HOUSTON — They used to call the Houston Astrodome the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Maybe we need a nickname for what transpired Wednesday at Minute Maid Park in Game 7 of the World Series. Something like the Seventh-Inning Shocker might work.
Or just call it this: The inning that made the Washington Nationals the World Series champions, as Howie Kendrick once again played postseason superhero. Kendrick’s two-run home run off the foul pole in right off Will Harris gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead and was one of the most dramatic Game 7 homers in World Series history. How we got to that point will be debated and discussed and argued about all winter.
Should Zack Greinke have remained in the game? Should Gerrit Cole have come in? What happens if that 2-1 pitch to Juan Soto is called a strike? Is Anthony Rendon a man or a cold-hearted, lethal, pitcher-devouring machine?
The 6-2 victory capped the most unlikely of World Series. The road team won all seven games. That had never happened before. Only the baseball gods can understand how this stuff plays out sometimes. The team that started 19-31 is the World Series champion — for the first time in franchise history, going back to its birth in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, and the first time for a Washington baseball team since the Senators in the halcyon days of 1924.
The Nationals trailed 3-1 in the eighth inning of the wild-card game. They trailed 3-1 in the eighth inning of the final game of the division series against the Dodgers. This time they decided not to wait that long. Manager Dave Martinez likes to say, “Let’s go 1-0 today.” The Nats went 1-0 in the biggest game of the season.