HOUSTON – With starter Charlie Morton out of action with a broken leg in the third inning, manager Brian Snitker once again had to go to his bullpen to win a game this postseason.
The relief allowed two runs in the final 6.2 innings and home runs by Cuban Jorge Soler and American Adam Duvall led five touchdowns in the first three innings as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 1 on Tuesday. of the Fall Classic of 2021.
A total of 42,825 fans packed into Minute Maid Park at the start of the 117th edition of the World Series and the first between two franchises combining for four titles and 206 major league seasons.
Game 2, on Wednesday, will face Max Fried with Mexico’s José Urquidy.
Soler drove the ball out of the park on the third pitch by Dominican left-hander Framber Valdez, becoming the first player to hit a home run in the first appearance of the entire World Series. 3B Austin Riley hit a one-run double in the first and Duvall a two-run home run in the third to sentenced Valdez, who had eight hits and five runs in two innings.
“Really? Wow, I didn’t know that,” Soler said of his historic home run. “It feels super good to win the first game in someone else’s yard. Whoever hits first hits several times,” added the Cuban, after hitting 5-2 with two RBIs.
Morton, who did not allow a run, was hit in the ankle by a ground run by first baseman Yuli Gurriel beginning the close of the second inning. The right-hander stayed in the game, but had to quit in the third inning due to pain and swelling.
After subjecting the pitcher to medical tests at the stadium, the Braves reported that Morton was out for the remainder of the fall classic.
“Morton underwent X-rays tonight that revealed a fractured right fibula. He will miss the remainder of the World Series and is expected to be ready for spring training in 2022,” the team said in a statement.
“We’ve been through this many times this year,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Losing key components for our club. I mean, really key components. We are going to continue. It is not going to be an excuse or anything else. We are going to go out and keep trying to win games,” he added.
With Morton out and a lead on the scoreboard, the bullpen came to the rescue, this time ahead of schedule.
Three relievers (AJ Minter 2.2, Luke Jackson 1.2 and Tyler Matzek 1.1) worked more than one inning and closer Will Smith retired the ninth for Atlanta to go 8-3 in the current postseason and get its first win in a Series. World since game 2 of the 1996 classic against the New York Yankees.
Atlanta’s pitching has a 3.28 ERA in 96.6 innings since the postseason started. His starters have worked 46.1 innings, while relievers combined for 49.2, with 60 strikeouts and just 18 walks.
“Our bullpen has been great. It’s one of the reasons we’re playing ball this part of the season,” said Puerto Rican outfielder Eddie Rosario, who had two hits to reach 20 in the postseason.
Rosario, the MVP of the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, has had multiple hits in four straight games, the first Atlanta player to do so since Venezuelan catcher Eduardo Pérez in 1999.
The winner of the first game of the World Series has won the title 73 times (63%). That has been the case in 15 of the last 18 and 20 of the last 23 classics. It has also happened in 22 of the last 27 and 27 of the last 32 editions of the World Series.
While all of the Braves’ starting hitters hit hits (the fifth time that has happened in Game 1), the Astros had eight, but the dynamic trio of 3B Álex Bregman, SS Carlos Correa and 2B José Altuve left. 12-0 for just the second time in a playoff clash. Now Houston is 0-4 in the first game of the MLB top playoff game.
“Sometimes they beat you and sometimes you give them the game,” said Dusty Baker, the Astros manager. “We didn’t give them anything tonight. They beat us,” he added.