By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Kyle Tucker got the fans jumping with a leadoff homer in the second inning. Then he hit a three-run drive in the third.
Ahead 5-0, the Houston Astros finally were going to win a World Series opener.
Instead, Tucker’s first two Series home runs weren’t quite enough.
J.T. Realmuto tied the score with a two-run double off ace Justin Verlander in the fifth, then hit a go-ahead home run in the 10th that lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-5 victory Friday night.
Tucker had gone without an RBI in last year’s six-game Series loss to Atlanta.
He went deep in Game 2 of this year’s AL Division Series against Seattle and put the Astros ahead against Philadelphia when he drove a changeup from Phillies starter Aaron Nola into the right-field seats.
Then in the third, Tucker capped a seven-pitch at-bat by sending a sinker from Nola soaring into Houston’s bullpen. He flipped his bat toward the Astros’ dugout and shouted in glee while rounding the bases.
“Kyle, he’s been fantastic for us all year. Should probably win a Silver Slugger. One of the best hitters in baseball. So I don’t think anybody’s surprised in our locker room,” Verlander said.
Tucker also singled in the eighth, but in the 10th he came up short. Realmuto hit an opposite-field drive against Luis Garcia leading off, and the ball went just over the glove of a leaping Tucker at the right-field wall.
In the bottom half, he came to the plate with one out following Alex Bregman’s double off David Robertson and struck out.
Aledmys Diaz hit a game-ending grounder with runners at second and third, and the Astros lost Game 1 of the Series just as they did in 2005, 2017, 2019 and last year.
“I think this team, we have an ability when our back’s against the wall to play our best baseball,” Verlander said. “I expect nothing different moving forward from everybody in this locker room, including myself. And hopefully I get another opportunity to pitch and can do better.”
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