Jeremy Pea blasted the game-winning home run, and the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead. Justin Verlander overcame an early setback to earn the World Series victory that had eluded him for years.
The 2017 championship was marred by a controversy, but Trey Mancini and Chas McCormick’s late defensive heroics propelled the Astros to the brink of a second championship. They can conclude the game on Saturday evening at Minute Maid Park.
Pea’s run-scoring single gave Houston the lead against Noah Syndergaard after only four pitches. Then, Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber began the bottom half with a home drive, recalling the five-run lead Verlander squandered in Houston’s opening 6-5, 10-inning loss.
Pea got three hits, including a run-scoring single in the first and a run-scoring single in the eighth that paved the way for Yordan Alvarez’s run-scoring groundout. He thwarted the Phillies with a leaping catch at shortstop in the third inning, then reclaimed the lead with his fourth postseason home run in the fourth. He is the only rookie shortstop to have hit a home run in the World Series.
In the eighth inning, following Jean Segura’s RBI single with one out off Rafael Montero, Ryan Pressly escaped a first-and-third jam by striking out Brandon Marsh and Kyle Schwarber on a nearly 100 mph one-hopper that Mancini caught over first base.
Mancini, the backup first baseman, pinch hit in the first inning after 2021 Gold Glove winner Yuli Gurriel injured his right knee in a collision during a rundown. He played defense for the first time since the conclusion of the regular season, slipping into foul area and reaching back with his left foot to touch the bag on Schwarber’s hit.
McCormick assisted Pressly in closing out a five-out save. On J.T.’s fly ball, the center fielder sprinted 91 feet and made a diving backhand catch against the chain-link fence in front of the scoreboard in right-center. Realmuto bats second in the ninth inning.
McCormick stated, “I believed he had a home run”
Nick Castellanos grounded to shortstop after Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch, concluding a 3-hour and 57-minute drama.
The winner of Game 5 in prior Series tied 2-2 has won 31 of 47 occasions.
Verlander is one of the remaining five Astros who were caught using video to steal signs in 2017. He was 0-6 with an ugly 6.07 ERA in eight Series starts dating back to his rookie year with the Tigers in 2006, a blemish on the career of the 244-game winner who will likely win his third Cy Young Award this season.
The 39-year-old right-handed pitcher allowed just one run and four hits over five innings, with four walks and six strikeouts, including four in a row in the fourth and fifth innings. He brought the Series ERA down to 5.63.
Astros pitchers struck out 12 batters, bringing their total for two games to 26.
Philadelphia suffered its first consecutive postseason losses. Following the postponement of Game 3, the Phillies modified their plans and donned vintage powder blue jerseys in the World Series for the first time since 1983.
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