On Saturday, Nov. 5, the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2022 World Series Championship in Game 6.
This is the Astros’ second consecutive title after their 2017 cheating scandal, where MLB Investigations discovered that the team had used a hidden camera in center field to steal signs and signal their hitters on which pitches to expect by banging on a garbage can. Consequently, according to the Guardian, they lost manager AJ Hinch, general manager Jeff Luhnow, and all credibility. Making matters worse, no players were penalized, and the club was only fined $5 million — even though it makes $338 million a year. From the tainted crown to the continuous World Series appearances, this made them one of the most hated teams in the Major Leagues.
But their cheating days and doubts have finally been dismissed after beating the Phillies in a fair game, helping newly appointed manager Dusty Baker win a Championship title. According to Fox Sports, Baker has been a manager for 25 years and is 73 years old, making him the oldest and third Black manager to win a World Series trophy.
He’s not the only person smiling because of this Championship title. Astros superfan Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale won a historic $75 million payout after he bet $10 million on the team earlier this year.
The match-up against the Phillies started in heated back-to-back wins until the Astros finally broke free in Game 5. In Game 1, Philadelphia won in extra-innings when catcher J.T. Realmuto hit a home run over the Minute Maid Stadium right-field wall, winning 6-5. The Phillies became the first team in 20 years to win a World Series game after a five-run deficit.
In Game 2, the Astros fired back with heat against the Phils’ pitching staff. According to MLB, Zack Wheeler’s first pitch was lined to the left for a double from second baseman Jose Altuve. The second was hit past third base for another double by shortstop Jeremy Peña. The fourth pitch permitted another by designated hitter Yordan Alvarez. By the fifth inning, the Astros led by 5-0 after another two-run by third baseman Alex Bregman, and that was Wheeler’s last inning on the mound.
Houston’s Framber Valdez mastered his breaking ball, saving the team from another upset as he only limited them to one hit in 11-at-bats. Although the Phillies managed to get another run off Astros pitcher Ryan Pressly, it wasn’t enough effort as Houston made things even.
In Game 3, with the series split 1-1, the competition moved to the Citizens Bank Park, where about 46,000 fans packed the stands. After the rain postponed the game on Halloween night, the loud and energized fans quickly returned to the ballpark to watch their home team defeat the Astros 7-0. The Phillies made MLB history as their starting five players each scored a home run: designated hitter Bryce Harper, third baseman Alec Bohm, center fielder Brandon Marsh, left fielder Kyle Schwarber and first baseman, Rhys Hoskins. Unlucky night for Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who became the first pitcher in World Series and postseason history to allow five home runs.
In Game 4, the Fightin’ Phils led the series 2-1 and needed two more wins to secure the title. But the Astros completely shut down that idea in another historical fashion as the bullpen pulled a World Series no-hitter. Astros pitchers Ryan Pressly, Cristian Javier, Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero shifted the momentum of the best-of-seven series. They produced the first combined no-hitter since New York Yankee Don Larsen’s 1956 perfect game.
In the fifth, consecutive singles from left fielder Chas McCormick, Altuve and Peña loaded the bases against Phillies’ Aaron Nola. Instead of allowing Nola to continue, Phillies manager, Rob Thomson, brought out José Alvardo. Unfortunately, according to MLB, Alvardo’s first pitch hit Álvarez in the backside and brought home the game’s first run. It was the first time in World Series history that a go-ahead run was scored on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch, ending the Astros’ 16-inning scoreless streak. The Astros capitalized on this spoof, adding another four runs to the board and ultimately winning Game 4, 5-0.
In Game 5, with the series tied back up again, 2-2, it was anyone’s ball game. On Thursday, Oct. 3, the Astros silenced the fans at Citizens Bank Park for the second time as they grinded out a 3-2 win over the Phillies. With two RBIs, Peña became the first rookie shortstop to homerun in the world Series against Noah Syndergaard. Astros pitcher Justin Verlander was effective in his five inning-stretch on the mound, striking out six and allowing one run from Schwarber. The Phillies left even men stranded out on those bases. McCormick’s run-robbing catch in the ninth saved his team another upset.
It was all or nothing for Game 6, with the Phillies down 3-2 in the series. Back in Houston, Valdez made a second appearance during the World Series, continuing his flawless execution on the mound. According to CBS Sports, Valdez only authorized a solo, 375 foot homer by Schwarber in the sixth inning, permitting the Phillies to gain the lead. As stated by Baseball Reference, the Phillies became the first team ever to have at least three players with 6-plus home runs in the postseason.
But the deficit was short-lived as slugger Alvarez sent a three-run 450 ft. bomb to center field in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Astros a 3-1 lead. Houston tacked on another run thanks to a Vasquez single. Closing pitcher, Pressly did his job and secured the win to a rambunctious home crowd. CNN stated that Peña received the World Series MVP, becoming the first rookie position player in MLB history to obtain the award. Astros ace, Verlander, finally collected his first long-awaited first career World Series victory.