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Houston Astros' Justin Verlander. Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals beat the Houston Astros 12-3 on Wednesday, getting the underdogs a pair of wins in the World Series, The Ringer's Ben Lindbergh reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time all season that Houston aces Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander have taken the loss in back-t0-back games.

  • "In World Series Game 2, a bullpen imploded, but it was not the Nationals'. A lineup produced a double-digit run total, but it was not the Astros'," Lindbergh writes.
Game notes:
  • The 7th inning: The Nats scored six runs in a wacky inning that saw Kurt Suzuki (1-for-23 in October entering the night) blast a no-doubter off Verlander and the Astros issue their very first intentional walk of the year (Juan Soto).
  • Fun fact: Last night was the first time in MLB history that a No. 1 overall pick started a World Series game for the team that drafted him — and Stephen Strasburg delivered.
  • Uh-oh, Houston: Only three teams have lost the first two games of the World Series at home and gone on to win the title (1985 Royals, 1986 Mets, 1996 Yankees).
  • What's next: Game 3 is on Friday in D.C. Anibal Sanchez vs. Zack Greinke.

Inside the clubhouse: "When the Nationals left for Houston on Monday, there were 101 game balls stretching from March 31 to Oct. 15. They formed a mural of team success," write WashPost's Jesse Dougherty and Sam Fortier.

  • "Players often stand in the hallway to look, remembering the most random days of an eight-month sprint."
  • "Now [manager Davey] Martinez will leave here with a fresh pair to shelve [Soto from Game 1, Strasburg from Game 2]. And the Nationals need just two more."

Meanwhile, behind the scenes ... The Astros whiffed on multiple chances to correctly handle the fallout from Brandon Taubman. Now it's MLB's turn and harsh discipline could be coming.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

5 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."