The Latest: Gurriel homers in second to give Astros 1-0 lead

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HOUSTON (AP) – The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series (all times local):

7:44 p.m.

The Houston Astros have taken a 1-0 lead in Game 7 and missed a chance to add more runs off three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer.

Yuli Gurriel led off the Astros second with a homer into the Crawford Boxes in left field, sending the orange-clad crowd into a frenzy.

Rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Carlos Correa followed with sharp singles. But Robinson Chirinos popped out on an attempted sacrifice bunt before Josh Reddick grounded out. The inning ended on George Springer’s liner that was caught just off the ground by left fielder Juan Soto.

With Scherzer and Zack Greinke on the mound, it is the first time Cy Young winners have matched up in Game 7 of a World Series. Neither has a strikeout through the first two innings.

Greinke has allowed one hit while throwing 12 of 20 pitches for strikes. Scherzer, the Game 1 winner who missed his Game 5 start because of an irritated nerve near his neck, has walked one and thrown 19 of 33 pitches for strikes.

Young slugger Soto got the Nationals hit with a single to right field but was quickly erased from the basepaths when Howie Kendrick hit a comebacker to Greinke to start a 1-4-3 double play.

Asdr̼bal Cabrera then was retired on a nice snag by Gurriel, who stepped on first base for the unassisted out just moments before putting the Astros ahead with his second homer this postseason Рand first in this World Series.

Soto, who turned 21 last Friday, has 17 hits this postseason. The only player younger than him with more hits in a single postseason was Miguel Cabrera, who had 18 as a 20-year-old rookie for the World Series champion Marlins in 2003.

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7:25 p.m.

Washington and Houston were scoreless after a hitless first inning in Game 7.

Zack Greinke need just eight pitches to retire Trea Turner on a lineout, Adam Eaton on a squib in front of the plate and Anthony Rendon on a groundout.

Averaging 97 mph with his fastball, Max Scherzer retired George Springer on a flyout and José Altuve on a groundout, walked Michael Brantley, then got Alex Bregman on a flyout. Scherzer, recovered from an irritated nerve near his neck with the help of a cortisone injection, threw 15 pitches.

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7:11 p.m.

Texas-born actor Matthew McConaughey kicked off Game 7 of the World Series by declaring: “Let’s play ball.” Wearing the same orange jersey the team was wearing Wednesday night, McConaughey worked the packed crowd into a frenzy by asking: “Houston are you ready,” when he took the microphone.

Earlier, two of Houston’s famed Killer B’s, Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell threw out ceremonial first pitches simultaneously. Biggio made his toss to pitcher Collin McHugh and Bagwell threw his to pitcher Lance McCullers.

Bagwell and Biggio were part of Houston’s first World Series team in 2005 that was swept by the Chicago White Sox. McHugh and McCullers helped the Astros to their first title in 2017.

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5:30 p.m.

Umpires apparently wouldn’t have gotten much of an argument from Astros manager AJ Hinch if that disputed interference call hadn’t been made in Game 6.

Nationals leadoff hitter Trea Turner was ruled out on interference with the first baseman when running on his slow roller that was fielded by pitcher Brad Peacock in the seventh inning. The game was stopped for about 10 minutes, including about 4 ½ minutes with the umpires on headsets discussing the situation, before Turner was called out and another runner was returned to first base.

“That one I wish common sense prevails,” Hinch said before Game 7, when asked if he would like to see the base running rule altered. “I actually side with Turner on this one, that I didn’t think that he was getting in the way of anything. It was an errant throw.”

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4:55 p.m.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez says Game 7 starting pitcher Max Scherzer has told him that he feels great and is ready to go.

“He’s going to go, he’s going to pitch,” Martinez said before the deciding game Wednesday night. “We’ll see how far he will take us.”

Scherzer, the Game 1 winner, wasn’t able to make his scheduled start in Game 5 on Sunday night because of an irritated nerve near his neck. The three-time Cy Young winner had an injection that night and threw on flat ground before Game 6. He was later seen throwing in the bullpen during that game Tuesday night.

Martinez wasn’t sure Scherzer would be able to pitch again in this World Series after he couldn’t move Sunday. The manager even scrunched his shoulders and grimaced while trying to imitate how the pitcher looked before the shot.

Scherzer will be throwing to catcher Yan Gomes instead of Kurt Suzuki, who was initially in the starting lineup for Game 7 after missing the last three games with a hip flexor strain.

The manager says Suzuki is still available to come off the bench and play, either as a hitter or catcher.

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4:35 p.m.

Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has been scratched from Washington’s starting lineup for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.

Suzuki missed the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain. The 36-year-old was initially listed in the starting lineup but was replaced again by Yan Gomes just under three hours before the first pitch.

Gomes will be behind the plate for Max Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner who was unable to make his start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck. Scherzer is starting the finale after a cortisone shot.

Gomes was listed eighth, the same spot Suzuki was to bat.

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4:20 p.m.

Alex Bregman and Houston manager AJ Hinch spoke three times Tuesday night about the third baseman carrying his bat to first base after hitting a home run in the first inning.

Hinch said he talked to Bregman about it during the game, after the game at the stadium and on the phone after they both left the park following Houston’s 7-2 loss to the Nationals in Game 6.

Bregman apologized for the move after the game and Hinch shared what he told him about it.

“It’s just not how we do things and not something that was necessary,” Hinch said. “It was an emotional reaction. I love the way he plays and it doesn’t diminish what he brings to the table, but it was unnecessary.”

However, Hinch knows that Bregman learned his lesson from the miscue and wants him to put it in the past.

“After the game and into the night I wanted to make sure he realized he’s got to forgive himself before he moves on,” Hinch said. “We need to make sure it doesn’t ruin (Game 7). I don’t want it to carry over.”

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4:00 p.m.

Houston manager AJ Hinch said Game 6 starter Justin Verlander won’t be available for Game 7 against the Washington Nationals.

After taking the loss in Game 6 to fall to 0-6 in seven career World Series starts, Verlander said he would be available on Wednesday if Hinch needed him. But Hinch shut that down.

“All hands on deck means most hands on deck,” Hinch said.

While Verlander is out while Houston tries to win a second championship in three seasons, fellow ace Gerrit Cole could be used out of the bullpen.

Cole got the win in Game 5 on Sunday. Hinch said he’ll talk to him before the game about how he might use him on Wednesday.

“It would be in a limited capacity if I ask him to do anything,” Hinch said.

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3:45 p.m.

Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki is back in Washington’s lineup for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.

Suzuki hadn’t played the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain. The 36-year-old, who homered in Game 2, will be behind the plate to catch for Max Scherzer.

Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner, was unable to make his start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck. He is starting the finale after a cortisone shot.

Washington’s lineup was unchanged aside from Suzuki back in the lineup batting eighth, and center fielder Victor Robles dropping back to the No. 9 spot after catcher Yan Gomes hit in that spot in Game 6.

Houston used a familiar lineup against the right-hander, led off by 2017 World Series MVP George Springer.

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Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel hits a home run during the second inning of Game 7 of the baseball World Series against the Washington Nationals Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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