JT Realmuto came in the tenth inning and Philadelphia PhyllisSaved by right-hander Nick Castellanos’ slip catch, the Houston Astros edged 6-5 Friday night in the opening game of the World Championships.
After losing 5-0 early to the Astros ace Justin Verlander, Velez became the first team in 20 years to overcome a five-game deficit to win a single cap. World Championship Game.
They can thank Castellanos for the opportunity. Known for his racket more than the gauntlet, he dash to make a superb grab on Jeremy Peña’s foul with two ninth-inning wins and a second-place runner.
“Overall it was a great match, it came from behind the victory and it just showed the club’s resilience again and how strong they are and they never quit,” said Phillies coach Rob Thompson.
Realmuto, who tied Verlander’s double in the fifth game, completed the comeback when he advanced 10th by sending a fast ball from Luis García into the seats in the right field. The 31-year-old became the first catcher to score an extra home run at the World Championships since Carlton Fisk waved his show in the 12th round of Game 6 in the 1975 series against Cincinnati at Fenway Park.
Big-hit Bryce Harper added two Phillies singles on his World Championship debut.
Kyle Tucker twice finished for the Astros, who were 7-0 in this post-season.
“Disappointed, yeah, sure,” Verlander said. “I need to do a better job. No excuses.”
Houston had a chance at 10th when Alex Bergman doubled by one. After Yuli Gouriel equalized a walk with two exits, David Robertson rebounded on unruly ground that put the runners in second and third.
Aledmys Díaz then sustained a discus-hitter at 2-0 from Robertson – but board referee James Howe ruled that Díaz bowed to the field and did not allow him to go first to load the bases. Diaz came off the field 3-1 to finish it.
The last team to excel 5-0 at the World Series was the 2002 San Francisco Giants, who squandered their chance in Game Six to lock down the Angels and win the title under coach Dusty Baker. Becker saw it happen again this time as the Astros manager, with the same 6-5 final score.
The Astros, who have had 106 wins, have not lost to anyone since Philadelphia beat them on Oct 3 behind Aaron Nola to clinch a spot on the wildcard as the third-placed team and earn their first playoff in 11 years.
Houston raced to a breakthrough thanks in large part to my teammates Tucker. But Velez came back again as Verlander once again struggled in the World Championships.
He was excellent as he went 5-0 up in fourth, and came out after fifth with five points. That left him 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight career World Championship starts – barely a streak of a bowler who is soon expected to take home his third Cy Young award.
The Astros fell to 0-5 in the World Championship Openers and dropped their first match in this post-season after being swept into the AL Division and AL Championship Series.
Seranthony Domínguez provided a goalless ninth to claim the win when Castellanos racked up another chance in the excellent ninth inning this season, this one is definitely a saving game.
With Jose Altov in second base after his singles and lobbed base, Peña hit a ball that went off the bat at 68 mph and only went about 200 feet. Castellanos ran a long run, then made a lunge by catching the first inning as he slid across the floor.
In the opening game of the NL Division Series against Atlanta, Castellanos led three runs and helped maintain the lead with a somewhat similar catch in the ninth of that 7-6 win.
At their fourth World Championship in six years – and after losing to Atlanta in six games last year – these stars are looking to give Becker their first title as coach and secure their second title after winning it in 2017, a title tainted by a Signal theft scandal.
Velez, who has two titles, won the world championships for the first time since 2009. They bounced back from a 21-29 start that fired manager Joe Girardi with a 66-46 finish to reach the playoffs. They won the eighth pennant by fielding the San Diego Padres in five NLCS games under Thompson.
Tucker captured the orangey house crowd early on as he became the first player in franchise history with a multi-house game in the World Championships. He was one of the few players in the major leagues to hit big without gloves on and suddenly show the situation, and he had four RBIs a year after he finished Fall Classic without one.
The usually mild-mannered Tucker permeated his first home with an elegant bat heart and mixed in an expletive while yelling toward the bunker as he started his trot.
Nola played a perfect seventh inning game on his last trip to Minute Maid Park, more than three weeks ago when Philadelphia earned its first playoff game since 2011. Things didn’t go nearly smoothly on his comeback on Friday.
Tucker sent a pitch off the pace from NOLA elevated to the seats in the right field to put Houston ahead 1-0 with no difference per second. Gurriel, Chas McCormick, and Martín Maldonado added singles for another tour.
Pena, the ALCS MVP, doubled to open third for Houston before Jordan Alvarez was gone. It was initially ruled safe, but the Phyllis defied the call, and it was overturned.
Bregman, who was Nola’s roommate at LSU, walked in before Tucker dipped in again, hitting a ball in the stands behind the Bulls in the center right to extend it to 5-0.
Verlander, who had an MLB ERA best 1.75 in the regular season, allowed six strokes and five runs in five rounds. Join Roger Clemens as the only bowler in Major League history to have started the World Championship in three different decades, but still couldn’t claim the elusive World Championship win. Friday was his 12th career start in a post-season inaugural series, linking him to John Lester for the most people in MLB history.
Verlander, who started his third opening game, retired from the first 10 strikes before Rhys Hoskins singled out one in the fourth. Harper and Castellanos scored in one round and Alec Bohm scored twice in the second half to close the gap to 5-3.
Brandon Marsh opened the fifth with a double before Kyle Schwarber walked in. Realmuto sent them both home with a double of the wall in the center left to tie it to the 5-all.
Nola allowed six strokes and five runs in four and third rounds.
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