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Fernando Rodney becomes oldest World Series relief pitcher in 32 years

On Wednesday, Washington Nationals' reliever Fernando Rodney became the oldest pitcher to come out of the bullpen in the World Series in 32 years.
Credit: AP
Washington Nationals relief pitcher Fernando Rodney throws during the eighth inning of Game 3 of the baseball National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

HOUSTON — Fernando Rodney is 42 years and 219 days old.

And on Wednesday, the Washington Nationals reliever managed to make some history.

Brought in to relieve starter Stephen Strasburg after six innings of work, the right-handed Rodney became the oldest pitcher to come out of the bullpen in a World Series game in 32 years. The last time a player older than Rodney came in on relief in the Fall Classic was in 1987, when Joe Niekro tossed two innings for the Minnesota Twins.

He is also the oldest player to appear in a World Series game since Jamie Moyer (45 years old) did so in 2008.

While Rodney wasn't inserted into the game until the seventh inning, he began warming up in the bottom of the sixth as Strasburg found himself in a jam. After allowing a one-out double to Yuli Gurriel, the Nationals intentionally walked Yordan Alvarez, giving the Astros two base-runners with only one out. Strasburg, however, was able to force Carlos Correa into a pop out before striking out a pinch-hitting Kyle Tucker, escaping the jam unscathed and with the score still tied at 2-2.

Credit: AP
Houston Astros take batting practice for baseball's World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. The Houston Astros face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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A half-inning later, Washington catcher Kurt Suzuki hit a solo home run off of Justin Verlander to start what would become a 6-run inning for the Nationals, who took an 8-2 lead before manager Dave Martinez turned the ball over to Rodney in the bottom of the 7th.

After winning Game 1 by a score of 5-4, the Nationals can head back to Washington for Games 3, 4 and (potentially) 5 with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series if Rodney and the rest of the team's relief staff can hold on for the final three innings.