Houston Astros Alex Bregman hits a two-run home run during...

Houston Astros Alex Bregman hits a two-run home run during the fifth inning in Game 2 of baseball's World Series between the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Credit: Sue Ogrocki

HOUSTON — The Astros were decidedly nonchalant in their clubhouse about what on the surface seemed a crushing Game 1 loss in the World Series, one in which the Phillies rallied from an early five-run deficit against Justin Verlander to win in 10 innings.

“The guys in here are confident,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “You don’t win every one.”

It only seemed that way as the Astros opened this postseason with seven straight victories — three in the American League Division Series against the Mariners followed by a four-game sweep of the Yankees in the American League Championship Series.

The Astros, heavily favored in the 118th World Series, began what they hope is a new streak Saturday night.

Behind 6 1⁄3 terrific innings from Framber Valdez, three straight doubles by Jose Altuve, Jeremy Pena and Yordan Alvarez to begin the bottom of the first inning and a two-run homer in the fifth by Bregman, the Astros coasted to a 5-2 victory in front of another noisy sellout crowd of 42,926 at Minute Maid Park.

“It was a punch in the face [Friday] night,” Astros centerfielder Chas McCormick said. “Maybe we needed it. Sometimes adversity’s good for a team.”

After an off-day Sunday, the best-of-seven series, tied at one game apiece, will resume in what is sure to be a wild Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Halloween night.

Valdez, whose outstanding regular season (17-6, 2.82) was overshadowed to a degree by Verlander’s likely AL Cy Young Award campaign, allowed one run, four hits and three walks, striking out nine. He dramatically outpitched former Met Zack Wheeler, who allowed five runs (four earned), six hits and three walks in five innings.

“That’s the best I’ve ever seen him,” McCormick said of Valdez.

There were social media insinuations during the game that Valdez might have been getting some help by applying a foreign substance to the ball, but the Phillies didn’t share in those accusations.

“Nothing looked out of the ordinary to me,” Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins said.

Added manager Rob Thomson: “The umpires check these guys after almost every inning, and if there’s something going on, MLB will take care of it.”

Valdez described what had some on social media abuzz as “tendencies.”

“I do it throughout the game,” he said through his interpreter. “Maybe distract the hitter a little bit from what I’m doing. Like maybe look at me, rubbing different things, and nothing about the pitch that I’m going to throw. I’ve been doing it all season.”

Altuve, 4-for-37 (.108) in the postseason entering the game, started the first-inning double barrage against Wheeler, the first of his three hits on the night. Bregman, who homered once in the ALDS and once in the ALCS, hit a two-run shot Saturday to make it 5-0, and this time the five runs was too much for the Phillies to overcome.

Two pitches into the bottom of the first, the Astros led 1-0. Four pitches in, it was 2-0, and Houston added a third run on a two-out throwing error.

Altuve lined Wheeler’s first pitch to left for a double. Pena, the ALCS MVP, lasered his second pitch into the leftfield corner for an RBI double. Alvarez launched a 0-and-1 slider off the wall in left for an RBI double, making it 2-0 and rocking Minute Maid Park for the third time in about five minutes.

Wheeler finally recorded an out when Bregman grounded to short and out No. 2 came on a flyout to deep center by Kyle Tucker, who homered twice in Game 1. Alvarez alertly tagged on the play, which proved significant when shortstop Edmundo Sosa made an errant throw on Yuli Gurriel’s grounder for a 3-0 lead. Aledmys Diaz struck out to end the 19-pitch inning.

Altuve opened the fifth with his second hit. Two outs later, Bregman ripped a 2-and-0 slider to left to make it 5-0.

The Phillies’ Nick Castellanos doubled to lead off the seventh and scored on a one-out sacrifice fly by Jean Segura. Kyle Schwarber nearly made it 5-3 in the eighth, hitting a drive down the rightfield line that originally was ruled a two-run homer, but that call subsequently was changed to a foul ball. Schwarber then hit a drive that was caught at the rightfield wall by Tucker.

The Phillies’ Alec Bohm doubled with one out in the ninth and scored on a two-out error by first baseman Gurriel.

“This team has a short memory on bad occurrences and bad games,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You can’t bring yesterday into today or else it will continue.”

On Saturday night for the Astros, it did not.

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