The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 on Saturday night in front of a raucous home crowd at Minute Maid Park to clinch the World Series and avoid what would have been a decisive Game 7 on Sunday. It marks the second World Series title in franchise history for the Astros, who also won in 2017.
After falling 2-1 in the series, the Astros rallied to win three straight, including a historic Game 4 in whichonly the second no-hitter in World Series history and the first since 1956.
Down 1-0 in Game 6, the Astros scored four runs in the sixth inning, including a three-run homer by Yordan Álvarez, and never looked back.
As Alvarez’s 450-foot home run disappeared, Astros starter Framber Valdez jumped up and screamed wildly in the dugout as the crowd of 42,948 went wild waving their orange towels.
Astros manager Dusty Baker finally got his first title in his 25th season as manager.
Houston’s coaching and training staff surrounded Baker after Nick Castellanos flew in to finish him off, jumping up and yelling “Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!” on the bench before joining the players on the pitch.
The 73-year-old Baker, who had been to the World Series twice before as a skipper, became the oldest manager to win a World Series in his third trip as manager to the Fall Classic. As a player, he played three times for the Dodgers and won it all in 1981. He entered Saturday’s game as the winningest manager without a World Series title and improved to 2,094-1,790 with this memorable win.
“I got 2,000 wins and all they say is I haven’t won the World Series yet,” he said Thursday.
They can’t say that anymore.
Alvarez’s home run cleared the batter’s view at direct center, the backdrop that stretches 40 feet over the field, and made it 3-1. It was the first time the Cuban slugger had connected since 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 solo homer 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.
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.
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 smashed the 99-mph sinker.
The title caps what has been a dominant season in which the team won an AL-best 106 games. They went 7-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping both the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.
However, this latest title comes as the Astros have been one of the most controversial American sports teams in recent history, afterin which Major League Baseball determined that the team used technology to steal signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, the first of which ended with its first title.
In January 2020, the league released a report determining that the Astros illegally used live game footage to steal signs from opposing pitchers and catchers and alerted their own hitters to what pitch was coming by hitting a trash can.
At the time, MLB handed out one-year suspensions to both general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch, who were subsequently fired. The Astros also paid a $5 million fine and forfeited their first- and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021. No players were penalized, however.
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.