HOUSTON — The Houston Astros’ confidence never wavered, but when they sat down in their clubhouse late Saturday night, they couldn’t help but gasp.
They had to show the Philadelphia Phillies who they are. They needed to intimidate. They needed to dominate.
“Really,” said Astros center fielder Chas McCormick, “we just needed to win.”
The Astros beat the Phillies, 5-2, at Minute Maid Park on World Series night at 1-1 apiece and stifling the Phillies’ momentum.
Four locations. Three doubles. Two races.
Follow every game: MLB Live Scores
It was the first time in World Series history that a team opened a game with three consecutive extra hits.
Zack Wheeler didn’t know what hit him.
“It was amazing, I felt like I made 10 runs that round,” McCormick said. “When you start, it’s contagious.
“It’s this team. We are relentless. We played a lot in the playoffs. We are used to this environment. We like that. We feed on it.’
GAME 2: Astros bounce back to send World Series to Philadelphia at 1-1
MALDONADO:MLB flags Houston catcher’s illegal batting (he wasn’t cheating)
Jose Altuve, who entered the game with .108 this postseason, hitless in 25 at-bats during a streak, burst into the heart of Texas.
He doubled on the first pitch of the game. He singled to center in the fifth inning. He singled right in the seventh inning.
“This guy here,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said, pointing to Altuve in the postgame press conference, “set the tone. And that was awesome. felt like an at bat to start the game drew the crowd in, got our dugout in, got our offense started.
Altuve was depressed by his struggles, but refused to let his confidence wane, leaning into the video, taking extra batting practices, with all of his teammates predicting it would only be a matter of time.
“That’s the beauty of baseball,” said Astros reliever Will Smith. “You could be oh-for-a-million, show up the next day, get three hits and be a hero. He keeps hooking up and eventually, he has to go his own way. It can’t rain forever.”
And now there may be no holding him back.
“There’s a lot of guys in our clubhouse who run us, and there’s a lot of guys in our clubhouse who are vocal and things of that nature,” said Game 3 starter Lance McCullers, ” but Altuve is the heart of this team. He has been since I was an astro. So when he leaves, our team feels very confident, and you saw that with the way he started us.
The Astros led 3-0 after the first inning, 5-0 after the fifth with Bregman hitting his sixth career World Series homer, the most by a third baseman in history.
The rest of the game was spent with hitting coach Troy Snitker bobbing up and down the bench, pleading with his players to stay balanced.
A day earlier, the Astros became just the sixth team in World Series history to lose a five-point lead.
“This team has a short memory of bad events and bad games,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You can’t fit yesterday into today, otherwise it will continue. You have to start all over again and realize it’s a new day.”
The pitching matchups are back in their favor for the next two games, and the team is looking forward to playing in Philadelphia.
“It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be crazy,” said McCormick, a Philadelphia-area native, “and it’s going to be intense.”
The Astros have been booed everywhere they have gone and now, for the first time, they will have their feelings expressed to those rabid Phillies fans.
“It’s going to be pretty wild, maybe really wild,” Smith said. “We will be ready. Just another day at the park.”
On Saturday, they faced Wheeler, one of baseball’s best pitchers. He entered the game with a 1.78 ERA this postseason and a 1.34 ERA dating back to his last seven starts since coming off the injured list – the lowest by a Phillies pitcher since Grover Cleveland. Alexander.
He walked the mound and was completely ambushed, with the Astros deciding to swing early and swing often
“It’s kind of everyone’s game plan against me,” Wheeler said, “either try to get that first pitch or jump on the fastball. I kind of expected that, but swinging on the first two throws, that’s what it is. …
“They were just aggressive. I tried to match their aggressiveness and get out of the corners a bit more, and they came out rocking.
It was a thing of beauty and what makes them such a dangerous team. They can beat you with their deadly offense or their dominating pitch, with No. 2 starter Framber Valdez giving up just four hits and striking out nine in 6 ⅓ innings. And they play dazzling defense.
When they put it all together, well, they dare you to stop them.
“In all honesty,” Bregman says, “it’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing baseball.”
Just wait for game 3 – where the fun really begins.
“We’re ready for that,” McCormick said. “It’s going to be rowdy. We’re going to get booed.
“I can not wait.”
Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale
#Astros #dominate #Game #World #Series #ready #rowdy #Phillies #fans