrived into the series as the biggest underdog since the Colorado Rockies played the Boston Red Sox in 2007.

The Rockies were vanquished in four games but the Nationals had no plans to follow suit and proceeded to win the first two games in Houston, becoming only the second team since 1999 to win the first two games of the World Series on the road.

The champagne, however, was put firmly back on ice as the Astros took all three games in Washington and as the series returned to Houston the Nationals knew they had to make history if they were to deliver a first World Series to the nation's capital since 1924.

In the 114 previous instalments of the Fall Classic, never had a team won the title without winning at least one game at home.

As the series moved to Texas, FiveThirtyEight's statistical projections gave the Nationals a 19 percent of winning the World Series to Houston's 81, a dramatically different scenario from a few days earlier.

When the series left Houston for Washington with the Nationals 2-0 up, it was them who had an 81 percent chance of lifting the trophy.

The Nationals kept the series alive with a win in Game 6, ensuring the 2019 World Series became the series in which a road team has won each of the first six games across 1,420 best-of-seven series in the MLB, NBA and NHL.

With history beckoning, Washington found itself with its back against the wall again as it had done during the postseason—the Nationals had trailed 3-1 in the eight inning of both the wild card game and of the decider against the Dodgers.

With Houston 2-0 ahead and Zack Greinke in total control, the Astros looked set to become the first team to win at home in the series. According to ESPN data, Houston had an 87.7 percent win probability after Nationals right-fielder Adam Eaton was ground out at the beginning of the seventh inning.

Even after Rendon homered, the Astros retained 78.1 percent chance of clinching a second title in three seasons.

By the time Kendrick homered off Will Harris, the pendulum had swung dramatically towards Washington and it would remain there as the Nationals became the fourth consecutive team to clinch Game 7 on the road.

"This is what it's about," the 36-year-old said. "I mean, words can't even describe this feeling. It's phenomenal. This group of guys that we got here, we fought all year. This makes it sweet. This is so sweet right now."

The Nationals also became the first wild-card team to win the series since the San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-3 in 2014 and only the fifth team in World Series history to erase a multi-run deficit in the seventh inning or later of Game 7.

Up until this season, the Nationals had never won a playoff series in their 15-year stay in Washington and in their 35-year existence as Montreal Expos they had never got past the National League Championship Series.

The win in Game 7 changed the picture forever, as the Nationals clinched a first ever title and Washington is the home of the World Series champions for the first time since the Washington Senators wrapped up the title in seven games.

World Series 2019: All the Records the Nationals Broke to Win Historic First Title | Sports