ASTROS WIN THE WORLD SERIES

Houston Astros cap off World Series with Game 6 rally to clinch franchise’s second championship

The Astros are World Series champions again! Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

Finally, the Commissioner’s Trophy has come back to Houston.

It seems like eons ago since the ending of the 2017 season when Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager grounded a ball to right straight to Jose Altuve, who scooped it up and sent it to Yuli Gurriel for the final out and clinched the franchise’s first championship.

Inside a capacity crowd at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, the Houston Astros made history once again. This time it was a fly out to right field towards foul territory, and it was Kyle Tucker, who caught the ball that clinched the Commissioner’s Trophy for the 2022 Astros.

Houston defeated Philadelphia 4-1 in Game Six, and it won the series 4-2. The Astros are once again the undisputed best team in all of Major League Baseball. Dusty Baker finally got his first World Series trophy as a manager, and shortstop Jeremy Peña was named the World Series MVP to cap off his incredible rookie season.

Game Six did not come without some anxiety. Like it was throughout the entire postseason, the game took Houston supporters through a roller coaster of emotions. Both starting pitchers in Framber Valdez for the Astros and Zack Wheeler for the Phillies went into the sixth inning having pitched a shutout.

At the top of the sixth, it was Philadelphia left fielder Kyle Schwarber, who erased the goose egg on the board for the Phillies with a solo home run. The brief lead for the Phillies made the heart of Astros fans begin to pound a little faster with the memory of the 2019 World Series not too far behind, but that feeling of dread was erased almost instantly in the bottom of the sixth inning.

First it was catcher Martin Maldonado that got on base after he was hit by a pitch. Second baseman Jose Altuve forced the Phillies to get Maldonado out on a ground ball, but he managed to beat out the throw at first to avoid disaster.

Then the rookie sensation, Peña, delivered a single into the outfield that sent Altuve to third and set the stage for Yordan Alvarez.

On a 2-1 count with Phillies reliever Seranthony Domínguez seeking to keep the Astros at bay, Alvarez swung his bat and connected to launch the ball over center field. Just like that, the Astros led 3-1, and Minute Maid Park became a madhouse.

Alex Bregman followed by drawing a walk, and after Kyle Tucker struck out, it was Christian Vázquez that brought Bregman home with a sharp line drive. Bregman had advanced to scoring position on a wild pitch by Domínguez that J. T. Realmuto could not contain.

The celebration on Saturday night will forever hold a special feeling for Houston fans and the Astros alike. The 2017 trophy represented a light for the city that had just been ravaged by Hurricane Harvey months prior. The 2022 trophy represents justification that the Astros are just that good and have built a dynasty that keeps chugging along.

The 2018 Astros lost in the American League Championship Series. The 2019 Astros saw a championship slip through their fingers, and then the sign-stealing scandal broke headlines.

2020 saw turnover with the hiring of Dusty Baker and James Click, and the Astros once again fell short in the ALCS. The 2021 Astros said goodbye to George Springer, and then ran into a buzz saw in the Atlanta Braves in the World Series.

The 2022 Astros said goodbye to an old friend in Carlos Correa. And yet, were able to not skip a beat with the rise of Peña, who put together an incredible regular and postseason. But the 2022 Astros were much more than just one player.

There was Cristian Javier, who was thrust into a hostile Philadelphia crowd down 2-1 and the season on the line. The 25-year-old right-handed pitcher’s cool, calm and collected personality gave the Astros composure and shifted the series. Javier pitched six innings, striking out nine batters and giving up 0 hits.

Javier’s work was followed by Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly, who carried on the no-hitter and became just the second team in the history of the World Series to pitch a no-hitter.

In Game 5, Peña got Houston on the board first, and then became the first rookie to ever hit a home run in the Fall Classic. A stellar defensive play by Trey Mancini and the play of the series made by Chas McCormick, robbing Realmuto from guaranteed extra bases, helped put the Astros in position to close the game.

There was also Justin Verlander, who entering Game 5 was seeking his first ever World Series win. He not only got that, but pitched a heck of a game, allowing the high-powered Phillies offense to only score one run just days after they had put five on him at Minute Maid Park.

Everyone knows the story of Álvarez against the Seattle Mariners that helped launch Houston’s run. It was fitting that he sparked the rally in Game Six. Even though multiple players struggled at different times throughout much of the postseason, Houston just kept winning.

Now that it is all said and done. Nothing else matters. The 2022 Houston Astros have many new faces. For Altuve, Gurriel, Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr. and Bregman, the World Series victory can certainly be viewed as a redemption story, but this year’s team was so much more than that. They were a team in every sense of the word.

The 2022 Astros were resilient. The 2022 Astros were motivated. Fueled by past failures, new faces, and a will to make history, Houston did just that.

One more time. The 2022 World Series Champions—your Houston Astros

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James Harden returned to Houston Monday night and lost to the Rockets in double overtime. After the game, Harden complimented the maturation of the Rockets young players, and had some nice things to say about Houston.

Harden has a player option and can opt out after the season, which has some Rockets fans wondering if he would consider returning to Houston and taking over as the team's primary ball handler.

Plus, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has said he wouldn't rule out Harden returning at some point.

Be sure to watch the video above as we break down all the angles involving a potential fit for James Harden with Houston's young core of players, and much more.

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Catch The Bench with John and Lance weekdays from 7-10 AM on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5.

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