The Houston Astros took a 5-0 lead early in Game 1 with the favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award on the mound – it looked like they would coast the rest of the night.
But they aren’t called the Fightin’ Phils for no reason.
The Philadelphia Phillies scored six unanswered runs to complete the comeback and take Game 1 of the World Series, 6-5.
After Jose Altuve stole second on as bang-bang of a play you’ll ever see, Jeremy Pena blooped one into shallow right-center, but Nick Castellanos laid out to make the catch to save the game and send it to extras. J.T. Realmuto immediately jumped on the opportunity – the catcher launched an opposite field home run to give the Phillies a 6-5 lead.
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But the Phillies’ bullpen still had to get three more outs against the heart of the Astros’ lineup, and it certainly was no easy task.
After David Robertson struck out Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman doubled off the Crawford Boxes to bring up Kyle Tucker, who already had two home runs on the night. The veteran got him swinging, but walked Yuli Gurriel.
With the winning run on base, Aledmys Diaz pinch-hit for Trey Mancini, but a wild pitch moved the runners-up. Diaz was hit by a 2-0 pitch, but he leaned into it, leaving him in the box. Diaz swung and missed on a 3-0 breaking ball, and then grounded out to third to end the game.
The Phillies’ bullpen combined for 5.2 scoreless innings. Who knew their bullpen and defense would be the reasons for victory?
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Aaron Nola and Justin Verlander entered the night as the aces of their respective stats, but they looked like anything but, combining for 10 earned runs on 12 hits and four walks in 9.1 innings.
The first run of the game came in the second inning via a solo home run from Tucker. Soon after, the Astros had runners on the corners with one out, and Martin Maldonado gave Houston a 2-0 lead with an RBI single on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. They were in the same spot an inning later, but they didn’t need more small ball. Instead, Tucker went deep for a second time, making it a 5-0 lead for the Stros.
Verlander retired the first 10 people he faced, and the Astros offense gave him plenty of room for error, but his night turned for the worse really quickly. In the fourth inning, he allowed three runs on back-to-back two-out hits by Castellanos and Alec Bohm (who drove in two with a double). In the fifth, the Phillies put their first two batters on base, and Realmuto drove them both in with a double to tie the game. Verlander now has a 6.07 ERA in eight career World Series starts, dating back to 2006.
The Phillies are riding a magic carpet, and they don’t plan on hopping off any time soon.
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The first pitch of Game 2 will be Saturday night at 8:03 p.m. ET on FOX. Zack Wheeler will take the ball for the Phillies, and it will be Framber Valdez for Houston.