How the Astros Won Game 5 of the World Series

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Nov. 1, 2021, 12:18 a.m. ET

Nov. 1, 2021, 12:18 a.m. ETImageAtlanta lost its early lead and its chance to clinch a title on its home field.Credit…Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dansby Swanson flied out to right. Pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza lined out to center. And with Atlanta down to its final out, Jorge Soler struck out to end the game.

Atlanta still leads the Series, three games to two, but the action will head to Houston for Game 6 on Tuesday, with the Astros now officially dreaming of a huge comeback.

Nov. 1, 2021, 12:09 a.m. ET

Nov. 1, 2021, 12:09 a.m. ETCredit…Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images

Houston’s offense had nothing else to add on its day of resurgence.

With Drew Smyly back out for the ninth, Alex Bregman grounded out to third. Martín Maldonado struck out on six pitches and Kendall Graveman, an American League reliever getting a very rare at-bat, made absolutely no attempt to hit the ball, watching six pitches go past him, three of them strikes.

Nov. 1, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

Nov. 1, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ETCredit…Elsa/Getty Images

Atlanta has three outs to go and a four-run deficit.

Austin Riley started the eighth by lining a leadoff single up the middle off Houston’s latest reliever, Kendall Graveman. Eddie Rosario worked his way through an eight-pitch at-bat but eventually flied out to center. And Riley advanced to second on Adam Duvall’s groundout to third.

With two outs and a runner on second, Travis d’Arnaud struck out swinging to end the inning.

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Oct. 31, 2021, 11:49 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:49 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

The Braves were 6-48 when trailing after six innings during the regular season, which made their Game 4 comeback, behind two home runs in the seventh inning, so surprising. Their record during the regular season when trailing after seven innings is 6-44, but after eighth it was 3-52.

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Back in the first inning, after Adam Duvall’s grand slam, I said Truist Park was louder in that moment than any stadium I’d heard around metro Atlanta. Now? Aside from a few moments here and there, it barely sounds like a regular-season game in here.

Credit…Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ETCredit…Elsa/Getty Images

Houston got some more insurance, not that it seems like it’ll need it.

Jose Altuve led off the inning with a single off Drew Smyly. He stole second on a play that looked a little fishy but was confirmed on replay review. Michael Brantley’s groundout sent Altuve to third and Carlos Correa’s single to left drove him home.

The badly slumping Yordan Alvarez struck out on three pitches and while Yuli Gurriel singled to center to push Correa to second, Smyly got out of the inning when Kyle Tucker flew out to left.

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Carlos Correa’s single makes it 9-5 Astros.

Yet another insurance run for Houston in a game that has silenced Truist Park.

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:31 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:31 p.m. ETCredit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Things have gotten awfully quiet in Atlanta.

Jorge Soler led off the inning by flying out to left against Ryne Stanek. Freddie Freeman grounded out to first and Ozzie Albies struck out on three pitches.

Down three, Atlanta has six more outs on offense to get back into the game.

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Oct. 31, 2021, 11:28 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:28 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Something to keep an eye on as Houston Manager Dusty Baker lines up his top relievers for the final innings: Ryne Stanek, who is on for the seventh, threw 15 pitches in Game 4 on Saturday. Cristian Javier, who had not been scored upon this postseason until he blew the lead in Game 4, threw 13 on Saturday. The issue may be the ninth when trying for a save: Astros closer Ryan Pressly tossed 33 pitches on Saturday.

“It’s kind of all hands on deck,” Baker said before Game 5 on Sunday. “It depends on Pressly because he threw a bunch of pitches last night. I had my eye on the board the whole time up there when he was closing in on 30 pitches in that second inning out because I think he went an inning and a third. But he says he’s fine.”

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ETCredit…Elsa/Getty Images

Drew Smyly came in to relieve Chris Martin and immediately struck out Yuli Gurriel. Kyle Tucker doubled to right and Alex Bregman popped out to third. With two outs, Martín Maldonado came through yet again, singling to left and driving home Tucker to make it 8-5. Smyly then struck out Chas McCormick, pinch-hitting for the pitcher Phil Maton, to end the inning.

Maldonado was one of the worst hitters in baseball this season, and had only one hit each in the team’s division series against the White Sox and the A.L.C.S. against the Red Sox. But he has three R.B.I. tonight.

Martín Maldonado’s single makes it 8-5 Astros.

The light-hitting catcher is up to three R.B.I.

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:08 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 11:08 p.m. ETCredit…Elsa/Getty Images

Adam Duvall struck out when Phil Maton caught the slugger looking at a 92-mile-per-hour fastball. Travis d’Arnaud singled to left but then Maton struck out Dansby Swanson.

Joc Pederson entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Martin, but he popped out to third baseman Alex Bregman in foul territory to end the inning.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:54 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:54 p.m. ETCredit…Brett Davis/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

That was a very quick inning.

