Fans head toward Nats Park before Game 4 of the World Series
Fans head toward Nats Park before Game 4 of the World Series Credit: Kelyn Soong

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The pockets of Houston Astros fans scattered around Nats Park on Saturday night began to chant “MVP” for Alex Bregman, while Nats fans stood in silence. Bregman had just hit a grand slam off Fernando Rodney in the seventh inning, and shortly after, a steady stream of Nats fans began to head toward the exit as the Astros were on their way to an 8-1 win in Game 4 of the World Series.

With the victory, the Astros have tied up the series at 2-2 and head into Sunday’s Game 5 at Nats Park with the confidence of a team that won 107 games in the regular season. Any momentum the Nats gained from stealing two games in Houston evaporated in front of an announced sold-out crowd of 43,889 fans at Nats Park.

Sunday will give the Nats another opportunity to show what they’ve done throughout season: win when the stakes are the highest.

“I mean obviously we wanted to win these last two, and it didn’t come out our way, but we’ve been doing this all season,” starting pitcher Patrick Corbin said after the game. “We’ve had losses, big losses, and bounced back fine. So guys will be ready to go tomorrow.”

The series is now guaranteed to go at least six games and Sunday’s Game 5 will have the extra spectacle of having Donald Trump in attendance. According to the Post, Trump is expected to arrive shortly after the game begins and will sit with MLB officials.

Chef, humanitarian, and Trump critic José Andrés will throw out the first pitch.

On Saturday, Corbin needed 26 pitches to get out of the first inning and the Astros quickly went up 2-0 with runs from José Altuve and Michael Brantley. In six innings, Corbin gave up seven hits, four runs, and finished with a 5.14 ERA.

The Nats offense didn’t give him much run support. For the second night in the row, the team struggled to get a hit and have now gone 1 for 19 with runners in scoring position at home in the World Series. They’ve stranded 22 runners on base.

Their only score in Game 4 came when Gerardo Parra scored after Juan Soto grounded out to first in the bottom of the sixth inning. Howie Kendrick struck out on the next at-bat with two runners on base.

In the seventh inning, Rodneyreplaced Tanner Rainey and immediately gave up a single to Brantley to load the bases before Bregman’s grand slam. Martinez defended his decision to use Rodney instead of Sean Doolittle or Daniel Hudson.

“I honestly thought that Rodney was, with the change-up on Brantley, which like I said, Brantley is a good hitter, he threw a good pitch, Brantley put the ball in play,” Martinez explained. “After that, he just made one mistake and Bregman got him.”

The Nats will be able to turn to Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for their next two starts, and Martinez is confident about his team’s ability to rebound.

He’s repeatedly preached at them “about going 1-0.”

“We just come back,” Martinez said. “We haven’t hit the last couple days, but I’ve got the confidence we’ll bounce back and be ready to play tomorrow. It’s just one of those things. It’s baseball. And it’s the World Series. I just told the boys, ‘Hey, we’re in the World Series. We’re playing Game 5, tied 2-2. Who would’ve thought that in the beginning? So here we are. Let’s forget about it. Can’t do nothing about the last two games. Let’s look ahead and get ready to play tomorrow.’”