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Houston Astros win second World Series in 6 years

The Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 Saturday night in front of a raucous home crowd at Minute Maid Park to clinch the World Series and avoid what would have been a decisive Game 7 on Sunday. It marks the second World Series title in franchise history for the Astros, who also won in 2017.

After going down 2-1 in the series, the Astros rallied to win three straight games, including a historic Game 4 in which they threw a combined no-hitter, only the second no-hitter in World Series history, and the first since 1956.

Down 1-0 in Game 6, the Astros put up four runs in the sixth inning, including a three-run home run by Yordan Álvarez, and they never looked back.

2022 World Series Game 6: Philadelphia Phillies v. Houston Astros
Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros reacts towards the Astros dugout while rounding the bases after hitting a three-run home run in the sixth inning during Game 6 of the 2022 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Nov. 5, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

As Alvarez's 450-foot home run blast disappeared, Astros starter Framber Valdez jumped and wildly screamed in the dugout as the crowd of 42,948 went into a frenzy waving their orange rally towels.

Astros manager Dusty Baker finally got his first title in his 25th season as a manager. 

Houston's coaching and training staffs circled around Baker after Nick Castellanos flied out to end it, jumping up and down, and chanting "Dusty! Dusty! Dusty!" in the dugout before they joined the players on the field.  

The 73-year-old Baker, who had been to the World Series twice before as a skipper, became the oldest manager to win a World Series in his third trip as a manager to the Fall Classic. As a player he went three times with the Dodgers, winning it all in 1981. He entered Saturday's game as the winningest manager without a World Series title and improved to 2,094-1,790 with this most memorable victory.

"I got 2,000 wins and all they talk about is I haven't won the World Series yet," he said Thursday.

They can't say that anymore.

World Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros - Game Six
Manager Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 to win the 2022 World Series at Minute Maid Park on Nov. 5, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Harry How/Getty Images

Alvarez's homer cleared the batter's eye in straightaway center, the backdrop that extends 40 feet above the field, and made it 3-1. It was the first time the Cuban slugger connected since the first two games this postseason.

Christian Vázquez added an RBI single later in the inning to make it 4-1.

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

But the lefty had walked off the mound with the wild-card Phillies up 1-0 on Kyle Schwarber's solo homer leading off the sixth.

Schwarber, who hit his third homer in the past four games, rounded the bases waving his raised empty hand in the same motion as the fans with their towels.

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

And Alvarado had allowed only three homers to left hitters in his six big league seasons, until his 2-1 pitch, when Alvarez crushed the 99 mph sinker.

The title puts a bow on what has been a dominant season which saw the team win an American League-best 106 games. They went 7-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, sweeping both the Seattle Mariners, and then the New York Yankees. 

However, this latest title comes as the Astros have been one of the most controversial U.S. sports teams in recent history, following the sign stealing scandal in which Major League Baseball determined the team used technology to steal signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons – the former of which ended in their first title.

In January 2020, the league released a report in which it determined the Astros illegally used live game footage to steal signs from opposing pitchers and catchers and alerted their own batters about what pitch was coming by banging on a trash can. 

At the time, MLB handed one-year suspensions to both general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, who were both subsequently fired. The Astros also paid a $5 million penalty and forfeited their first and second-round picks in 2020 and 2021. No players were punished however. 

Philadelphia, meanwhile, was 22-29 when Joe Girardi was fired in early June and replaced by bench coach Thomson, the 59-year-old baseball lifer getting his first chance a 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 spot in the NL playoffs, on way to their first World Series since 2009.

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