HOUSTON (AP) — JT Realmuto gave the Phillies a World Series victory with his well-timed hits. A great defensive play by Nick Castellanos made it possible for that last hit to come.
Realmuto hit a tying, two-run double in the fifth inning and a tiebreaking solo homer in the 10th as Philadelphia beat the Houston Astros 6-5 in Game 1 on Friday night.
The Phillies rallied from a five-run deficit in the game and handed Houston its first loss this postseason, on home soil no less. They were also saved by right fielder Castellanos, who slid down to make a big catch.
“In all respects, it was a great game, a great win with a comeback, which just showed the resilience of this club again. We are tough and we never give up,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.
Luis Garcia took the mound in the 10th and Realmuto gave him a cruel welcome, hitting a full-count drive off a 97.5 mph fastball. The ball landed between the seats, behind the right field, to break the equality.
The Astros took a 5-0 lead, largely thanks to two homers by Kyle Tucker in the first three innings. But the Phillies reacted in the fourth and fifth, scoring five times off Justin Verlander to tie it.
Verlander, a two-time Cy Young award-winning star, went without a single win in eight World Series starts.
“I am disappointed, yes, without a doubt. I need to improve. There are no excuses,” Verlander said. “I just need to execute shots better. I think I faced some hitters in good situations and I just couldn’t throw the pitches I wanted to.”
The Phillies are the first team in 20 years to overturn a five-touchdown deficit to win a Fall Classic game.
You can thank Castellanos for this victory. Recognized more for his bat than for his glove, the right fielder ran to get a fly ball from Jeremy Peña, when there were two outs in the ninth inning and a runner in second.
Then came Realmuto’s home run against the Astros, who were 7-0 in these playoffs.
“I thought the hit was solid enough to get the ball out, but then I remembered a play Tucker made to catch a ball hit by (Aaron) Judge,” Realmuto said, referring to what was a near miss by the Yankees slugger. of New York in the second game of the American League Championship Series.
“And once I saw him run into the wall, I thought, ‘No, please don’t catch her.'”
The last catcher to hit an extra-inning home run in the World Series was Carlton Fisk, ending Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against Cincinnati at Fenway Park in the twelfth inning.
Houston got a chance in the 10th when Alex Bregman doubled with one out. After Yuli Gurriel walked two out, David Robertson threw a wild pitch that left runners on second and third.
Another Cuban, pinch-hitter Aledmys Díaz, was later hit by a pitch from David Robertson, on a 2-0 count. But plate umpire James Hoye determined that Diaz had approached the ball with the intention of being hit, and did not allow it to advance to first, which would have filled the bases.
Díaz hit a ground ball with a count of 3-1, to conclude the meeting.
The last team to blow a 5-0 World Series lead was the San Francisco Giants, who in 2002 missed their chance to eliminate the Los Angeles Angels in Game 6.
The Angels were crowned the next game, against a team led by Dusty Baker, who is now a Houston manager.
For the Phillies, Dominican Jean Segura 5-0.
For the Astros, the Venezuelan José Altuve 5-1. The Dominican Jeremy Peña 5-1 with a run scored. Cubans Yordan Álvarez 4-0, Yuli Gurriel 4-2 with a run scored, Aledmys Díaz 1-0. Puerto Ricans Martín Maldonado 3-1 with an RBI, Christian Vázquez 1-0.