After going down 5-0 in the third inning, largely due to two home runs by Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker, the Phillies buckled down and clawed their way back, tying it up on a J.T. Realmuto double in the fifth. Neither team was able to score for the remaining four innings, although the Astros came close in the ninth with Jose Altuve in scoring position with two outs. Nick Castellanos made an incredible catch, however, to send the game into extra innings.
Realmuto came through again in the 10th, hammering a home run to right field to put the Phillies ahead by one. Philadelphia held on after an Alex Bregman double in the 10th and took a Game 1 that looked like it was over early.
They'll do it all again Saturday night for Game 2. For now, here are the best highlights and takeaways from an instant classic World Series opener.
Game 1 takeaways
This is why you can't predict baseball -- let alone the World Series. Two things we wouldn't have foreseen about Game 1: the Phillies winning a battle of the bullpens, and Nick Castellanos making a game-saving catch for the Phillies in right field. And we definitely wouldn't have predicted the Astros blowing a 5-0 lead. After all, only five times in World Series history had a team overcome a five-run deficit.
J.T. Realmuto played the biggest hero for the Phillies, hitting the go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning and a two-run tying double earlier in the game. But it was a night of heroes for Philadelphia, including the five relief pitchers who combined to throw 5⅔ scoreless innings.
The Astros led 5-0 after three innings, after two Kyle Tucker home runs and Justin Verlander looking great with three perfect innings. Their odds of winning: 95%. Then, the relentless Phillies offense kicked into gear against Verlander, scoring three runs with two outs in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Castellanos would save the day with a two-out diving catch in the bottom of ninth on Jeremy Pena's blooper with Jose Altuve on second base. Castellanos ranked among the worst outfielders in the league in Statcast's outs above average fielding metric, and the play had an expected batting average of .480. It was, given the circumstances, the greatest catch of Castellanos' career -- although he had a similar game-saving catch in the ninth inning against the Braves in Game 1 of the division series.
The game went extra innings, and Dusty Baker turned to starter Luis Garcia over relievers Ryne Stanek and Hunter Brown -- not the worst decision, given Garcia's five scoreless innings in that 18-inning win over the Mariners in the ALDS -- but certainly a little questionable with two hard-throwing, effective relievers still in the bullpen. Realmuto greeted him with a line-drive home run just over a leaping Tucker's glove and into the right-field stands. David Robertson then gutted out the save, getting Aledmys Diaz to ground out with runners on second and third.
Whew. Can we get six more like this one?
The Game 1 managing edge went to Rob Thomson in a big way. He masterfully used lefty Jose Alvarado in the fifth and sixth innings to get through the Yordan Alvarez/Alex Bregman/Kyle Tucker trio and then the same move later on with lefty starter Ranger Suarez. Baker left Verlander in too long and arguably chose the wrong reliever in the 10th. This game isn't on Baker, though. Give credit to the Phillies for doing everything right and coming up with clutch hits and clutch plays at the right time. And there certainly will be a new narrative in development: Verlander, the future Hall of Famer, is now winless in eight career World Series starts (0-6 with a 6.07 ERA). Unless the Phillies sweep, he'll get another chance in Game 5.
Oh, the last team to blow a five-run lead in the World Series: Baker's Giants to the Angels in that fateful Game 6 in 2002. -- David Schoenfield
Realmuto stuns the Houston crowd
Castellanos keeps Philly alive
NICK DOES IT AGAIN pic.twitter.com/epLEEDkzoR— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 29, 2022
The longer this game goes ...
After an amazing defensive play to end the ninth by Nick Castellanos, we're into extra innings in what has become a battle of the bullpens. I love the way Phillies manager Rob Thomson has managed this game, bringing in high-leverage lefty Jose Alvarado in the fifth inning to face Yordan Alvarez and then projected Game 3 starter Ranger Suarez in the same situation in the seventh. We then saw the closers in the ninth inning: Ryan Pressly for the Astros and Seranthony Dominguez for the Phillies (who finished off the eighth). After that, the Astros still have Ryne Stanek, hard-throwing rookie Hunter Brown and lefty Will Smith for a possible key Kyle Schwarber or Bryce Harper at-bat. The Phillies would have veteran David Robertson ... and then it thins out in a hurry. Advantage, Astros. -- Schoenfield
A whole new ballgame
The Astros added lefty Will Smith -- the closer for the champion Atlanta Braves a year ago -- to the roster for this round. Dusty Baker had a perfect situation to use him with lefties Brandon Marsh and Kyle Schwarber leading off the fifth against a tiring Justin Verlander. Marsh hit .188 against lefties and Schwarber .193 this season.
