2022-10-30 · 4 min read · MLB/Baseball
J. T. Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies

Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports | Yong Kim/Inquirer

Cruising through three innings thanks to two Kyle Tucker home runs and a Martin Maldonaldo RBI single, Justin Verlander started the top of the fourth for Houston up 5-0 - a 93.4% win probability for the Astros, according to MLB Stats.
A Kyle Schwarber flyout began the inning, followed by a Rhys Hoskins single and a J.T. Realmuto lineout. A man on second and two out, Verlander was one pitch away getting out of it - but the wheels came off instead. Bryce Harper singled to right, sending Hoskins to third, followed by an RBI single by Nick Castellanos to make it 5-1. On the very next pitch, Verlander hung a curveball that Alec Bohm ripped for a two-run double to tighten the score further. A 10-pitch walk to Bryson Stott brough Jean Segura up as the go-ahead run, but a popup ended the inning.
All told, Houston now led 5-3 - a 75.8% win probability, through three-and-a-half innings. Twelve Aaron Nola pitches later though, and the Phillies were back on the bats.
Now in the top of the fifth, with Verlander still on the mound, J.T. Realmuto was back up at the plate with two on - a double by Brandon Marsh and a Kyle Schwarber walk - and nobody out. After a fastball fouled off, the Phillies’ catcher whacked another hanging curveball for a two-run double. Now 5-5, Houston - in the span of two innings - blew a 5-0 lead with their ace on the mound.
In fairness to Verlander, he did last longer than Nola. The Phillies’ starter lasted only 4 ⅓ innings in comparison to Verlander’s 5, with neither being remotely as dominant as they’ve been for the past six months. Regardless, the battle of the bullpens commenced. The Astros escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, with Hector Neris striking out Castellanos to end the inning. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, ALCS MVP Jeremy Pena came inches away from walking it off for the ‘Stros, with a miraculous sliding catch in right field from the aforementioned Castellanos ending the would-have-been-game-winning rally Houston put together.
Less than ten minutes later, who else but J.T. Realmuto led off the 10th inning, and worked Luis Garcia to full count. On Garcia’s sixth pitch, Realmuto drove a fastball over the right field wall - Philadelphia’s first lead of the night. A combination of Garcia and Ryne Stanek managed to escape the inning without any more damage, though it wouldn’t end up mattering.
Philly’s 37-year-old ‘don’t call me a closer’ David Robertson was on the mound for the bottom of the tenth, and - after a tumultuous few batters - got Aledmys Diaz to ground out with the tying run on third to end the game.
Four-and-a-half hours after first pitch of Game 1 of the World Series, Houston has - for the first time this postseason - lost a game. A thrilling one at that, though the Astros are now set to face Zack Wheeler in Game 2 tonight who will oppose lefty Framber Valdez. First pitch flies at 8:03pm on Fox.
Philadelphia will look to take a 2-0 series lead back home when Game 3 kicks off at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, while Houston will try to dig themselves out of their self-made hole.
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By: Gus Cousins


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