Houston Astros prove greatness in World Series win

Mark Keplinger, Sports Editor

astros world series
Jeremy Peña won World Series MVP after a historic performance. (Matthew Tate)

The Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies in six games to win the 2022 World Series. In a highly entertaining series, the Astros once again proved they are the class of the MLB after capturing their second world championship in franchise history. Rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña won World Series MVP while legendary manager Dusty Baker finally secured his elusive World Series ring.

The Astros silenced any doubts in their run to win the American League pennant. They did not lose a single game in the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping both the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. Highlights from these rounds include Yordan Alvarez’s thunderous walk-off home run and an 18 inning pitching duel where only one run was scored all night — with both games against the Mariners.

The Phillies were underdogs the whole season, and, going into the World Series, this was no different. They owed their place in the Fall Classic largely to the offensive brilliance of Bryce Harper and the team’s penchant for come from behind victories.

The Phillies showed their comeback attitude in the first game. The Astros quickly took a 5-0 lead thanks to two home runs from Kyle Tucker in front of a raucous Minute Maid Park in Houston. However, Astros ace Justin Verlander quickly unraveled on the mound and the Phillies quickly tied the game by the fifth. Both teams were shut down through the rest of the nine innings but in the tenth, JT Realmuto’s solo home run gave the visitors a 6-5 lead. Astros hitters were once again stifled in the bottom of the tenth, and the Phillies gained a 1-0 advantage in the series.

Framber Valdez played a large part in righting the ship for the Astros in game two. In his six-and-one-third innings of work, he struck out nine batters against three walks and only gave up one earned run. Offensively for the Astros, the hosts started quickly when Jose Altuve, Peña and Alvarez all doubled in the first four pitches of the game. The Astros scored three runs total in the first and added two more in the fifth when Alex Bregman hit a two run home run.

The Phillies scored two consolation runs late in the game however the Astros prevailed 5-2 as the series moved to Philadelphia.

The Phillies hit their high point in their season in game three. Originally, the game was supposed to take place on Oct. 31, but a rain delay moved the entire World Series back by a day. Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. was shelled in his game three start, as the Phillies launched five home runs against him en route to a 7-0 win.

The momentum completely shifted in game four. Four Astros pitchers — Christian Javier, Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly — all combined to toss a no-hitter. While the Phillies had the life sucked out of their offense, the Astros put up five runs of their own all in the fifth inning.

In a pivotal game five, Verlander returned to the mound for the Astros. The Astros quickly struck in the first to put the team up 1-0; however, Philadelphia immediately responded when Kyle Schwarber launched a home run to tie the game in the bottom of the first. Verlander had a nervous start as he often had traffic along the basepaths in his five innings of work. However, he once again proved his class and repaid his manager’s faith by getting out of those jams every time.

In the fourth inning, Peña’s solo home run gave the Astros a slim 2-1 advantage which they extended to 3-1 in the eighth. However, the Astros lost first baseman Yuli Gurriel to injury and were forced to replace him with Trey Mancini, who has been struggling at the plate all postseason. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Astros setup man Rafael Montero got into trouble with the Phillies able to get a run and having men on first and third with just one out in the inning. Baker called in his closer Ryan Pressly to finish off the game. Pressly struck out Brandon Marsh before facing Schwarber. Schwarber hit a hard hit ground ball. However, a desperate stab by Mancini saved the day for the Astros and retired the hitter.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Astros needed more defensive brilliance. J.T. Realmuto thought his long drive would go for extra base hits, but a leaping grab against the wall by Chas McCormick robbed Realmuto. Pressly then struck-out Nick Castellanos to end the game.

The series returned to Houston with the Astros having the opportunity to clinch the title in front of their fans in game six. Valdez and Phillies counterpart Zach Wheeler both were pitching gems. However in the sixth inning, the game turned on its head. First, Schwarber gave up a solo home run to Schwarber to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Astros were able to get a runner in first and third for their slugger Yordan Alvarez. Alvarez launched his pitch 450 feet to dead center field and into the stands as Minute Maid Park exploded in joy. Christian Vazquez tacked on an extra run later in the inning and soon Astros fans were counting down the outs in joyful anticipation.

Hector Neris and Abreu shut down the seventh and eighth innings respectively for the hosts and Pressly was once again called for the ninth. Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper both flied out, leaving Nick Castellanos as the Phillies last hope. He swung at the first pitch, sending a fly ball into fall territory by the first base side. Tucker and Mancini both ran over, but it was Tucker who made the catch, sealing their glory forever as the Astros won the World Series.

For the Astros, this championship solidifies years of greatness. They will look to build off this win in the spring but for now, they will celebrate a hard-earned and memorable World Series championship.

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