November 3, 2022

World Series 5: Astros 3, Phillies 2

Astros   - 100 100 010 - 3  9  0 
Phillies - 100 000 010 - 2 6 1
The Phillies had plenty of men on base in Game 5 on Thursday night, but came up short again and again and again when it came to a big hit that would bring in some runs. They ended up leaving 12 men on base, stranding at least one runner in seven of the nine innings. That inability to seize numerous opportunities allowed the Astros to grab a 3-2 win -- and a 3-2 lead in the series.

Justin Verlander (5-4-1-4-6, 94) grinded out five innings and was credited with the first World Series win of his 17-year career (his ninth WS start). "It wasn't easy. It was a lot of work." 

The Astros will head home with two chances to win the coveted Piece of MetalÔ. Game 6 will be on Saturday night, with a possible Game 7 on Sunday night (both at 8 PM ET).

The last team to clinch the World Series in its home ballpark was the 2013 Red Sox. Each of the last seven WS winners have clinched on the road, the longest streak of road clinches in history.

The Astros struck quickly against Phillies starter Noah Syndergaard (3-3-2-0-4, 44). Jose Altuve doubled on the second pitch of the game to deep right-center. Brandon Marsh misplayed the carom and then bobbled the ball, allowing Altuve to go to third. With the infild in, Jeremy Pena grounded a single to th eleft of shortstop and into left-center, and Houston led 1-0. Yordan Alvarez struck out into a double play, as Pena was thrown out trying to steal second. Alex Bregman struck out to end the inning.

In the home half, Kyle Schwarber homered on verlander's second pitch and the game was tied 1-1. Bryce Harper, who was on base four times, walked with two outs, but was stranded.

The Phillies tried to get something going with two outs in the second. Jean Segura singled to left and Verlander walked both Marsh and Schwarber (on five pitches each). The bases were loaded for Rhys Hoskins, but he struck out on a slider out of the zone; it was the first of four strikeouts, prompting MLB Errors to ask: "Why does Rhys Hoskins bat second in this lineup?").

In the third, Harper (again) walked with one out and Alex Bohm singled with two out, but Bryson Stott flied out to right. (Jayson Stark noted that this was Harper's first multi-walk game since September 25, nearly six weeks ago. "He has totally been in swing mode through this postseason")

The Astros had gone in order in both the second and third innings, but Pena began the fourth with a home run to left (the first rookie shortstop to homer in World Series history). Connor Brogdon came out of the pen and got three strikeouts, but he also gave up a loud one-out double to Bregman that nearly cleared the wall in left. Yuri Gurriel struck out to end the inning. It was his first strikeout of this postseason. He had gone 48 plate appearances without a K, the third-longest streak in history, behind Joey "the Weasel" Cora (51 PAs in 1995) and David "The Grittiest Gritter That Ever Gritted A Grit" Eckstein (50 PAs in 2006).

In two innings of work, Brogdon struck out five, tying Bob Turley (1955) and Kenta Maeda (2018) for the second-most whiffs in a two-inning stint. Todd Worrell fanned six in two innings in Game 5 of the 1985 World Series.

Verlander pitched a clean fourth and gave up a hard-hit double to Harper with two away in the fifth. The exit velocity was measured at 115.3 mph, the hardest ball hit off Verlander in all season. Nick Castellanos saw 10 pitches (and fouled off five of them) before Verlander got him on a pop-up to to left. Verlander threw 27 pitches in what was his last inning.

Philadelphia's Jose Alvarado allowed a leadoff single to Altuve in the sixth and he hit Bregman with two outs, but he escaped any harm.

Bohm greeted Hector Neris by whacking a single to right. Bryan Abreu came in with two outs and hit Marsh in the left knee, but got Schwarber on a grounder to second.

The Astros threatened again in the seventh. Gurriel doubled off Seranthony Dominguez to open the inning and went to third on a wild pitch. Chas McCormick grounded to third. The infield was in and Gurriel was (for some reason) heading down the line towards the plate. He was tagged out 5-2-6-3 in a rundown and got hit in the head by Hoskins's knee for his trouble.

