Mandatory Credit: Photo by JASON SZENES/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13607570aj) Houston Astros batter Jeremy Pena reacts as he circles the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the top of the fourth inning of game five of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 03 November 2022. MLB Houston Astros at Philadelphia Phillies, USA – 03 Nov 2022
What started as a best-of-seven series became a best-of-three after four games in the World Series, with Houston bouncing back with a dominant win in Game 4. It created a high-stakes Game 5, where the victor would be one win away from winning the series.
In one of the closest games of this series, the Astros would get a big performance from their rookie shortstop and a heroic save from their closer, coming out on top 3-2 over the Phillies to send Houston back home needing just one more victory for the second world championship in franchise history.
Peña drives in two as Verlander deals with traffic
It seemed as if the Astros were going to capture a big wave of momentum in the top of the first inning, getting on the board after two batters with a Jose Altuve double and Jeremy Peña RBI single. Yet, Noah Syndergaard, with some help from a caught stealing by J.T. Realmuto, would hold the Astros to a 1-0 lead.
That became a 1-1 tie after one batter against Justin Verlander in the bottom of the frame, with Kyle Schwarber taking him deep on the second pitch he saw, knotting the teams up after one inning. After a 1-2-3 top of the second by Houston’s bats, Verlander loaded the bases in the bottom half, giving up a two-out single followed by back-to-back walks, but would strand all three runners with a big strikeout to end the inning.
Verlander dealt with more traffic in the bottom of the third but was able to erase a one-out walk and two-out single to avoid any damage and maintain the 1-1 tie. Peña would give him another lead to work with in the top of the fourth, leading off that inning with a solo homer to end Noah Syndergaard’s night and put Houston ahead 2-1.
Houston continues to turn Philly away
Verlander settled in well after the third, getting a 1-2-3 fourth before striking out four in a row to get him two outs into the fifth. Bryce Harper would break up that streak, getting a double to put the tying run in scoring position, but Verlander would win a ten-pitch battle with Nick Castellanos to get out of the inning, ending the ace’s solid night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 94 P.
With the score still 2-1, Hector Neris would take over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth, facing three batters, allowing a single but retiring the other two. Bryan Abreu would come in to get the third out, despite hitting a batter, to send things to the final three innings.
Astros take Game 5 and the series lead
The Astros had a prime opportunity in the top of the seventh, getting a leadoff double by Yuli Gurriel, who advanced to third on a wild pitch with no outs. Houston would squander the opportunity, with Gurriel getting caught in a rundown for the second out. Abreu returned to the mound in the bottom of the inning, sitting down the heart of Philadelphia’s order 1-2-3.
Houston would cash in on another scoring chance in the top of the eighth. Jose Altuve reached on a leadoff walk, then moved to third on a single by Peña, his third hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez would bring in Altuve on an RBI groundout, extending the lead to two runs.
Rafael Montero was Houston’s next reliever in the bottom of the eighth but struggled to throw strikes, issuing two walks before a one-out RBI single by Jean Segura would make it a 3-2 game. That forced Dusty Baker to bring in Ryan Pressly to escape the jam and try and secure a five-out save.
He did the first part, getting a strikeout and a groundout to strand the two inherited runners and send the one-run game to the ninth. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, with the game still 3-2, Pressly would complete one of the most memorable saves of his career, with a little help from an incredible catch by Chas McCormick, to wrap things up.
News and notes
Back to Houston: After a day off on Friday, the World Series resumes on Saturday at 7:03 p.m. Central from Minute Maid Park for Game 6. Framber Valdez (17-6, 2.82 ERA) will look to repeat what he did in his 6.1 innings, one-run Game 2 win, going against Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA).
More rookie history for Peña: With his solo homer in the fourth inning, Jeremy Peña became the first rookie shortstop to hit a home run in the World Series.
Verlander finally gets his win: In his ninth World Series game, Justin Verlander’s five one-run innings in Game 5 earned him his first-career win in the Fall Classic.