(Reuters) – Houston rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena delivered two key early RBIs and the Astros emerged with a gritty 3-2 road victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday to move one win away from a World Series championship.

The 25-year-old Pena’s single to center in the first inning plated Jose Altuve to bring a hush over the anxious crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies, who were no-hit for just the second time in World Series history the day before, immediately responded with a solo shot from Kyle Schwarber to tie the game.

Astros veteran starter Justin Verlander pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning by striking out Rhys Hoskins and would go on to tally his first World Series victory.

Pena pushed Houston out in front again with a solo home run to chase Noah Syndergaard in the fourth and Altuve scored for a second time in the eighth on a Yordan Alvarez ground out for a 3-1 lead.

But Philly refused to go quietly.

Jean Segura cut the lead to one on a line-drive single to right field that scored Nick Castellanos and brought the red-and-white clad fans to their feet.

Closer Ryan Pressly entered in the eighth and struck out Brandon Marsh before first baseman Trey Mancini made a diving stop on a sharply hit ground ball from Schwarber to end the threat.

Chas McCormick made a spectacular wall-crashing grab to rob J.T. Realmuto of an extra base hit in Pressly’s scoreless ninth inning to end the game.

The Astros now lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 as it shifts back to Houston for Game Six on Saturday and, if necessary, a Game Seven on Sunday.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)





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