Chris Martin got Michael Brantley to ground out to first. He got Carlos Correa to ground out to short. And he finished things by getting Yordan Alvarez to fly out to left.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:47 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:47 p.m. ETCredit…Michael Zarrilli/Getty Images

Phil Maton was the first Houston pitcher to work with a lead in tonight’s game. He held it.

Maton got Freddie Freeman to line out to right and he struck out Ozzie Albies on four pitches. Austin Riley laced a double to center that got all the way to the wall, but that was all Atlanta got because Eddie Rosario grounded out on a comebacker to end the inning.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:45 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:45 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Seven teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series. The 2016 Cubs were the most recent and before that it was the 1985 Kansas City Royals. Here is a quick look at the percentages when teams take a 3-1 lead in the Fall Classic. This is the 49th time in 117 World Series that it has played out this way. Of the previous 48 times, the leading team went on to win the World Series 85 percent of the time (41 of 48) and they won Game 5, 27 times.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:43 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:43 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

More on the improbability of the Astros’ three-run go-ahead rally in the fifth inning: Catcher Martín Maldonado, before his bases-loaded walk that tied the game, had one walk in his previous 46 plate appearances this postseason. And pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez, who gave Houston a 7-5 lead with a two-run single, last drove in a run on Sept. 20.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:36 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:36 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Tonight’s announced attendance at Truist Park: 43,122.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ETCredit…John David Mercer/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Atlanta decided to work around Alex Bregman in a tough spot, and the move proved fairly disastrous, as Houston is now leading for the first time all game.

Carlos Correa led off the inning with a single to center off A.J. Minter. After Yordan Alvarez struck out looking, Yuli Gurriel also singled to center.

Kyle Tucker grounded out to first and with two outs and first base open, Alex Bregman was intentionally walked, loading the bases.

The move to avoid Bregman was foolish, as Martín Maldonado was able to draw a five-pitch walk to force in a run and pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez singled to left to drive in two more and give Houston a 7-5 lead.

Minter was replaced by Chris Martin, who struck out Jose Altuve to stop the bleeding.

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Oct. 31, 2021, 10:30 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:30 p.m. ETCredit…Elsa/Getty Images

Rob Manfred could be in for a withering reception later tonight if Atlanta wins this game.

Booing league commissioners at trophy ceremonies is nothing new. Gary Bettman of the N.H.L. hears it almost every time he hands out the Stanley Cup and Roger Goodell, the N.F.L. commissioner, heard loud, sustained boos from New England fans when the Patriots won the Super Bowl in the 2016 season. They were upset at Goodell because he suspended Tom Brady, their quarterback at the time, for four games at the outset of the season for conspiring to deflate footballs against the rules.

All of that could pale in comparison to what Manfred could hear if Atlanta wins the World Series tonight. Manfred is disliked in Atlanta because he ordered the All-Star Game to be moved out of Atlanta to voice Major League Baseball’s opposition to a Georgia voting law that many say will suppress votes from people of color. Some Georgians agreed with the decision to move the game to Denver, but many ardent Braves fans did not.

Astros take 7-5 lead on Marwin Gonzalez’s 2-run single.

The pinch-hitter got his first hit since Oct. 3, putting Houston ahead for the first time tonight.

Martín Maldonado draws a bases loaded walk, making it 5-5.

Atlanta had walked Alex Bregman to load the bases ahead of Maldonado’s R.B.I. walk.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:10 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:10 p.m. ETCredit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Jose Urquidy, who had been Houston’s starter in Game 2, came on in relief of Yimi Garcia. He allowed a leadoff single to Travis d’Arnaud but then got Dansby Swanson to fly out to center.

A.J. Minter, a lefty reliever, tried to bunt d’Arnaud over to second, but he is not exactly Zack Greinke with the bat and he popped out to catcher Martín Maldonado.

That brought up Jorge Soler, who hit a rocket of a foul ball into the left field stands but ultimately grounded into a force out to end the inning.

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Oct. 31, 2021, 10:09 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:09 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Some fun with numbers: After his single in the top of the fourth inning, Zack Greinke is now 7 for 26 at the plate in his career in the postseason. How does that compare with other notable players? Alex Bregman, Greinke’s Astros teammate is 2 for 16 this postseason.

Mike Trout, a three-time American League Most Valuable Player with the Los Angeles Angels has a career line of 1 for 12 in the postseason and Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters of all time was 5 for 25.

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:02 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:02 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Dusty Baker sent pitcher Zack Greinke in as a pinch-hitter. The last pitcher to pinch hit in a World Series was Clayton Kershaw in the 18-inning Game 3 vs. the Boston Red Sox in 2018. Greinke was stranded when Jose Altuve popped out and Michael Brantley struck out, but the move allowed Baker to save his better pinch hitters for later in the game with runners on base — if that situation comes up.

Credit…Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:01 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 10:01 p.m. ETCredit…Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta worked around a pinch-hit single in a scoreless inning.

