Sports

Braves blank Astros to grab World Series lead


Atlanta Braves World Series

Travis d’Arnaud #16 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Guillermo Heredia #38 after hitting a one run home run against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in Game Three of the World Series at Truist Park on October 29, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kevin C. Cox / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Atlanta’s Ian Anderson and four Braves relief pitchers baffled Houston batters, surrendering only two hits in a 2-0 victory over the Astros on Friday to seize the lead of the 117th World Series.

Anderson became the first rookie pitcher with five no-hit innings in a World Series game since 1912 as the Braves grabbed a 2-1 edge in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven championship, which continues in Atlanta on Saturday and Sunday.

Anderson, a 23-year-old American right-hander, walked three and struck out four while throwing 39 of his 76 pitches for strikes.

Reliever A.J. Minter mystified Houston in the sixth and Luke Jackson kept the Astros hitless in the seventh.

But Atlanta left-hander reliever Tyler Matzek lost the no-hit bid in the eighth when Astros pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz singled on a fly ball to left field that dropped in front of Braves outfielder Eddie Rosario.

The only no-hitters in MLB playoff history have been Don Larsen’s perfect game for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series and the late Roy Halladay’s no-hitter for Philadelphia in 2010.

An Astros batting lineup hitting .276 in the playoffs with five or more runs in 10 games struggled to solve Atlanta’s masterful pitching until the eighth, when Houston threatened to tie the game.

Jose Siri replaced Diaz as a pinch runner, stole second base and took third on a throwing error by Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud. But Matzek got Michael Brantley to fly out to third base to end the inning with Atlanta still leading 1-0.

D’Arnaud smashed a solo homer for Atlanta in the eighth to double the lead and left-handed pitcher Will Smith entered for the Braves in the ninth to try and finish off Houston.

Alex Bregman led off with a single but Yordan Alvarez, Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker each flew out to end Houston’s final threat.

The Braves improved to 6-0 at home in this year’s playoffs in the first World Series game in Atlanta since 1999.

The Braves seek their first championship since 1995 while the Astros, in their third World Series in five seasons, won the 2017 crown but lost the 2019 title to Washington in seven games.

Anderson and Houston right-hander Luis Garcia were only the eighth rookie starting pitchers to oppose each other in a World Series game and the first since 2006.

The Braves tagged Garcia for a run in the third. Rosario walked and took second on a Freddie Freeman single. Garcia retired Ozzie Albies on his fifth strikeout but Austin Riley doubled down the third base line to score Rosario and Atlanta led 1-0.

Jorge Soler walked to load the bases but Adam Duvall popped up and d’Arnaud struck out to end the threat.

Garcia became the first rookie pitcher in World Series history with multiple strikeouts in each of the first three innings.

Relievers maintain magic

The Astros stranded two runners in the fourth after Alvarez walked and Correa was hit by a pitch, but Anderson kept Houston hitless and scoreless through four innings.

Anderson was the youngest pitcher since 1947 not to allow a hit in the first four innings of a World Series game and he retired the Astros in order again in the fifth to conclude his magical run.

Braves manager Brian Snitker removed Anderson for left-hander Minter to face the top of Houston’s batting order in the sixth.

Minter hit Bregman on the foot to give the Astros a base runner but kept them hitless and scoreless after six before he was removed for a pinch hitter.

Jackson, a right-hander, took the mound for Atlanta in the seventh and sent down Houston in order again. Correa grounded out to second, Tucker flew out to centerfield and Yuli Gurriel grounded out to third.

Not since the 1967 Boston Red Sox blanked St. Louis had a team held another hitless through seven innings in a World Series contest.

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