Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki reacts to his homer off Justin Verlander in Game 2 of the World Series
Suffice to say, Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki had not been enjoying himself during the 2019 postseason.
Entering Game 2 of the World Series, Suzuki was just 1-for-23 during Washington’s miraculous playoff run. To make matters worse, Suzuki was drilled in the wrist by Los Angeles Dodgers starter Walker Buehler during Game 5 of the NLDS, and the 36-year-old was taking a beating behind the plate.
However, Suzuki redeemed himself in a major way on Wednesday night. With the score tied, Suzuki led off the top of the seventh inning against Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander.
Suzuki mashed a 1-0 fastball into the seats in left field, breaking the deadlock and giving the Nationals momentum as Washington went on to score six runs in the inning. The onslaught stunned the crowd at Minute Maid Park as the Nationals went on to win 12-3 and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
The beleaguered catcher told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he was in shock as he rounded the bases.
“I was floating,” he said.
“I was like, ‘No way, I just hit a home run in the World Series off of Verlander,” Suzuki said. “I’ve obviously faced him a lot. I know him. But I was like, ‘Tie game, too? You’ve got to be kidding me right now.’”
Fittingly enough, Suzuki was hitting 14-for-42 lifetime against Verlander, and he tallied two hits on Wednesday night, including the go-ahead homer.
The Nationals offense has clicked into high gear over the course of the past seven games, but Suzuki–who hit 17 homers and posted an .809 OPS during the regular season–can add an extra level of depth at the bottom of the order when he is in a groove.