Padres strike back, tie series

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — The San Diego Padres avoided falling to a 0-2 hole as it erupted for five runs in the fifth inning to erase a two-run deficit en route to an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in their Major League Baseball playoff series on Wednesday.

With the win, the Padres tied their best-of-seven National League Championship Series at one game apiece while gaining the momentum before heading to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Friday.

The winner of the series will face either the New York Yankees or Houston Astros in the World Series.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the American League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory in Houston.

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander struck out 11 batters and gave up one run in six innings and Yuli Gurriel, Chas McCormick and Jeremy Pena all belted solo home runs in the victory.

Verlander notched his first post-season victory since game one of the 2019 AL Division Series and at 39 became the second-oldest pitcher in post-season history with a double-digit strikeout game, behind Nolan Ryan.

The game was tied in the sixth inning when Gurriel and McCormick homered off Yankees relief pitcher Clarke Schmidt. Pena led off the seventh with a homer off Lou Trivino for a 4-1 lead.

The Padres’ Austin Nola and Juan Soto drove in runs to end Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola’s day in the fifth inning.

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