Nationals edge Astros 5-4 in World Series opener

Houston (AFP) –


Dominican slugger Juan Soto smacked a solo home run and a two-run double to power the Washington Nationals over Houston 5-4 in Tuesday's opening game of the 115th World Series.

The 20-year-old left-fielder drove in the winning run in the fifth inning while left-handed closing reliever Sean Doolittle forced the final four Houston outs for the victory, inflicting the first loss on Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole since May 22.

Washington jumped ahead 1-0 in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven championship final, which continues Wednesday in Houston.

The Nationals have won 17 of their past 19 games, including seven in a row. Game one winners have eventually taken 18 of the prior 22 World Series titles.

Cole, this year's major league strikeout leader, had won 19 straight decisions in his past 25 starts over five months, the longest one-season win streak in MLB history, but he also surrendered the most runs he has since last losing on May 22.

The Astros seek their second title in three seasons while the Nationals, who moved from Montreal to Washington for the 2005 season, chase their first crown and the US capital's first since the Senators captured the 1924 championship.