Astros' bats break through as history unfolds

November 3rd, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- It was a “pass-the-baton type of inning,” as Alex Bregman described the five-run outburst that took a back seat to history on a memorable Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park, a rally that showcased all the necessary ingredients for the Astros to reclaim control of this World Series.

Bregman’s two-run double highlighted a frame that saw Houston bat around while knocking out starter Aaron Nola and providing all the offense for starter Cristian Javier and three relievers to celebrate a 5-0 win over the Phillies and the second no-hitter (first combined) tossed in a Fall Classic.

“Guys were putting together good at-bats, swinging at pitches that were good pitches to hit,” Bregman said. “Each guy was not trying to do too much, just staying within themselves.”

The Astros’ offense had been slumbering to that point, having been held scoreless in 16 consecutive innings. Chas McCormick, Jose Altuve and Jeremy Peña opened the frame with singles, chasing Nola, who scattered seven hits in a 67-pitch effort.

“We just wanted to put up better at-bats,” McCormick said. “Yesterday we were swinging at a lot of things and we didn’t put that much pressure on them. We needed that. When we pass the baton to each other, each at-bat, that’s how you get runs going. We had bases loaded, no outs and we put up some runs.”

Phillies left-hander José Alvarado drilled Yordan Alvarez in the rear end with his first pitch, a 99.2 mph sinker, forcing in Houston’s first run. It may not have been pretty, but it was a sign of good things to come for the Astros: Houston is 13-0 all time in the postseason when Alvarez has an RBI.

Down in the count 0-2, Bregman sliced a 100.7 mph fastball to right field, chasing home Altuve and Peña. Kyle Tucker lifted a fly ball to left field for a sacrifice fly, making it a 4-0 game, with Bregman advancing to third base.

“Anyone in our lineup can hit a homer, but it’s not the only way to win,” Tucker said. “We put up quality at-bats, work walks … a sac fly, anything to get a run in. Runs are hard to come by in the playoffs. There’s a lot of really good arms out there. So anything we can do out there to put up a quality at-bat, we’re going to try to do.”

Yuli Gurriel cashed the fifth run with a hard single through the left side of the infield, continuing a strong postseason that has seen Gurriel go 47 plate appearances without striking out, closing in on Joey Cora’s AL/NL postseason record of 51.

“Contact is huge in the World Series,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “I have faith in Yuli, because Yuli's been on the world stage even before he got here. You're on the world stage in Cuba; anybody that's ever been to Cuba, you’ve got to play to eat.”

Thanks in part to that heavy inning -- and the nine gems spun by Javier and company -- the Astros have trimmed the World Series to a best-of-three, with home-field advantage on their side.

“We scored the five runs; that gave Cristian and all the boys that came after him a good chance to win the game like we did tonight,” Altuve said. “That’s what we were looking to do; win the game and tie the Series. Tomorrow is probably the most important game in the Series for both teams, so we’re going to go out there and try to make it happen.”