Five highlights from the Phillies’ first World Series win originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

HOUSTON – After the Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card series three weeks ago, Rob Thomson, bottle of bubbly in hand, stood in front of his team and said, “Eleven more.”

It seemed almost absurd to think that a team that had struggled so much in September and barely made the postseason as sixth and last in the National League could win 11 more games and become a World Series champion.

After Friday night’s dramatic 6-5 win over the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series, the lead was down to three.

Three more wins and the Phillies are World Series champions.


Let’s take a look at a few key moments from the Game 1 win.


Justin Verlander led 5-0 after three innings. His Hall of Fame resume says he should lock up the kid and take him to the bank.

But, as Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm noted after the game, “everyone is human.”

Verlander proved that in the top of the fourth, when the Phillies got a few baserunners on, got him in the stretch and rallied for three to get back in the game.

Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos and Bohm all hit innings. All but Hoskins went out with two cars. Castellanos’ single scored the run and Bohm’s double scored two.

None of that happens when Verlander snaps a line drive back into JT Realmuto’s box. Verlander had the ball in his glove. All he had to do was catch it and throw to first to double off Hoskins and end the inning.

Verlander appeared to spy on Hoskins and ended up dropping the ball, literally and figuratively. He had to settle for one out at first base, and the Phillies rallied for three runs after that to build confidence.

“I was outside,” Hoskins said. “Sometimes you have to get rebounds.”

Bohm added: “Looking back, in any game from 1 to 162, little things happen that change the course of the game. You take breaks when you can take them and keep moving.”

The Phils have had plenty of them this month — starting with their six-run ninth inning in a postseason game at St. Louis when Cardinals All-Star closer Ryan Helsley was hitless — and they’ve earned it.

After giving up three in the fourth, Verlander gave up two more runs in the fifth on Realmouth’s double. The Phillies are completely back on pitchers who led the American League in wins (18), ERA (1.75) and WHIP (0.83).

“We never panicked,” Bohm said of the Phillies’ first 5-0 deficit. “At that point, we don’t look at the numbers, we compete. If we sit there and say, “Verlander is on the mound, we have no chance,” why are we even here? We were sure. We felt good. Either we do or we don’t, so we might as well think we’re going to. Every time we go down, I feel like we’re going to come back.”


Bohm’s improvement at third base has been amazing this season. He went from cheerful and uncertain to confident and substantial in the field.

Bobby Dickerson, the best coach in the area since Larry Bova, has a lot of credit for that. He works with Bohm every day on every play you can imagine seeing a third baseman make.

One presented himself with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The game was tied 5-5. Two runners were on base behind Zach Eflin. Martin Maldonado stroked the ball toward the third base line. A tough game. Bohm made it look easy by catching him on the run with a backside kick and throwing a diamond on the run as his body reached foul territory. Bohm had the presence of mind to know Maldonado, the Houston catcher, was slow, so he bounced a solid one-hopper to first baseman Hoskins.

A huge game. Not sure Bohm will make it in April. But now it’s October and he’s a different player.

“Honestly, I play with Bobby five to 10 times a day, so I felt pretty comfortable grabbing him and throwing him on the run,” Bohm said.


Almost everything manager Rob Thomson has touched this season, and especially this month, has turned into a winning lottery ticket.

Driving like there’s no tomorrow, Thomson used one of his biggest at-bats when he walked Jose Alvarado in the fifth inning against Jordan Alvarez, an Astros slugger who hit .306 with 37 homers and 97 RBIs during the regular season. Alvarado won the lefty-lefty matchup. Two innings later, Ranger Suarez won the lefty-lefty over Alvarez. Clearly, Thomson is staying away from Brad Hand. Suarez was the presumptive starter for Game 3. He still might start that way, but Thomson wasn’t going to avoid using him in Game 1. Win today, worry about tomorrow, is Thomson’s approach, and he could be cruising down Broad Street in a week or about that.

“I thought when Rob brought Alvarado into the game in that big spot, I thought that was the key in the game,” Realmuto said. “We just scored those runs. We came back, tied the game with the ball. And he even said on the mound that he’s like, ‘This is the earliest I’ve ever brought him in, but those outs are huge here.’ We have momentum on our side, we need to get those outs against their three strongest hitters.” I thought it was huge. Not all managers would bring in one of their top guys this early in the game. And he just pushed all the right buttons from there and the guys responded. Everyone we brought in threw the ball well.”

The bullpen threw 5⅔ scoreless innings.

“Keys is the reason we won this game tonight,” Realmuto said.


There were other reasons the Phillies won, and one of them was Castellanos’ sliding catch from Jeremy Peña on a shallow fly ball to right with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

If Castellanos doesn’t play, it’s game over, the Astros win. It was similar to the catch he made in the first game of the NLDS in Atlanta. Games screensaver.

“Eerily similar,” Bohm said. “But I knew he had a chance because we played close with a winning streak on second. Usually that ball would go down and score a run.”


The best catcher in baseball. Ultimately, he was the main reason the Phillies won that game. He had a game-tying double in the fifth against Verlander and a solo homer in the top of the 10th against Luis Garcia to give the Phillies the lead.

Not since Carlton Fisk in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series has a catcher been hit in extra innings of a postseason game.

Remember Bryce Harper’s two-run homer in the eighth inning of Sunday’s NLCS clincher? (How could anyone forget.) Realmuto set the table with a base hit.

In the dugout before the top of the 10th, Harper reached out to Realmouth and suggested the pair team up for some more October heroics.

Harper laughed as he told the story in the clubhouse after the game.

“It’s funny,” he said. “We were sitting there before the fight and I said, ‘Hey, let’s do it again,'” Jay T said, “Why not.” And then he decided to hit a homer and I hit a single. We’ll take it.”

Oh, yes, they will.

The Phils are 4-0 in the first game of the season. All victories came on the road.

Zach Wheeler gets the ball Saturday night as the Phils try to turn Three More into Two More.

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