Alex Bregman
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Alex Bregman’s historic night paves the way for Astros’ 8-1 win in World Series Game 4


The Astros completed their comeback on Saturday night, defeating the Nationals 8-1 in Game 4 to tie the World Series, 2-2. It was a strong performance on all fronts: rookie pitcher José Urquidy delivered five scoreless innings of two-hit, four-strikeout ball, while Alex Bregman snapped out of a postseason slump after going 3-for-5 with an RBI single and a grand slam.

From the get-go, the Astros had control of the game. In the first inning, José Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, and Yuli Gurriel collected four consecutive singles and two runs off of Nationals’ starter Patrick Corbin. Corbin recovered for a scoreless second and third, but was foiled again by Robinson Chirinos in the fourth, who belted a two-run homer — his second in two straight games — to score Carlos Correa and give the Astros a comfortable four-run lead.

Urquidy, meanwhile, stymied the Nationals at every turn. He allowed a two-out single to Anthony Rendon in the first inning, then quickly retired Juan Soto with a first-pitch line out to end the inning. When Yan Gomes returned in the third with a leadoff double, he put a stop to that, too, erasing the Nationals’ lone RISP with three outs from Corbin, Trea Turner, and Adam Eaton.

Things went a little haywire for the Astros in the sixth, however. With Urquidy formally relieved of his duties, Josh James tried to keep the lid on the Nationals’ offense — and instead issued two walks and a strikeout to put runners on first and second. He was replaced by Will Harris, who promptly gave up back-to-back hits to Rendon and Soto, allowing the Nationals to get on the board with their first and only run of the game.

Any concern for Houston’s lead was short-lived. In the seventh, with Tanner Rainey in for Corbin, the Astros loaded the bases with Kyle Tucker, George Springer, and Michael Brantley. Fernando Rodney subbed in for Rainey, Bregman stepped up to the plate, and two pitches later, hit a grand slam to give the Astros a cushy 8-1 advantage:

Not only was the grand slam the first by a third baseman in 55 years, but Bregman’s five RBI were the most by an American League player in the World Series since Hideki Matsui in 2009.

Following Bregman’s slam, neither the Astros nor the Nationals improved their side of the scoreboard. The Nationals got a pair of runners on first and second in both the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn’t find a way to score in either situation — which then triggered this unsightly stat:

With the Astros’ victory, the teams will enter Sunday’s contest tied at two wins apiece. Game 5 will feature a match-up of their respective aces, as the Astros’ Gerrit Cole and Nationals’ Max Scherzer are scheduled to face off for the second time this series. Their last meeting ended unfavorably for the Astros, who saw Cole pitch to the worst results of his postseason career with five runs, a walk, and six strikeouts scattered over seven innings.

Game 5 is set for 8:07 PM EDT.

Blake Snell becomes client of Boras Corporation

Blake Snell
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Ken Rosenthal and Josh Tolentino of The Athletic report that Rays starter Blake Snell has switched agencies, going from Apex Baseball to Boras Corporation. Snell is currently signed to a five-year, $50 million contract and will be under contract through 2023.

Snell found himself in hot water two weeks ago when he said on his Twitch stream that he wouldn’t risk his life to play baseball during a pandemic while receiving significantly reduced pay. Some described Snell as tone deaf for saying, “I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, okay?”

Boras represents many of baseball’s highest-paid players, including Gerrit Cole and Bryce Harper. Snell is not likely to win over any of the people he recently irritated by appearing to go after more money by hiring the highest-profile agent. What often goes unsaid is that players have a very limited window in which to use their elite athletic skills to make money.

Snell won the 2018 AL Cy Young Award, going 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio over 180 2/3 innings. He did not have nearly the same success last year, going 6-8 with a 4.29 ERA and a 147/40 K/BB ratio in 107 innings.