Stephen Strasburg, center, offers a rare smile as he receives hugs in the dugout after his Game 2 start in the 2019 World Series. Photo credit: screenshot, Fox

Stephen Strasburg outlasted Justin Verlander as the Washington Nationals took control of the World Series to lead the Houston Astros 2-0.

The San Diego State alum benefitted from a rout, as the Nationals crushed the Astros 12-3. In so doing, he won his fourth game this post-season as the Nationals defied expectations against the heavily favored Astros.

The battle of pitching elites played as expected initially.

Strasburg left the game after the 6th inning in a 2-2 tie. But the Nationals took the lead in the top of the 7th, on catcher Kurt Suzuki’s solo home run.

Then the rout was on.

The Nationals exploded for five more runs in the 7th, after third-baseman Alex Bregman misplayed two ground balls. The surge put Strasburg in line for the victory after throwing more than 110 pitches.

The Nationals added four insurance runs, including an Adam Eaton home run in the 8th.

Strasburg gave up his two runs on a home run by Bregman in the first inning before settling in.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the series Tuesday with a 5-4 win over the Astros.

Neither Game 1 starter, Max Scherzer for the Nationals nor Gerrit Cole for the Astros, was razor sharp, despite high expectations for the pitching match-ups in the series.

After an off-day, the action shifts to Washington D.C. Friday. Astro Zack Greinke will face the Nationals’ Anibal Sanchez.

It’s unclear when Strasburg will appear again, as Nationals manager Dave Martinez has been willing to put his starters in the game in unorthodox spots throughout the playoffs.

He told Bleacher Report this week that “Going into the season, the goal for me is pretty simple: Just take the ball every time they wanted me to. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I really felt like at this point in my career there’s no looking back. Leave it all out there.”

– Staff reports

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