McCoy: Phillies rally for stunning Game 1 win over Astros

When it is World Series time, Houston’s Justin Verlander would be better suited to be on a golf course than on a pitching mound.

Verlander was 18-4 with a 1.75 earned run average during the regular season and is odds-on to win the American League Cy Young award.

The World Series? Different story.

When Game One of the 2022 World Series began Friday night in Houston’s Minute Maid Park, Verlander was 0-and-6 with a 5.68 earned run average in seven World Series starts.

And his Astros gave him an early five-run lead Friday night and he still couldn’t win. He gave all five of those runs back.

It was a historic meltdown for Verlander, who had won 67 straight games when given a lead of five or more runs and 163-2 for his career.

And it cost his team the ultimate price, a 10-inning 6-5 defeat, a huge road victory for the Phillies.

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto led the 10th inning with an opposite field home run over the right field wall to break the 5-5 tie. It came off Luis Garcia, Houston’s fifth relief pitcher of the night.

It was Realmuto who tied the game at 5-5 in the fifth with a two-run double.

After Realmuto’s home run, the Phillies sent David Robertson to the mound to finish it, a tough assignment because he faced the power pack of the Houston batting order — Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel.

He struck out Alvarez. Bregman doubled to left with two strikes, putting the potential tying run on second base. Tucker, who had the two home runs and a single, struck out. Gurriel walked on five pitches.

After a mound visit from pitching coach Josh Miller, Robertson went to 3-and-0 on pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz before he grounded out to third.

And the heavily underdog Phillies own a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Series.

Houston’s loss was its first of the postseason after seven straight wins and Philadelphia pushed its record to 10-2.

The Astros jumped on Phillies starter Aaron Nola with both feet in the second and third innings, with Tucker doing the heavy stomping.

Tucker hit home runs in the second, a 359-foot solo shot down the right field line, then unloaded a 395-foot three-run crusher to right center to give the Astros and Verlander a 5-0 lead.

After Tucker’s first home run, he broke his home run bat on his next trip to the plate. Two pitches later, with a new stick in his hands, he homered again.

Verlander retired the first nine Phillies, perfect through three innings. With a 5-0 lead and Verlander on the mound, the Astros were sitting high and mighty.

The Phillies, though, were not impressed. After Verlander retired Kyle Schwarber to open the fourth, his 10th straight batter retired, Rhys Hoskins lobbed a single to center and the gate swung wide open.

Verlander retired the next batter, but Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos singled, and Alex Bohm doubled for two runs and the Phillies were within two, 5-3.

They drew even in the fifth on Brandon Marsh’s leadoff single, a walk to Schwarber and a two-run double to deepest left center by Realmuto to tie it, 5-5.

And then both starting pitchers were done after putting together near-identical lines. Verlander pitched five innings and gave up five runs, six hits, walked two and struck out five. Nola pitched 4 1/3 innings and also gave up five runs, six hits, walked two and struck out five.

The Astros had an opportunity to break the tie in the sixth when they put two on with two outs. Number nine hitter Martin Maldonado pulled one over the third base bag. Bohm intercepted the ball in foul territory and threw a one-bouncer to first to get Maldonado, the defensive play of the game.

Philadelphia had its opportunity in the seventh when relief pitcher Bryan Abreu gave up an infield hit and a pair of two-out walks to fill the bases.

But Castellanos left them loaded by striking out.

The Astros threatened a dramatic walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth after there were two outs and nobody on.

Jose Altuve, 3 for 40 in the postseason, poked a two-out single and stole second, putting him in scoring position. But rookie Jeremy Pena flied to right, sending the game into extra innings.

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