World Series Game 2 Takeaways: Astros waste no time punching back to tie series

Houston Astros' Jeremy Pena scores on an RBI double hit by Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez during the first inning in Game 2 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (David J. Phillip/AP)

The Houston Astros’ loss in Game 1 of the World Series ended their run at perfection this post-season. It put them in a new position of getting punched in the face and lying on the mat.

They wasted no time punching back in Saturday’s Game 2.

In fact, they pretty much landed a knockout blow to the Philadelphia Phillies in a matter of minutes.

Jose Altuve led off the bottom of the first by lacing a double down the left-field line off Phillies starter Zack Wheeler. Jeremy Pena took the very next pitch to left field for his own double that cashed in Altuve. Yordan Alvarez then smacked an RBI double off the left-field wall.

[brightcove videoID=6314612753112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

That’s a trio of consecutive doubles to begin the night, marking the first time a team has begun a World Series game with three straight extra-base hits.

In just four pitches, the Phillies were down 2-0 and the AL champions added a third run in the opening frame by capitalizing on a throwing error from Phillies shortstop Edmundo Sosa. Alex Bregman proceeded to pad the lead with a two-run homer in the fifth inning that brought serious noise to Minute Maid Park.

Astros starter Framber Valdez dominated and the club’s bullpen was its usual self en route to a 5-2 win that tied the Fall Classic at one game apiece as the Series heads to Philadelphia for the next three games.

[brightcove videoID=6314615190112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]


Jose Altuve has been the straw that stirs the drink for the Astros offence during the club’s dynastic run over the past several years. This post-season, though, has been different. He endured a funk that saw him without a hit in his first 25 at-bats and the resulting frustration has been clearly visible on his face.

Prior to Game 2, Houston manager Dusty Baker was asked for his thoughts on Altuve’s mentality at that point.

“It’s hard to tell,” Baker told media. “I mean, he can’t be happy, but he’s happy that we’re winning. He might be the strongest dude in this building mentally. He’s probably had to be most of his life.

“So, I just know that any minute now he’s one hit away from a hot streak.”

Hours later, Altuve rewarded his manager’s vocal faith. He ambushed Wheeler’s first pitch and drove a double to left field, then came around to score during Houston’s quick-strike inning. He added two more singles in the game. That’s three hits on the evening and, for reference, Altuve entered the day with four hits in 37 at-bats during the post-season. So, if he’s getting right, it’s coming at the perfect time for the Astros lineup.

After all, some drinks are best served with straws.


Framber Valdez has been a beast for the Astros all season and coming on the heels of a rough start by ace Justin Verlander in Game 1, it was imperative that the No. 2 starter met the moment on Saturday.

Valdez certainly did that and then some, shoving over the course of his 6.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits, walking three and striking out nine.

The left-hander was calm and collected — a different Valdez than the one we saw during last year’s World Series, when the Braves lit him up for 10 runs in 4.2 innings over his two starts.

Valdez unleashed a nasty curveball on Phillies hitters that produced nine whiffs and 13 foul balls. Take a look at this beauty he twirled to Bryce Harper in the fourth inning:

Valdez is among the best pitchers in baseball at generating ground balls and that stayed true on Saturday as he induced rally-killing double-play balls from Matt Vierling and Harper in the fifth and sixth innings.


While the final score might reveal a lacklustre affair, there was at least a quick injection of drama from the Phillies perspective, courtesy of slugger Kyle Schwarber in the eighth inning.

Facing Astros reliever Rafael Montero with a runner on first base, Schwarber mashed a pitch deep into the stands down the right-field line. Umpire James Hoye called it fair and there was immediate confusion at Minute Maid Park.

Television cameras managed to capture a great shot of fans who were sitting close to where the ball landed as they motioned hands to their ears, signifying a headset and encouraging a review of the home run.

It was a pretty cool scene and something that can only be produced under the ratcheted-up tension of October baseball. If that ball is gone, the Astros’ lead is cut to 5-3, but the momentum is clearly on the Phillies’ side.

However, first base umpire Tripp Gibson immediately called an umpire’s conference and, after Schwarber had rounded the bases, the homer was overturned.

Foul ball.

Schwarber has to go back to the dish.

So, what does the masher — who at one point in his career was lauded for a resemblance to Babe Ruth — do next?

He settles into the box and launches the next pitch he sees into the sky. It falls at the warning track, into the glove of right-fielder Kyle Tucker, who has to extend his arm fully in the air to make the catch.

All in all, it provided a moment that won’t show up in the boxscore, yet managed to temporarily take the breath away from Houston fans. Twice.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.