In the first close game between the two teams since Game 1, the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on the road to take Game 5 of the World Series. The Astros are now one victory away from the championship and return home to Minute Maid Park for Game 6 on Saturday.

The Astros’ third win of the series followed two highly polarized games for Philadelphia’s offense, as the Phillies began their two-game home stand in Game 3 with a commanding 7-0 victory featuring five home runs. The next night in Game 4, four Astros pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter, the third in postseason history. Game 5 was less of a spectacle following those two games — a gritty defensive battle that seemed to favor both teams at certain points.

After taking a 2-1 lead and knocking Phillies starter Noah Syndergaard out of the game in the fourth inning, the Astros seemed to be in a solid position early with Justin Verlander on the mound. Verlander was looking to bounce back from a disastrous collapse in Game 1, in which the Phillies mounted a five-run comeback and won in extra innings.

Houston’s ace gave up a solo homer to Kyle Schwarber in the first but escaped jams in the second and third before encountering more trouble in the fifth. Bryce Harper doubled to right field with two outs and Nick Castellanos on deck. Manager Dusty Baker lingered in the dugout but ultimately didn’t make a call to the bullpen.

“I was considering after the Bryce double whether Dusty was gonna leave me in there or not,” Verlander said after the game. “I wasn’t sure.”

To escape his final frame of the night, Verlander had to endure a grueling 10-pitch at-bat against Castellanos, the catalyst for the Phillies’ comeback in Game 1. The hard-hitting outfielder eventually flew out to end the inning and Verlander exited the game after five innings, having allowed one run four hits and four walks.

Both teams failed to score for two innings thereafter before scoring one apiece in the eighth. If not for key defensive stops, both teams could have scored more, but the biggest play of the night didn’t come until the ninth.

With one out in the bottom of the final frame, center fielder Chas McCormick made a leaping into the wall to rob J.T. Realmuto of what would have been an extra-base hit. The catch stymied the Phillies’ final rally bid and allowed Houston to take the 3-2 win.

“I wanted to lay there longer,” McCormick said after the game. “If it were the last out, I would’ve laid there all night.”

With the help of McCormick and a massive defense effort, the Astros are now one game away from their second World Series title in franchise history. They will play at home Saturday in Game 6, and if needed, will also play in Minute Maid Park for Game 7 on Sunday to decide the championship.

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