(Reuters) – Through the first two games of the World Series the Houston Astros looked nothing like the team that won 107 games this season but, with their 8-1 route of the Washington Nationals in Game Four, the team has returned to form.
No one personifies the team, which evened the best-of-seven series at 2-2 on Saturday, better than third baseman Alex Bregman.
After a sensational regular season, the potential American League MVP’s bat was relatively quite through the first three games of the series.
But it came to life in a big way on Saturday when the 25-year-old belted a grand slam off a fastball from reliever Fernando Rodney to put his team just two wins away for their second championship in three years.
“I was just trying to hit the ball in the air and drive in a run and I ended up driving in four,” Bregman said.
“What a great team win. We did a great job applying pressure.”
Bregman’s slam was all the sweeter because in Game Three the Nationals chose to walk Michael Brantley in the seventh inning to get to Bregman in a move that paid off for the Nationals when he grounded out.
His teammates said they knew that the intentional walk had gotten under his skin and that he would get his revenge to ensure a Game Six in Houston on Tuesday.
“It’s just one of those moments where you think that he’s going to go off,” said Astros outfielder Josh Reddick.
“Because he’d probably be the most mad guy that would get in that situation to get intentionally walked to him.
“Really, you’re walking that guy to get to me? Hell with that. I think he’s the guy who really lives for those moments.”
The underdog Nationals will look to rebound in Game Five in Washington on Sunday before the series moves back to Houston.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; editing by Tony Lawrence)