But there was Verlander back out there and Marsh doubled, Schwarber walked and J.T. Realmuto tied the game with a two-run double. These Phillies don't quit, that's for sure. In our predictions file heading into the series, I warned that Baker was likely to leave a starter in too long at some point -- and we just saw it happen. A lot of baseball to go here, but a 5-0 blowout has surprisingly turned into a good game. -- Schoenfield
J.T. stands for JUST TIED THIS BALLGAME RIGHT UP pic.twitter.com/u33yqoIuaA— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 29, 2022
Phillies on the board
Just like that, the Phillies get right back in this game, scoring three runs off Justin Verlander with two outs in the fourth inning. Verlander appeared to catch a break when Rhys Hoskins held up at third base on Bryce Harper's two-out line-drive single to right field, but Nick Castellanos rescued Hoskins with a base hit to left and Alec Bohm doubled down the left-field line to score two.
Now comes the big question: How long will Dusty Baker stick with Verlander? Houston has a deep, dominant bullpen that has allowed three runs in 33 innings in the postseason. After Verlander issued a 10-pitch walk to light-hitting Bryson Stott after the three runs had scored, on top of throwing 31 pitches in the inning, Baker should consider going to the bullpen for the fifth and the 9-1-2 hitters coming up. The Astros have the bullpen arms to cover five innings. -- Schoenfield
The Kyle Tucker Game
This game is out of hand early as Kyle Tucker unloads on a 3-2 sinker from Aaron Nola for a three-run home run and 5-0 lead for the Astros in the bottom of the third. John Smoltz made a great point on the broadcast that Nola didn't seem to want to go back to his changeup since Tucker had homered off it in the second inning. So even though Nola got ahead 0-2, he stuck with fastballs and curveballs. Tucker locked in on the fastball and crushed it at 105.3 mph and 395 feet to right-center, becoming the first Astros player with a multi-homer game in the World Series. We have plenty of time left to see if Tucker can match Babe Ruth (twice), Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval with a three-homer World Series game. -- Schoenfield
Verlander is dealing
Justin Verlander has a reputation as a big-game pitcher in the postseason -- mostly based on two dominant performances against the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS. His World Series history, however, is another matter: He entered this game 0-6 with a 5.68 ERA in seven career starts. That's the third-worst ERA among pitchers who have started at least five World Series games. Early on, however, he's cruising: Nine up and nine down through three innings with four strikeouts, including a three-pitch strikeout of Bryce Harper when he got Harper to swing and miss at three straight fastballs at the top of the zone. -- Schoenfield
Tucker opens the scoring
Kyle Tucker, the under-appreciated star in the Houston lineup, puts the first run of the World Series on the board with a home run to right field off a poorly located 1-1 changeup from Aaron Nola. That's a bad sign for Nola. He was great in his first two postseason starts, allowing one unearned run over 12.2 innings, but served up two home runs in a Game 2 NLCS loss to the Padres, blowing an early 4-0 lead in the process. The Astros are also running his pitch count up through the first two innings, another bad sign for the Phillies, who don't have the bullpen depth the Astros have in case Nola can't go six or seven innings. One more piece of bad news for the Phillies: Martin Maldonado singles in a run to make it 2-0: The Astros have won 22 consecutive games when they've scored first, going back to the regular season. -- Schoenfield
Hit-and-run to perfection. pic.twitter.com/saCybquLsi— Houston Astros (@astros) October 29, 2022
Simone Biles reps Houston
Eagles pulling for Phillies
More pregame fashion
Fit check pic.twitter.com/vNHZyms9zk— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 28, 2022
The stars at night are big and bright. pic.twitter.com/xdTQJcqfpz— Houston Astros (@astros) October 28, 2022
Harper channels Mike Schmidt
Bryce Harper walked into Game 1 wearing the jersey of Philadelphia Phillies legend and Hall of Fame Mike Schmidt. It's not the first time Harper has paid tribute to Schmidt -- earlier this season, he did a photoshoot recreating Schmidt's iconic 1987 Phillies Media guide cover.
In order to be the best, you have to dress like the best pic.twitter.com/AkAvesqrqZ— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 28, 2022