The Phillies had an opportunity to grab a stranglehold on this World Series after thrashing the Astros 7-0 on Tuesday night, but an embarrassing showing on Wednesday put them right back in a tenuous spot. Not only did the Phils lose 5-0 to knot the series up at two games apiece, but Astros pitchers completed a no-hitter, only the second in World Series history. 

Aaron Nola continued his ill-timed struggles, surrendering three earned runs in only 4.0 innings of work. He had worked out of trouble through the first four frames, but loaded the bases to start the fifth. Manager Rob Thomson kept Nola on an understandably short leash, and yanked him in favor of José Alvarado. Unfortunately, Alvarado’s recent dominance was nowhere to be found tonight, as he allowed all three runners to score, and then gave up two more runs of his own. 

That turned out to be the only offense in a rather unwatchable game, as the Phillies failed to muster a single base hit. Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper and Brandon Marsh each drew walks, with Harper and Marsh even stealing bases, but the Phils just couldn’t square up the baseball against Astros phenom Cristian Javier. Javier provided the first 6.0 hitless innings, while Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly finished off the feat. 

It’s a devastating blow for Phillies fans, as it means not only that the series will move back to Houston for at least a sixth game, but that we’re right back where we started at 2-2. Moreover, the Phillies look to be at a disadvantage in game five as Noah Syndergaard will start a bullpen game, while Astros ace Justin Verlander will take the mound. On the bright side, the Phils teed off on Verlander in game one, but who knows if lightning can strike twice.

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