Realmuto, Phils rally past Astros in 10 to open World Series

AP Photo / Eric Gay
Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto, right, celebrates his solo homer with Philadelphia Phillies Bryce Harper during the 10th inning in Game 1 of World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday in Houston.

HOUSTON (AP) — J.T. Realmuto homered in the 10th inning and the Philadelphia Phillies, saved by right fielder Nick Castellanos’ sliding catch, rallied past the Houston Astros 6-5 Friday night in the World Series opener.

Down 5-0 early against Astros ace Justin Verlander, the Phillies became the first team in 20 years to overcome a five-run deficit to win a World Series game.

They can thank Castellanos for getting the chance. Known much more for his bat than glove, he rushed in to make a terrific grab on Jeremy Peña’s blooper with two outs in the ninth inning and a runner on second.

Realmuto, who hit a tying, two-run double in the fifth off Verlander, completed the comeback when he led off the 10th by sending a fastball from Luis García into the seats in right field.

Kyle Tucker homered twice for the Astros, who had been 7-0 in this postseason.

Houston had a chance in the 10th when Alex Bregman doubled with one out. After Yuli Gurriel drew a two-out walk, David Robertson bounced a wild pitch that put runners on second and third.

Pinch-hitter Aledmys Díaz was then hit by a 2-0 pitch from David Robertson — but plate umpire James Hoye ruled that Díaz leaned into the pitch and didn’t permit him to go to first to load the bases.

Díaz grounded out on a 3-1 pitch to end it.

The last team to blow a 5-0 lead in the World Series was the 2002 San Francisco Giants, who squandered their chance in Game 6 to close out the Angels and win the title under manager Dusty Baker.

Baker saw it happen again this time as manager of the Astros, by the same 6-5 final score.

The 106-win Astros hadn’t lost to anyone since Philadelphia beat them on Oct. 3 to clinch a wild-card spot as a third-place team.

Houston raced out to a big lead thanks in large part to Tucker’s two homers. But the Phillies stormed back as Verlander again struggled in the World Series.

Perfect as he took a 5-0 lead into the fourth, he exited after the fifth with the score 5-all. That left him 0-6 with a 6.07 ERA in eight career World Series starts — hardly the line for a pitcher who’s expected to soon pick up his third Cy Young Award.

The Astros fell to 0-5 in World Series openers and dropped their first game this postseason after sweeping in the AL Division Series and AL Championship Series.

Seranthony Domínguez pitched a scoreless ninth to get the win when Castellanos made another stellar ninth-inning catch this postseason, this one definitely a game-saving play.

With Jose Altuve on second base after his two-out single and stolen base, Peña hit a ball that came off the bat at 68 mph and went only about 200 feet. Castellanos ran a long way, then with a lunge made the inning-ending catch while sliding to the ground.

In the opener of the NL Division Series against Atlanta, Castellanos drove in three runs and helped preserve the lead with a somewhat similar catch in the ninth of that 7-6 win.

In the World Series for the fourth time in six years — and after losing to Atlanta in six games last year — these Astros are looking to give Baker his first title as a manager and get their second championship after winning it in 2017, a title tainted by a sign-stealing scandal.

The surprising Phillies, who have two championships, are in the World Series for the first time since 2009. They bounced back from a 21-29 start that led to manager Joe Girardi’s firing with a 66-46 finish to reach the playoffs.

They won their eighth pennant by dispatching the San Diego Padres in five games in the NLCS under manager Rob Thomson.