The Houston Astros won the franchise’s second World Series title on Saturday after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park.
Both starting pitchers were trading zeros through the first five innings. The Phillies got the scoring started in the top of the sixth inning with a Kyle Schwarber solo home run off Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez, who was able to limit the damage before being pulled after the sixth. Valdez finished with nine strikeouts and only allowed two hits and a run.
After allowing two baserunners, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler was pulled from the game with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Phillies relief pitcher Jose Alvarado gave up a three-run home run to Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez to give Houston the lead. Houston would tack on one more run on a Christian Vazquez single.
Astros closer Ryan Pressly came in to close out the game and make sure the home crowd in Houston went home celebrating a World Series victory.
Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena was named the World Series MVP. Pena becomes the first ever rookie position player in MLB history to win the award, according to the league.
After falling behind 2-1 through the first three games of the World Series, Houston evened up the series after throwing a combined no-hitter in Game 4. Game 5 saw Astros ace Justin Verlander collect his long-awaited first career World Series victory after pitching five innings with six strikeouts and giving up one run.
Astros manager Dusty Baker can now add World Series champion to his impressive resume.
When asked if the win has “hit” him yet, Baker said, “it hit me alright.”
“It hit me soon as that ball – Yordan hit one over the moon out there. That’s when it hit me,” Baker added.
Baker was also asked what has been the most enjoyable part of the run for him, which he quickly responded that the answer hasn’t “sunk in yet” but called the team the “greatest bunch of guys.”
“They told me in spring training that they were going to win,”Baker said. “Now, what’s next? Party!”
The Astros’ win was the first time since 2013 that a team claimed the title at its home field. And Minute Maid Park hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for the team.
Houston has twice stumbled since the team’s first title in 2017. The Astros appeared in the Fall Classic in 2019 against the Washington Nationals and 2021 versus the Atlanta Braves, both resulting in losses.
The team’s 2017 victory came with a lot of questions and controversy.
Following the win, Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane fired then-manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after the MLB had suspended them both for a season without pay for a sign-stealing scandal.
Major League Baseball found the club illegally created a system that decoded and communicated the opposing teams’ pitching signs during their 2017 championship season.
The team forfeited its regular first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts and paid a $5 million fine.
The Astros kept their title – but, to many non-Houston fans, it remains shrouded in scandal.
For Philadelphia, the loss results in heartbreak as the franchise was seeking its first championship since 2008. The city was dealt a double blow Saturday as the Philadelphia Union lost in penalties to Los Angeles FC in the 2022 MLS Cup Final earlier in the afternoon.