HOUSTON – The nation is rejoicing this morning because Jason Kelce was wrong these days.

Everyone likes us. And yes, we care.

The Fightin’ Phillies have added another chapter to their fairytale season. They saw the Astros blow a five-run lead through the first three innings, but thanks to another episode of rookie manager Rob Thomson’s brilliant manipulation and utter disregard for logic and expectations, they came back to win 6-5 on Friday night.

Okie delivered the death blow.

With guile and grit that marks this season as the most exciting in franchise history, the team that fired its manager on June 3, the team that needed 160 games to return to the postseason with the first No. 6 seed in baseball history, won Game 1 of the World Series they have nothing to participate in. They’ve beaten the best team in baseball for the past six seasons, and they’ve won it in that team’s cartoonish home stadium.

They won when Jay T. Realmuto, of Oklahoma, made his Red River home team bigger than ever with a two-run double against Astros starter Justin Verlander with the tying run in the fifth and a slashing, carrying, a 3-2 solo homer by Luis Garcia to lead off the top of the 10th inning.

Leave it to the defenders.

Thomson was a catcher in his playing days. Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball. If he didn’t play football, Kelce would be a catcher.

This victory, this night, was a salutary elixir for near-death fun. The Phillies stole home field advantage for the fourth straight time this season, and it’s awful for Philly.

Thanks in part to the Eagles’ run in 2017 and in part to the Astros’ brash offense in the past, America is a nation whose World Series sympathies are directed at one franchise and one franchise only. The highly unscientific study — 100,000 geotagged tweets tracked by an online betting site — found that only six of the 50 states favored the Astros, who are in the series for the fourth time in the last six seasons. They won in 2017, but lost in 2019 and 2021, much to the delight of cheater-averse citizens.

The Phillies, with their scoundrel mascot, equally motley and hairy roster and team anthem surprisingly co-written by gay icon Robin, are baseball darlings. The Astros, meanwhile, are the villains. They are the Patriots of Major League Baseball: a well-built, well-managed, talented team that cheated to win.

It’s true that Realmouth’s home state favors the Astros, but it’s been a long time since he won state titles in baseball and football at Carl Albert High in Midwest City, and the Astros have been great for half a decade. Phillies and Marlins? Not really.

But Realmuto is part of a crop of hires that Phillies owner John Middleton has been putting together for four years. Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Game 2 starter Zach Wheeler, along with Rhys Hoskins and Game 1 starter Aaron Nola, create nearly $800 million in spending and a $245 million salary cap in 2022, the first time the franchise has topped the tax cap on the luxury of history.

A smart investment.

Because they are now three wins away from their third World Series title in their 140-year history.

Like many of the Phillies’ other big wins this season, it was unremarkable. They needed three big defensive plays from third baseman Alec Bohm and one from right fielder Castellanos, neither of whom were expected to play much, if at all, defensively this season.

Nola was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two career starts against the Astros, with 19 strikeouts and one walk. He went 62/3 scoreless innings on Oct. 3 in Houston as the Phillies clinched a wild-card berth. But he gave up five runs in 41/3 innings Friday night. The Raiders rallied with three runs in the fourth and followed with a walk-off double to tie the game at 5 in the top of the fifth.

Thomson then fired a big bullet in the fifth.

He’s used left-hander Jose Alvarado, who has been in late innings, as a killer over the past four months. Nola opened the inning with 76 pitches, giving up five runs, and was allowed to face right-hander Jeremy Pena. But there was no way Thomson was going to let him battle left-handed AL MVP candidate Jordan Alvarez.

It probably would have been Connor Brogdon if the Phillies were still trailing, 5-3, but when Brandon Marsh and Kyle Schwarber each doubled to start the fifth and then Realmuto plated them with another double, the game was a study in micromanagement. At that time Thomson needed 14 cars. In the end there were 17 cars.

Alvarado hasn’t been used in the fifth inning since May 30. Still, he got Alvarez and right-hander Alex Bregman out to end the fifth, got left-hander Kyle Tucker on a two-run homer to start the sixth and finished . Zach Eflin finished the sixth, got the first two outs of the seventh, then walked presumptive Game 3 starter Ranger Suarez, a lefty, because Alvarez was back in the bullpen. Suarez is a former player who closed out Game 5 of the NLCS, and he also shut down Alvarez with a wicked 3-2 cutter on the low black that Alvarez flipped.

Serantani Dominguez finished ninth. Former closer David Robertson finished in 10th place.

So JT Realmuto was the hero of the day.

And Rob Thomson as a super genius.