HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez hit a shot to the moon that sent Space City wild and the Houston Astros to their second World Series title.
While the stain on Houston’s first championship may never fully fade, Alvarez’s majestic three-run homer helped carve out a new crown for the Astros — and the first for Dusty Baker as manager — in a win by 4-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 on Saturday night.
“What’s happened before, it’s never completely glossed over,” said Baker, the veteran manager hired by the Astros after their sign-stealing scandal. “But we have turned the page and we look forward to continuing this race.”
Álvarez threw a ball over the 40-foot batter’s eye in center field during the sixth inning, immediately after Phillies starter Zack Wheeler was taken out for a 1–0 lead.
As Alvarez’s 450-foot shot went wild, Astros starter Framber Valdez jumped up and screamed wildly in the dugout as the crowd of 42,958 went wild waving orange towels.
“When I was going around second base, I felt like the whole stadium was moving,” Alvarez said through a translator.
The 73-year-old Baker finally claimed his first title in his 25th season as coach. He spent the last three with the Astros after they hired him to help the team regain credibility after his garbage-dumping scheme cost manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs, and made Houston the most reviled team in baseball.
“I wasn’t here in 2017, but it’s definitely a weight off everyone’s shoulders. There’s nobody that can say (anything) right now,” said closer Ryan Pressly, who finished the Series with another scoreless inning.
Baker, who won a World Series as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers and had been to the Fall Classic twice before as captain, is the oldest championship manager in any of North America’s four major sports. The victory came 20 years after a near miss, when he came within five outs of taking the title while managing the San Francisco Giants.
“What’s next? I said if I win one, I want to win two,” Baker said afterwards.
The Houston coaching and training staff surrounded Baker after Nick Castellanos flied out to end it, jumping up and down and chanting “Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!” on the bench before joining the players on the pitch.
Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena was the World Series MVP after getting another key hit, a single to set up Alvarez’s home run.
The 25-year-old Dominican Republic-born star also won a Gold Glove Award and the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Peña is the first hitter to win all three awards in a career, and he did it all in his first season, according to OptaSTATS. .
The jerseys Peña and Baker wore during the Series headed to the Hall of Fame.
A year after watching the Atlanta Braves clinch the World Series title at Minute Maid Park, Justin Verlander and the Astros went 11-2 in the postseason and became the first team to seal the championship at home since the Boston Red Sox in 2013.
Álvarez homered for the first time since digging in the first two games of this postseason. Christian Vazquez added an RBI single later in the inning to make it 4-1.
Valdez obtained his second victory of this Series. He had been on the bench just minutes after throwing his 93rd and final pitch as he struck out nine in six innings.
But the left-hander had come off the mound with the wild-card Phillies leading 1-0 on Kyle Schwarber’s home run leading off the sixth.
Schwarber, who hit his third home run in the last four games, circled the bases waving his empty hand raised in the same motion as the fans with their towels.
But when Schwarber batted in the eighth, the NL home run leader was reduced to a bunt, trying to get a hit to spark a sluggish Phillies offense. His bunt went wrong with two strikes, resulting in a strikeout.
In the sixth, Houston got two runners on against Wheeler for the first time in the game, when Martín Maldonado was hit by a pitch, José Altuve grounded for a force out and Peña singled.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson turned to left-handed reliever José Alvarado to face the left-handed slugger for the fourth time in the series: Álvarez had gone up twice and been hit by a pitch the first three times.
“I thought Wheels still had some really cool stuff. It was not that. I just thought the matchup was better with Alvarado over Alvarez at that point,” Thomson said.
And Alvarado had allowed just three home runs to left-handed hitters in his six major league seasons, until his 2-1 pitch, when Alvarez crushed the 99-mph sinker.
“It’s kind of a dirty entry and I thought, I mean, going into the series it was always kind of Alvarado on Alvarez,” Thomson said. “It was the sixth inning and I felt like the normal back end of the bullpen guys could get through it.”
Álvarez hadn’t homered since Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Seattle, when his two-run shot in the sixth inning put them in to stay. That came after his game-ending three-run home run in Game 1 to win 8-7.
Houston won an AL-best 106 games and reached its fourth World Series during a stretch in which it reached the AL Championship Series six straight seasons. The Astros made their only other World Series appearance in 2005, while still in the National League, and were swept in four games by the Chicago White Sox.
This was his third American League Championship Series and his second consecutive World Series since former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers revealed after the 2019 season when he had left Houston for two years since he was part of his 2017 championship, that the team had used a camera in center field to steal signs and signal batters what pitches to expect by hitting a trash can.
“That will probably never go away, but I think this shows how good this team is and how good it has been for a long time,” Astros owner Jim Crane said on the field afterward.
Philadelphia was 22-29 when Joe Girardi was fired in early June and replaced by bench coach Thomson, the 59-year-old who got his first break as a major league manager: He was on the major league staff of the Yankees for 10 seasons with Girardi. , and was part of their last World Series and title in 2009.
The Phillies finished the regular season 65-46 under Thomson, their 87 wins giving them the sixth and final NL playoff spot, en route to their first World Series since 2009.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Phillies: In less than five months, the Phillies will return to Texas to start their 2023 regular season, some 250 miles away for Game 1 of an interleague series on March 30 against the Texas Rangers.
Astros: Whether or not Baker and/or GM James Click return, neither of whom have signed beyond this season, the World Series champions will play their 2023 season opener at home on March 30 against the Chicago White Sox.
Get the latest sports news from Boston
Get updates on your favorite Boston teams, straight from our newsroom to your inbox.
– Article Written By @ from www.bing.com