The 25 most decisive plays in World Series history

Oct 24, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; The Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Brett Phillips (14) celebrate Phillips hitting the game winning two run walk off single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game four of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 24, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; The Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) and right fielder Brett Phillips (14) celebrate Phillips hitting the game winning two run walk off single against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the ninth inning in game four of the 2020 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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George Springer watches Howie Kendrick’s home run hit the foul pole in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
George Springer watches Howie Kendrick’s home run hit the foul pole in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

11. Game 7, October 30, 2019. Washington Nationals at Houston Astros

Howie Kendrick vs. Will Harris. Change in Championship Probability: 32.9 percent

By the sixth inning of the concluding game of the 2019 World Series, the Washington Nationals were in serious trouble. Astros ace Zack Greinke had shut out the Nats on just one base hit and one walk, and he was successfully nursing a 2-0 lead.

Even better from Houston’s standpoint, Greinke had not yet burned through 70 pitches. He seemed capable of continuing his domination for at least a few more innings.

As the top of the seventh dawned, the home team’s chance of winning the game and by extension the Series approached 80 percent. Then, very suddenly, everything changed, both for Greinke and the Astros.

Greinke retired Washington’s first batter, Adam Eaton, on an infield grounder. Then on a 1-0 count Greinke missed over the middle of the plate with a fast ball to Anthony Rendon, who deposited it in the Crawford boxes in left. When Greinke followed that by walking Juan Soto, Astros manager A.J. Hinch made what seemed at the time to be the safe choice, replacing Greinke with Will Harris.

Now trailing 2-1, the prospects of a successful Nationals comeback still lagged below 40 percent. But Kendrick, a 35-year-old 14-year veteran in the game as Washington’s designated hitter, was about to change that percentage drastically.

Kendrick swung over Harris’ first pitch, an off-speed breaking ball, then sent Harris next pitch fading deep toward the right field corner. The ball carried just far enough to bang off the bottom of the foul pole for a two-run home run and a 3-2 Washington lead.

By himself, Kendrick had swung the likelihood of a Nats’ Series victory by nearly 33 percent, from just 32 percent to 65 percent. With a corps of Nats relievers shutting down the Astros through their final three at bats, Washington won its first World Series since 1924.