The Latest: Hakeem Olajuwon delivers 1st pitch before Game 6
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Game 6 of the World Series (all times local):
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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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