This time, the Astros scored five runs, too. The difference is that Framber Valdez and their bullpen held the Phillies and helped the team tie the World Series at one win apiece. Game 2 was everything Game 1 should have been plus Houston had an offensive team effort that featured a key role by the upper part of the lineup.
Just like on Friday, the Astros attacked early. This time, they enjoyed a three-run rally in the first inning against Zack Wheeler. Before Wheeler was able to record his first out of the game, the Astros hit three consecutive doubles (José Altuve, Jeremy Peña, Yordan Álvarez) to crack the scoreboard 2-0. Thanks to a throwing error by shortstop Edmundo Sosa, Álvarez scored the game’s third run minutes later.
Those runs would have been just enough for Framber, who limited the Phillies through 104 pitches over 6 1/3 innings. Valdez surrendered four hits, one earned run, gave up three walks, and struck out nine hitters, including the leadoff man in innings two, three, and four.
Valdez was completely at his best. Through five innings, he had only admitted two singles and had eight of his nine punchouts. In his most important outing of the season, the crafty southpaw touched 97.3 miles per hour with his sinker and averaged 95.6 MPH with the same pitch, 1.7 MPH better than his regular-season average (93.9 MPH).
83 percent of Framber’s pitches were either sinkers (43%) or curveballs (40%), a combination that made him succeed. He got nine whiffs and five strikeouts with his breaking ball.
Valdez got the win and finally dominated after two forgettable starts against the Braves in the 2021 Fall Classic in which he failed to go past the third inning: 4 2/3 innings of 12 hits and 10 runs with four home runs.
Nick Castellanos led off the seventh inning with a line-drive double and immediately got to third base on an Alec Bohm grounder. Right after Framber was pulled off the game being responsible for the third-base runner, Jean Segura drove in Castellanos via sacrifice fly against Rafael Montero. That was the lone run allowed by Valdez.
Speaking of offense, Alex Bregman got one from Wheeler in the fifth inning and made him pay with a two-run homer that represented the Astros’ final runs of the contest, with Valdez still on the mound and looking sharper than ever.
The Wheels on the train go round and round. pic.twitter.com/VOuGo1wYsN— Houston Astros (@astros) October 30, 2022
Manager Dusty Baker used only one more pitcher besides Framber and Montero, and that was Ryan Pressly. The Astros closer pitched the ninth, allowed a hit, an unearned run, and struck out one.
On a historic note, José Altuve went 3-for-4 and became the player not born in the United States with the most hits in the history of the World Series (26), surpassing Bernie Williams (25).
The series will move to Philly at Citizens Bank Park. Game 3 will feature Lance McCullers Jr. and Noah Syndergaard as starters. Should be an electric one on Monday!