A scene from earlier in the World Series. It didn't work out this year for the Astros.

Image: Marco Torres

Zack Greinke was masterful, dealing through six innings. He was getting easy ground outs, never exhausting himself, barely even throwing a strikeout because that would've been too much work. This was Greinke's game, and with Yuli Gurriel homering in the second inning, and Carlos Correa singling home Gurriel in the fifth, it seemed he needed nothing more. Ready that parade float and inscribe this Game 7 of the 2019 World Series on Greinke's Cooperstown plaque.

Then came the seventh inning. It'll be talked about forever—whether or not manager A.J. Hinch should've brought in Gerrit Cole after a one-out Anthony Rendon home run and Juan Soto walk. Or, heck, whether or not Greinke should've stayed in the game, since he had only thrown 80 pitches. The debate will rage on, but the fact is that Greinke was out, Will Harris was in, and just as quickly, a Howie Kendrick home run gave the Washington Nationals a lead they would never squander.

The Nationals won the World Series, four games to three, with a 6-2 triumph in Game 7 at Minute Maid Park. For the Nats, it's their first championship. For the 'Stros, the pain will rank up there with Game 5 of the 1980 National League Championship Series, Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS, and Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS. Heck, it'll be above all of them.

This was pure heartbreak.

You think about the runs that could've scored, the big hits that never came. You think about that seventh inning—could it have gone differently? You think about this crazy series—couldn't they have won just one game at home? And the more you think, the more heartbreaking it all seems.

The Astros won 107 games in 2019—a historic season. They vanquished the Tampa Bay Rays in a tense American League Division Series, then emerged victorious over the New York Yankees in a championship series that ended with one of the most iconic home runs in franchise history. 

Ultimately, and it may take a few years, you'll smile when you see Jose Altuve's blast in Game 6 of the ALCS. And you may think about what could've been.

But that's for later. This one hurts. Zack Greinke was outstanding, and the season was something, but this one hurts.

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