Alvarez propels Astros to World Series title against Phils


Yordan Alvarez hit a moonshot that sent Space City into a frenzy, 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-point home run has helped shape a new crown for the Astros — and Dusty Baker’s first as manager. – in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 6 on Saturday night.

“What happened before, it never completely goes away,” said Baker, the veteran manager hired by the Astros following their sign-stealing scandal. « But we have turned the page and I hope we will continue this race. »

Alvarez threw a ball over the batter’s eye from 40 feet into center field during the sixth inning immediately after Phillies starter Zack Wheeler was fired with a 1-0 lead.

As Alvarez’s 450-foot shot sailed, Astros starter Framber Valdez jumped and screamed wildly into the dugout as the crowd of 42,958 went crazy waving orange rally towels.

« When I rounded second base, I felt the whole stadium move, » Alvarez said through an interpreter.

The 73-year-old Baker finally secured his first title in his 25th season as manager. He has spent the last three years with the Astros after hiring him to help the team regain credibility after their trash system cost manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow did their job, and made Houston the most reviled team in baseball.

« I wasn’t here in 2017, but it’s definitely a weight on everyone’s shoulders. Nobody can say (anything) now, » said Ryan Pressly, who ended the series with another round without aim.

Baker, who won a World Series as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers and had previously appeared in the Fall Classic twice as a skipper, is the longest-serving championship manager at one of the Big Four. North American sports. The win came 20 years after a near miss when he was within five outs of winning the title while guiding the San Francisco Giants.

« What’s the next step? I said if I win one, I want to win two, » Baker said afterwards.

Houston’s coaching and coaching staff surrounded Baker after Nick Castellanos flew in to end it, jumping up and down and chanting « Dusty! Dusty! Dusty! » in the dugout before joining the players on the pitch.

Astros rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena was the World Series MVP after getting another hit, a single to set up the home run for Alvarez.

The 25-year-old Dominican Republic-born star also won a Gold Glove award and the AL Championship Series MVP. Pena is the first hitter to win all three career awards, and he did it all in his first season, per OptaSTATS.

The jerseys worn by Pena and Baker during the series were heading for 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 playoffs and became the first team to seal the championship on home soil since the Red Sox. from Boston in 2013.

Alvarez homered for the first time since playing the first two games of this postseason. Christian Vazquez added an RBI single later in the set to make it 4-1.

Valdez earned his second victory of this series. He had only been in the dugout minutes after throwing his 93rd and final pitch while striking out nine in six innings.

But the southpaw had left the mound with the wild-card Phillies leading 1-0 on Kyle Schwarber’s homer at the top of the sixth.

Schwarber, who has hit his third homer in the last four games, circled the base, waving his raised empty hand in the same motion fans do with their towels.

But by the time Schwarber hit in the eighth, the NL home run point guard was down to a bunting, trying for a hit to stoke a dormant Phillies offense. His bunt became a foul with two strikes, resulting in a strikeout.

In the sixth, Houston got two runners on base against Wheeler for the first time in the game, when Martin Maldonado was hit by a pitch, Jose Altuve failed in a forced out and Pena singled.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson went to left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado to face the left-handed slugger for the fourth time in the series — Alvarez had popped up twice and been hit by a pitch the first three times.

« I thought Wheels still had some really good stuff. It wasn’t about that. It was just that I thought the game 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 lead from 99 mph.

« It’s kind of a dirty inning and I thought, I mean, going into the series, it was always kind of Alvarado over Alvarez, » Thomson said. « It was the sixth inning and I felt like the normal guard in the bullpen guys could handle it. »

Alvarez hadn’t homered since Game 2 of the AL Division Series against Seattle, when his sixth-inning two-run shot set them up to stay. It came after his game-ending three-point shot in Game 1 for an 8-7 victory.

Houston has won the American League’s best 106 games and reached its fourth World Series in a stretch that has qualified for 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.

It was their third ALCS and second consecutive World Series since former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers revealed after the 2019 season, when he had been away from Houston for two years since being part of their 2017 championship, that the team used a camera in center field to steal signs and signal batters on what pitches to expect when hitting a trash can.

« It’s probably never going to go away, but I think it just goes to show how good this team is and how good it has been for a long time, » Astros owner Jim Crane said on the field afterwards.

Philadelphia was 22-29 when Joe Girardi was fired in early June and replaced by bench coach Thomson, the 59-year-old lifer got his first chance at big league manager – he was on the Yankees’ big league staff 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 good for the sixth and final NL playoff spot en route to their first World Series since 2009.


Phillies: In less than five months, the Phillies will be back in Texas to start their 2023 regular season, about 250 miles away for an interleague series opener on March 30 against the Texas Rangers.

Astros: Whether Baker and/or general manager James Click are back or not — neither has signed this season — the World Series champions will play their 2023 season opener at home on March 30 against the Astros. Chicago White Sox.


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