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World Series Game 5: Astros Force Return to Houston

Phil Niekro statue outside entrance to Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia on March 26, 2020.

World Series Game 5 opened with the Atlanta Baseball Team one game away from clinching a championship on their home field. If Houston managed to fend off elimination, the series would return to Houston for the closing games.

After opening Game 4 with a rookie pitcher, Atlanta sent another rookie, Tucker Davidson, to the mound to start the game. Davidson replaced Charlie Morton on the World Series roster after Morton fractured his leg in Game 1.

Atlanta would suffer its own Halloween nightmare in Game 5: taking an early four-run advantage but coughing up the lead in a closeout World Series game.

Houston 9, Atlanta 5

Atlanta leads series 3-2

W: José Urquidy
L: A.J. Minter

Davidson worked a scoreless 1st inning and was the recipient of a four-run lead after Adam Duvall‘s grand slam in the Atlanta half of the inning.

This was the third 1st inning grand slam in World Series history.

Houston has allowed the most grand slams in a single MLB postseason (four). The previous record was two. Boston hit the first three grand slams allowed by Houston during the American League Championship Series, which they lost in six games.

Houston began chipping away in the 2nd inning, scoring two runs on Alex Bregman‘s RBI double and Martín Maldonado‘s sacrifice fly.

Jesse Chavez took over for Davidson in the 3rd after the first two Astros batters reached. Carlos Correa‘s RBI double and Yuli Gurriel‘s ground ball to short scored the tying runs.

In the 3rd inning, Freddie Freeman drove in a go-ahead home run to right field.

Pinch-hitter Zack Greinke collected a single in the 4th inning, his second hit of the World Series. He has two multi-hit postseason series exclusively as a pitcher: the 2011 National League Championship Series and the 2014 National League Division Series.

With two on and one out in the top of the 5th, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker ordered an intentional walk of Alex Bregman to load the bases for Maldonado, one of MLB’s worst hitters (73 career OPS+). Minter nibbled around the plate, plating the tying run in five pitches. Marwin Gonzalez singled to give Houston a 7-5 advantage.

In the top of the 7th, Maldonado added insult to injury with another RBI, on a single this time.

Correa singled in the 8th to drive in the Astros’ ninth run of the game.

Houston relievers did not allow any runs after Framber Valdez exited the game in the 3rd inning, sealing a 9-5 victory for the Astros.

The series will return to Houston for at least one more game. Game 6 will start at 8:09 PM ET on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Starting pitchers are TBD.

Featured Image: Phil Niekro statue outside entrance to Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia on March 26, 2020. The stadium is a ballpark and the home field of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves by Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com.

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