Astros starter Gerrit Cole bounced back from a poor outing in Game 1 of the World Series to pitch his team to their third straight win in the nation's capital and a 3-2 lead over the Nationals. He allowed only one earned run on three hits across seven innings, recording nine strikeouts and walking two.
The Astros will head home with two opportunities to claim their second World Series title in three seasons. Justin Verlander will take the mound against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg in Tuesday night's Game 6.
The Nationals, who have crumbled in the last three games following a 2-0 start to the series, were without ace Max Scherzer on Sunday. Scherzer, who outdueled Cole in the opener, was scratched from his Game 5 start hours before first pitch because of neck and back spasms.
Joe Ross took the mound in place of Scherzer and gave up four earned runs on five hits across five innings. He struck out one and walked two.
Slumping rookie Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Carlos Correa each blasted two-run homers off Ross in the first four innings of the game, giving Houston an early 4-0 lead.
Nationals slugger Juan Soto smacked a solo home run off Cole, cutting Washington's deficit to 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh.
Yuli Gurriel delivered an RBI single in the eighth and George Springer smashed a two-run bomb in the ninth to seal the Astros' 7-1 win.