A three-run home run from Yordan Alvarez has helped the Houston Astros claim their second World Series title, and the first Major League Baseball championship of veteran manager Dusty Baker’s career.
- The Astros beat the Phillies to claim the World Series in six games
- Yordan Alvarez opens the scoring for Houston in the sixth inning with a three-run shot off Jose Alvarado
- Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena is World Series MVP
Down by one run with one out in the sixth inning of Game 6 in Houston, the Cuban left fielder opened the scoring for the Astros by delivering his third game-altering home run of the MLB post season, putting the Astros ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1.
The Astros added an insurance run three batters later off the bat of Christian Vazquez, eventually defeating the Phillies 4-1 in Houston, to claim the World Series in six games (4-2).
Facing a 2-1 count against Phillies left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado, Alvarez drilled a 159 kilometre per hour sinker 411.48 metres over the batting eye in centre to score Jose Altuve and Houston’s boom rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena.
Pena, whose earlier single off Phillies starter Zack Wheeler facilitated the pitching change to Alvarado, finished Game 6 2-for-4 and added World Series MVP honours to his American League Gold Glove and AL Championship Series MVP awards.
“Shout-out to my teammates. They took me in since Day 1,” said Pena, who batted .400 in the World Series.
“They gave me the confidence to go out and play my game. This is special.”
Houston starter Framber Valdez (3-0), who carried a shut-out into the seventh inning of Game 2, was equally effective in Game 6, allowing two hits and two walks while again posting nine strikeouts.
He fanned five consecutive batters bridging the third and fourth innings and retired 10 consecutive batters entering the top of the sixth inning.
At that point, Valdez had matched zeros with Wheeler, but Kyle Schwarber delivered the Phillies a 1-0 lead by driving a 2-2 sinker from Valdez out to right field for his sixth post season homer.
Valdez responded by retiring Rhys Hoskins, JT Realmuto and Bryce Harper in order to complete his outing, and Alvarez took Valdez off the hook soon thereafter.
Wheeler (1-3) was exceptional before running into trouble in the sixth.
He had surrendered just three base runners through five innings and faced only two batters over the minimum before plunking Martin Maldonado with a pitch to open the sixth. Pena added a single two batters later before Alvarado entered to face Alvarez and the tide immediately turned.
Houston right-handers Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly held the lead with aplomb, with Neris and Abreu retiring the Phillies in order in the seventh and eighth and Pressly needing only seven pitches to notch his sixth save of the post season.
Baker finally claims first World Series win
After bashing five home runs in their 7-0 victory in Game 3, the Phillies amassed only three runs over the final three games of the series.
Their silenced bats offered a reflection of the Astros’ excellent pitching and the adroit handling of that staff by Houston manager Dusty Baker, whose 25-year managerial career was missing a World Series championship before Saturday.
“I tried to have faith and perseverance in knowing that with the right team and the right personnel and the right everything that this was going to happen,” Baker said.
“Had this happened years ago I might not even be here.
“Maybe it wasn’t supposed to happen so that I can hopefully influence a few young men’s lives and families and a number of people in the country and show them what perseverance and character can do for you in the long run.”