The Latest: Verlander, Strasburg have 1-2-3 innings in 2nd

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HOUSTON (AP) – The Latest on Game 6 of the World Series (all times local):

7:48 p.m.

Justin Verlander and Stephen Strasburg both had 1-2-3 innings in the second inning of Game 6, leaving Houston ahead of the Nationals 2-1.

Verlander has retired the last five batters faced since Anthony Rendon’s one-out RBI single in the first, a slow chopper through the right side of the infield vacated by the shift that put Washington up 1-0.

The Astros starter struck out Asdrúbal Cabrera and Victor Robles in the second.

Verlander, the only pitcher to be 0-5 in World Series starts, has a chance to get a big victory for his first one. The Astros are trying to wrap up their second World Series title in three years – this time at home at Minute Maid Park.

Strasburg got three consecutive groundouts in the second inning, after giving up two runs in the first.

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7:31 p.m.

Game 6 is off to a flying start.

Alex Bregman carried his bat past first base after a solo home run that gave Houston a 2-1 in the first inning at rollicking Minute Maid Park.

Already way more back and forth action than we saw at Nationals Park over the weekend, where Washington never led, was outscored 19-3 and went just 1 for 22 with runners in scoring position while losing three games.

Anthony Rendon smartly grounded an RBI single through the vacant side that put Washington ahead 1-0. The run, set up when leadoff man Trea Turner was ruled safe on a replay reversal, extended Justin Verlander’s early woes – he’s given up10 runs in the first inning of six postseason starts this month after allowing only 12 in 34 starts during the regular season.

The Astros quickly bounced back. George Springer hit a double on Stephen Strasburg’s first delivery, took third on a wild pitch and scored on José Altuve’s sacrifice fly to the warning track.

With two outs, Bregman hit a homer to deep left. He trotted with his bat past the bag at first, dropped it in the dirt and continued around the bases.

Yuli Gurriel almost followed with a home run, but his ball was caught against the wall.

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7:10 p.m.

Country star Clay Walker, outfitted in a 10-gallon hat, performed the national anthem before Game 6. The predominantly orange-clad crowd waved towels of the same color and cheered loudly as game time approached.

Hakeem Olajuwon zinged the ceremonial first pitch to fellow Houston Rockets legend and Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler. But it wasn’t exactly a dream throw, landing a bit outside where Drexler, who played high school baseball, tried to scoop it.

Olajuwon became an Astros fan after moving to Houston to play for the Houston Cougars and then help the Rockets win back-to-back titles in 1994-95.

Drexler has been an Astros fan as long as he can remember. Growing up in Houston, he would ride his bicycle to games at the Astrodome and nab 50 cent tickets in center field. He said he caught home run balls from a bunch of stars, including Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds.

Drexler then revved up the crowd just before first pitch by yelling: “Play ball.”

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7 p.m.

Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg has the chance to become the first MLB pitcher ever to go 5-0 in a single postseason.

Strasburg, the Game 2 winner, takes the mound Tuesday night with the Nationals down 3-2 in the World Series and needing a win to force a Game 7.

The right-hander went into Game 6 with a five-game postseason winning streak, dating back to Game 4 of the 2017 NL Division Series at the Chicago Cubs. He is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA, striking out 52 and walking only four over 35 innings in that streak.

Hall of Fame pitcher Randy Johnson went 5-1 for Arizona during the 2001 postseason. Francisco Rodriguez was 5-0 for the Angels in 2002 before losing Game 4 of the World Series.

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4:30 p.m.

Max Scherzer would start Game 7 of the World Series for Washington on Wednesday if the Nationals win Game 6.

The 35-year-old right-hander missed his scheduled start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck, and the Astros beat substitute starter Joe Ross to take a 3-2 Series lead.

Scherzer had a cortisone shot in his neck Sunday and threw in the outfield Tuesday before Game 6.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez says “as of now, he’ll definitely start Game 7.

“He threw. He felt good,” Martinez says.

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3:40 p.m.

Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer has thrown to a bullpen catcher in left field before Game 6 of the World Series.

He told a few reporters afterward, “I’m good.”

Scherzer missed his scheduled start in Game 5 on Sunday night because of nerve irritation near his left shoulder and had a cortisone shot.

He said it would take about 48 hours for the painkiller to have an impact.

Pitching coach Paul Menhart watched Scherzer throw. Scherzer hoped to be available for a Game 7 if Washington tied the series Tuesday night.

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3:30 p.m.

Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki is out of the Nationals’ lineup again for Game 6 of the World Series.

Suzuki missed the past two games because of a hip flexor strain, and after a travel day still wasn’t in the lineup Tuesday night against the Houston Astros and Justin Verlander.

The Nationals beat Verlander in a 12-3 win last Tuesday in Game 2. The only change to their lineup from then is center fielder Victor Robles batting eighth with Yan Gomes catching and batting ninth.

Houston, which can clinch its second World Series title in three years with a win, is going with the same lineup it used for Game 2 against Stephen Strasburg.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Fans try to catch a Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman home run during the first inning of Game 6 of the baseball World Series against the Washington Nationals Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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