Ryan Pressly five-out save in World Series Game 5

Philadelphia – As Ryan Presley walked off the field after the eighth round of the Game 5 World Championships on Thursday, he didn’t make a statement. Presley did not ask or accept congratulations from his teammates. He simply walked into the bunker, did not move his head, and sat down.

There was extra work to do.

Only later did the passion become inevitable. At the bottom of the ninth place, when quarterback Chas McCormick saved the match against an out-of-town scoreboard, Presley put his hands behind his head and stared in disbelief. Moments later, when Presley completed a five-point save in a 3-2 win over the Phillies to send his team back to Houston by 3-2 in the series, he pointed to the sky and hugged his catcher. Presley survived, putting the Astros in a position to thrive.

“Obviously, Ryan Presley, what he did tonight was amazing,” said primary bowler Justin Verlander.

From a close-up perspective, Presley’s performance was only the third time this year – including the playoffs – that Astros manager Dusty Becker had requested his closest relative more than three times in the game. From a wider angle, he displayed an uncharacteristic level of aggressiveness in managing a Baker’s game, which became a flash point for discussion when he allowed Verlander to squander his lead by five runs in Game 1 and left Lance McCullers Jr. long enough to allow five. House runs in game 3.

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Statistically speaking, the Astros entered this postseason with the best baseball game. In Game 5, Baker shows the world what can happen when he spreads it to the limit.

“I mean, it’s post-season,” Presley said. “You have to get out there and get out whenever you are asked to do so. … You have to keep going until you can’t go again.”

Thursday’s Baker operation may have ended Presley, but it began with the manager’s decision to effectively remove Verlander after five rounds from one ball. Instead of guessing how his ace might run as he neared the 100-pitch mark, Becker turned to Hector Neres for sixth. When Neres allowed a single, Becker quickly warmed up to Brian Abreu, who entered with two outsiders, survived the jam, and then flew into the heart of Philadelphia’s seventh-place request.

This button also works. Entering with the possibility of tying and pointing forward on base and one, Presley hit Brandon Marsh to lower Philadelphia’s booming win prediction from 46 percent to 30.

“That was big,” Becker said, “because with the sacrifice fly, the game was tied. We’re in their court. They get the last hit. So that was a huge strike.”

The next hitter, Kyle Schwarber, pulverized straight into the first base bag, where Trey Mancini—who entered the inning earlier after Yuli Gouriel injured himself in the rundown—managed to hit him for third. Mancini joked that he didn’t catch baseball as much as “handling.”

In the score box, Presley’s five points were strike-outs, ground kicks, hits, knockouts, and knockouts. Indeed, each one was an adventure, a story in itself. Combined, those five sets were Pressly’s second most memorized recording of all time. Pressly also became the second bowler to enter the post-season game with a single and multi-runner progression at base, needing at least five teams to win and taking on the task on zero rest days. The other was Hall of Famer Pete Alexander, who scored the last seven points of 1926 World Series Game 7.

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“We’ve been kind of keeping it at the moment,” Becker said. “We can tell the way things have been going and we may need to call him into action.”

For Pressly, a 10-year-old MLS veteran who has been a key part of the Houston game since 2018, these pressure situations aren’t necessarily new. But the way he responded to that very task, on this very court, with the help of Mancini and McCormick, was something completely different. When Jose Altuve bounced into double play to keep one game heading into the bottom nine, Citizens Bank Park came alive, creating the kind of hostile atmosphere that Philadelphia is known for.

Three times later, the stadium was quiet, save for the noise of Presley hitting his right fist on his glove in celebration. When asked later what he was thinking of in that moment of choppy silence, Presley smiled.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” he said.


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