Martín Maldonado grounded up the middle and second baseman Ozzie Albies, who was shifted over to the third-base side of the bag, was able to range over to his left and throw him out.

Zack Greinke, the starting pitcher who had singled in Game 4, came in as a pinch-hitter for Yimi Garcia and … singled again, this one on a liner to right. (It seems like someone told Greinke that pitchers likely won’t hit next season.)

Jesse Chavez got Jose Altuve to fly out to right and with that his day was done. The left-hander A.J. Minter was brought in to face the left-handed Michael Brantley, and the move worked to perfection as Minter ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout.

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Oct. 31, 2021, 9:56 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:56 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Atlanta has summoned A.J. Minter, its third pitcher of the night. Jesse Chavez went one and two-thirds innings, surrendering two hits and a walk. Zack Greinke, who is standing on first, is his responsibility.

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Atlanta star outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., who has been out since July with a torn anterior cruciate ligament that required surgery, has been watching Game 5 with his teammates while hanging over the dugout railing. After the third inning was over, he walked through the dugout and exchanged fist bumps with star first baseman Freddie Freeman, who homered to give Atlanta a 5-4 lead. Last week, we caught up with Acuña, one of the most electrifying players in baseball and the best on his own team, about what it like to watch instead of play in the World Series.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Yimi García is done. The pinch-hitter was… another pitcher! Zack Greinke, who singled to center last night, just picked up a base hit to right. All of this right before the universal designated hitter could become a permanent thing.

Credit…Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:48 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:48 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Not exactly an in-and-out start to the night for Yimi García: It took 12 pitches to retire Adam Duvall, who managed to hit six pitches foul. But we saw a lot of variety from García, who showed off his curve, slider, sinker and four-seam fastball. Then again, if it takes 12 pitches, you’ve got plenty of time to show your stuff.

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:47 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:47 p.m. ET

The game did not stay tied for long. Freddie Freeman worked a full count and then turned on a 95-mile-per-hour sinker, sending it 460 feet into the stands in right-center and making it 5-4.

Framber Valdez managed to keep his cool for the most part. He got Ozzie Albies to ground out to third and Austin Riley to ground out to short. Eddie Rosario drew a walk, and rather than letting Valdez pitch to Adam Duvall (who hit a grand slam against him earlier in the game), Houston Manager Dusty Baker replaced his starter with Yimi Garcia.

Garcia and Duvall absolutely battled in a 12-pitch at-bat, but Garcia won, getting out of the inning when Duvall popped out to Carlos Correa at shortstop.

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Oct. 31, 2021, 9:39 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:39 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Moving Alex Bregman down in the batting order has already paid off for Dusty Baker and the Astros. Bregman, who went into the game batting 1 for 14 in the World Series, hit a run-scoring double in the second inning, his first extra-base hit of the series. He popped out in the top of the third, but then made a terrific defensive play in the bottom half of the inning, fielding a chopper from Ozzie Albies with his bare hand and then making a strong, accurate throw to first base to beat the swift runner.

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:38 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:38 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

That’s it for Houston’s Framber Valdez after 47 pitches. He gave up five runs and four hits, and the runner on first, Eddie Rosario, is his responsibility. Two outs in the bottom of the third as Yimi García climbs the mound here.

Credit…Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:38 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:38 p.m. ET

Reporting from Truist Park

Atlanta has a chance to win a title today and not travel to Houston for a Game 6. With a three-games-to-one lead in the series, Atlanta Manager Brian Snitker has the leeway to be aggressive. He was perhaps too slow in his removal of the rookie Tucker Davidson. And Davidson and the reliever Jesse Chavez gave up the big lead.

An inning later, Freddie Freeman’s solo home run erased those miscues and gave Atlanta a 5-4 lead. But how aggressive Snitker is the rest of the game should be watched.

Freddie Freeman’s blast to right-center makes it 5-4.

Atlanta’s first baseman worked a full-count and then crushed the ball, breaking up the tie.

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:27 p.m. ET

Oct. 31, 2021, 9:27 p.m. ETCredit…Brett Davis/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Houston has made this a new ballgame, chasing Atlanta’s starter and tying the score at 4-4.

Leading off, Jose Altuve was able to reach first on an error when Dansby Swanson charged the ball but ended up having it squirt out of his glove. Michael Brantley drew a walk and that was it for Tucker Davidson, who had performed well enough considering the circumstances of his emergency start.

But Jesse Chavez inherited quite a challenge with runners on first and second and no outs and Carlos Correa immediately delivered with a double to center that brought Altuve home, narrowing the gap to 4-3.

Chavez got Yordan Alvarez to fly out to center but Yuli Gurriel’s grounder to short allowed Brantley to score, tying the game.

Kyle Tucker walked, putting runners on the corners, but Chavez got out of the inning when Alex Bregman flew out to left.

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