Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI/Shutterstock (13607808b) Houston Astro Jose Altuve (27) congratulates center fielder Chas McCormick after the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 in game five of the 2022 World Series at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Thursday, November 3, 2022. The Astros take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. 2022 World Series, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States – 04 Nov 2022
What an experience the Astros had in Philadelphia, and now they’re returning to Houston with an opportunity to win their second World Series in six years.
After splitting the first two games at Minute Maid Park, the Astros and Phillies moved to Citizens Bank Park for the next three games. The Phillies wanted to end the Series at home and avoid a return trip to Houston.
The Phillies were supposed to be invincible at The Bank, where they were undefeated in the playoffs. Their fans received almost as much attention in the media as their best player, Bryce Harper.
The mystique of The Bank must have been in play for Game 3. The Astros lost 7-0 when Lance McCullers Jr. allowed five home runs, but they rebounded impressively in Game 4, winning 5-0 and throwing the second no-hitter in World Series history to even the Series.
Winning Game 5 was imperative because teams with a 3-2 advantage have won the World Series 70 percent of the time.
The Astros accomplished their mission, silencing the crowd with incredible pitching, clutch hitting and two game-saving defensive plays by first baseman Trey Mancini and centerfielder Chas McCormick in the eighth and ninth innings that ignited them to a 3-2 victory.
Thursday night’s conquest of the Phillies put Dusty Baker one step closer to winning his first World Series as a manager. It also put Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale one step closer to winning $75 million on his $10 million bet.
“There’s going to be a lot of energy in our park,” Baker said. “It’s the same as almost every day — it’s in the hands of the pitcher. However your pitcher pitches, it gives you a chance to win the game.”
The Astros can win their first World Series that isn’t tarnished by the 2017 cheating scandal. Framber Valdez, who was excellent in the Game 2 victory, is on the mound for Game 6 on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. If necessary, Game 7 will be Sunday when McCullers is expected to start on full rest.
Justin Verlander, who’s expected to opt out of his $25 million contract and become a free agent, may have been in his last game with the Astros. He allowed a lead-off home run to Kyle Schwarber and worked the first five innings and won the first World Series game of his Hall of Fame career. Ryan Pressly, pitching on a third consecutive night, earned the second five-out save of his career – his first in the playoffs.
McCormick, a Philadelphia native who grew up attending games at The Bank, made an outstanding catch in the ninth inning. After Rhys Hoskins struck out, J.T. Realmuto hit a towering drive to right-center field. McCormick leaped, banged against the wall and made the tremendous catch.
After Pressly hit Bryce Harper, the game ended when Nick Castellanos grounded out to Jeremy Pena, who had a team-high three hits, including a fourth-inning solo home run that gave the Astros a 2-1 lead.
The Astros scored what proved to be the winning run in the eighth. Jose Altuve led off with a walk and went to third on Pena’s single. Then, the Phillies did something fatal the Astros were able to avoid – blow a play in the field.
Yordan Alvarez hit a grounder to Hoskins at first base. With Altuve racing for home, Hoskins charged the ball and took his eye off it, allowing Altuve to score for a 3-1 lead.
Before McCormick’s magnificent play, Trey Mancini — playing in place of the injured Yuli Gurriel — ended the eighth inning by fielding Schwarber’s screaming line drive down the line and stepping on the bag for a third out to protect a 3-2 lead. It was the first time Mancini played in the field since Oct. 5.
Gurriel was injured in a sixth-inning rundown between third and home on an awkward tag by Hoskins. The Astros said he left the game because of “right knee discomfort.” He’ll get treatment the next two days and see how he feels Saturday night.