As the Houston Astros have faced the Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series, their franchise history has intertwined with that of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though, it initially began on a negative note as the Nationals took a 2-0 series lead.
They did so by defeating Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in consecutive games at Minute Maid Park. The vaunted right-handers therefore joined famed Dodgers Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax as a duo of 20-game winners to lose Games 1 and 2 of a World Series.
Cole and Verlander are the first in MLB history to suffer that fate at home. But if there’s any solace, Drysdale and Koufax were instrumental in the Dodgers coming back to win the 1965 World Series, and now Cole Verlander are in similar position.
After Houston climbed back into the series by winning Game 3, they relied on a bullpen game Saturday that was started by Jose Urquidy. The 24-year-old rookie appeared in just three games (one start) this season but hardly appeared fazed by the moment.
In doing so Urquidy joined Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela as the only Mexican-born starting pitchers to win a World Series game.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 27, 2019
Urquidy was provided a 2-0 lead before taking the mound and he proceeded to hold the Nationals to just two hits while collecting four strikeouts over five scoreless innings. His removal earned Astros manager A.J. Hinch some criticism, but the bullpen managed to limit the damage.
The Astros signed Urquidy in March 2015, out of Mazatlan, Mexico. He became the team’s first rookie to start in the World Series and just the third Mexican-born pitcher all-time to hold the honor.
Prior to Urquidy, the last Mexican hurler to start in the Fall Classic was Jamie Garcia for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
Valenzuela’s first opportunity in the World Series also came as a rookie — albeit one with a higher profile than Urquidy. The left-hander started against the New York Yankees in Game 3 and though he allowed four runs on nine hits and seven walks, still got through a complete game to help the Dodgers to a win.
It sparked L.A. to a backdoor sweep after they dropped the first two games, resulting in the Dodgers’ first of two championships during the 1980s.