The Phillies went in order in the seventh and the Astros increased their lead in the eighth. Dominguez walked Altuve and allowd a single to Pena. David Robertson came in and got Alvarez to ground to first. Hoskins moved towards the ball like he wanted to come home with a throw, but the ball hit off the heel of his glove. He recovered and was able to tag Alvarez, but Altuve scored. Robertson issued an eight-pitch walk to Bregman and gave up a loud shot to right by Kyle Tucker. It looked like the ball might sail over Castellanos's head, but he ran back and reached up with a little leap and snared the ball. Trey Mancini batted for Gurriel and struck out.

Now down by two, the Philles faced Rafael Montero in the bottom of the eighth. Castellanos worked a walk, even though Montero might have been given a gift strike two by plate umpire Jordan Baker. Montero got ahead of Bohm 1-2 on three high pitches (including two fouls), then went a bit away and got him swinging and missing. Stott looked at four balls and took first base. Segura punched a single to right, scoring Castellanos, cuutting the Astros' lead to 3-2.

Segura's hit was the first hit off the Astros bullpen in this postseason with a runner at third and/or second. They had faced 188 batters before Segura stepped in.

Astros manager Dusty Baker called on closer Ryan Pressly, who came in having thrown 8.1 scoreless postseason innings. Marsh (0-for-7 vs Pressly with four strikeouts) was his first batter -- and he was overmatched, fouling off two sliders and missing a third. Schwarber was expected to fare a bit better, veen though he was 0-for-6 against Pressly, with two walks. Down 1-2, he smoked a hot, low grounder down the first base line. Mancini, playing in the field for the first time since October 5, was right there, scooping up the ball at the bag.

Houston had two sngles in the ninth, but the Phillies got out of trouble thanks to a brilliant double play turned by Bohm. Altuve grounded to the Philadelphia third baseman, who grabbed the ball, took four or five steps to the bag, forced the runner, and fired a cross-body throw across the diamond to nip Altuve at first.

Then it was do or die time, with the Phillies 2-3-4 hitters coming up. Pressly kept the ball low to Hoskins, who fouled off the first four pitches and took a ball. Then Pressly went up with a fastball at the top of the zone and Hoskins fanned. J.T. Realmuto cranked a 1-1 pitch to deep right-center. McCormick tracked it from center, timing his leap at the wall perfectly, reaching up as far as he could, and catching the ball as he slammed into the wire fencing. He fell to the warning track, landing on his back, but made sure to hold his glove up.

Two outs! 

Pressly hit Harper in the front foot with his 2-1 pitch and Castellanos stood in as the potential winning run. He flailed at a low slider and fouled off a pitch right down the middle. Pressly then missed low and away with three pitches: slider, curve, and changeup, bouncing the last two in the dirt. He came in with an another slider, over the plate, but a bit up, and Castellanos hit it to Pena. The shortstop's throw was on target and the Astros were one win away from a title.

Pressly's five outs were the second-most outs he has recorded in save in either the regular season or postseason. He had a two-inning save on May 6, 2021.

This is kind of nuts. Sarah Langs tweeted:
"There have been 3 postseason no-hitters and the team that was no-hit led off the next game with a HR TWICE
Tonight Phillies
2010 NLDS G2 Reds (also at CBP!)"

"The Phillies are the 6th team in MLB history to hit a leadoff HR the game after being no-hit, including postseason
it actually happened after the OTHER PS no-no here, too!
2010 NLDS G2 CIN
4/29/03 SF
9/12/91 SD
7/4/70 OAK
9/19/68 SF
h/t @EliasSports"

Since Schwarber did not actually "le[a]d off the next game", but led off the first inning for his team, in the bottom of the first because his team was playing at home, it would be far more accurate to say "the team that was no-hit had their first batter in the next game hit a home run".

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