This series has just begun folks!
After last night’s pitching meltdown the Astros needed 2019 World Series Jose Urquidy tonight. And that’s just what they got. Just as he did in his 2019 win against the Nationals, Urquidy recorded the win, giving the Astros five solid innings, allowing two runs while recording seven strikeouts.
He even struck out the side in the first.
Three strikeouts for José Urquidy in the first. pic.twitter.com/BfXYZwG7jq— MLB (@MLB) October 28, 2021
If this game was a turnaround for the starting pitching, there were also encouraging signs of improvement for the hitting. After a miserable night in Game One, Jose Altuve had a double and a homer, ( the 22nd of his playoff career) scoring the first and last Astros runs. Carlos Correa broke his hitting drought with a single, leaving only Alex Bregman as hitless among Astros starters in the World Series. (Yes Martin Maldonado got a key hit)
The Astros struck early. It wasn’t a leadoff homer like Braves did last night, but a Jose Altuve lead-off double off Braves starter Max Fried was just as good in the end. Altuve scored after a Michael Brantley’s deep fly advanced him to third, and an Alex Bregman flyout sacrificed Altuve home.
The Braves tied the score in the second with one pitch, a Travis d’Arnaud homer deep into the Crawford Boxes.
But the Astros piled on four runs in the bottom of the second with four consecutive one-out singles. Jose Siri’s infield single, the third of the inning, scored Kyle Tucker. Martin Maldonado’s scored Yuli Gurriel, with a throwing error allowing Siri to score and moving Maldonado to second.
With two outs Michael Brantley hit in the fourth run of the inning with a single to right.
The box score records that Urquidy allowed an earned run in the fifth but that is debatable. The Braves scored after d’Arnaud led off with a single. With one out d’Arnaud advanced on a wild pitch that should have been scored a passed ball. Eddie Rosario next hit a grounder that advanced d”Arnaud to third, but without the wild pitch the grounder would at least have gotten the lead runner at second. Next, Freddie Freeman singled d’Arnaud home for the Braves’ second run. Without the “wild pitch” the braves would have stranded a runner at second with no runs.
Cristian Javier pitched a scoreless sixth inning replacing Urquidy and managed to pitch around a Jorge Soler double.
The Astros added a run in the bottom of the sixth but wasted a golden opportunity to pile on more. Yordan Alvarez opened the inning with a walk followed by a Carlos Correa single which chased Atlanta starter Max Fried.
Kyle Tucker grounded to second, advancing Yordan Alvarez to third, forcing Correa out at second, leaving Tucker at first.
In what could have been an inning-ending double play, the Astros scored another run when Yuli Gurriel grounded to short. Ozzie Albers dropped the relay at second, allowing Alvarez to score, with Tucker and Gurriel at second and first base respectively.
Tucker and Gurriel then advanced on stolen bases, leaving runners on second and third with one out. However, the opportunity was wasted, as Jose Siri struck out, and Martin Maldonado popped out.
Cristian Javier opened the seventh, and after a one-out walk to Dansby Swanson, was replaced by Phil Maton. Maton proceeded to retire the next two batters.
The Astros added another run in the bottom of the seventh on a Jose Altuve solo homer. The Astros again wasted another opportunity to pile on when five batters later Yuli Gurriel struck out to Drew Smyly with the bases loaded.
Manager Dusty Baker sent in the Astros’ #1 closer Ryan Pressly in the eighth inning to face the meat of the Braves lineup. He proceeded to chop them into ground beef.
Ditto for Kendall Graveman in the ninth as the Astros record their first win in the 2021 World Series and move the record to 1-1 as the Series shifts to Atlanta Friday.
A strong performance by the starter, another nearly perfect performance by the bullpen, and consistent hitting up and down the lineup.
Sounds like a formula for a championship.