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Yordan Álvarez plays hero to strike first against 2021 World Series champs

Yordan Álvarez launched a mammoth homer to complete the Astros’ comeback against the Braves.

MLB: Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The winners of the past two World Series faced off on Friday night. Fortunately, the Astros got out with the win to open the series against the Atlanta Braves. However, it wouldn’t have been possible without Yordan Álvarez, Mauricio Dubón, and Hunter Brown. After losing 4-0 in the first inning, the Astros won 6-4.

In the ninth inning, the table was served for Yordan. With a tied game, left-hander AJ Minter was on the mound and he retired Jake Meyers for the first out of the inning. Then, Dubón recorded his third hit of the game but Alex Bregman followed with a line-drive out to left-fielder Kevin Pillar, who made an outstanding catch.

Minter was set to face Álvarez with good credentials, as he hadn’t allowed a hit against lefties after six plate appearances. That moment came. On a 3-2 count and after getting five of six pitches outside, Yordan obliterated a 90.4-mph cutter to launch a massive 405-foot, go-ahead home run that happened to be enough for the Astros.

It was Álvarez’s fifth homer of the young campaign and his 22nd and 23rd ribbies of the season to remain as the MLB leader, tied with Pete Alonso. In inter-league action, he’s a .309/.399/.624 lifetime hitter with 12 home runs and 31 runs batted in over 47 games.

That was the final stage of the Astros’ comeback after a rough start to the game. In the first inning, starter Hunter Brown was ambushed by the Braves’ four runs. But he was pretty dominant after that.

In fact, after retiring Sam Hilliard to end the first, Brown logged four scoreless innings, allowing only three hits. In those four innings, he gave up a walk, plunked a hitter, and struck out four. He went with the no-decision.

The scoreboard was quiet until the final third of the game. After Yainer Díaz and Jake Meyers’ clutch at-bats, Dubón connected for a game-tying double in the seventh inning.

Speaking of Dubón, who went 3-for-5, he became just the sixth Astros player to achieve a 15-game hitting streak in the last 10 seasons. The other ones are Kyle Tucker (2), José Altuve (2), Carlos Correa (2), Michael Brantley, and Yuli Gurriel.

We also have to mention the great job by Houston bullpen. After Brown, Phil Maton (1.1 IP), Ryne Stanek (1.0 IP), Héctor Neris (1.0 IP), and Ryan Pressly (1.0 IP) didn’t allow a hit, walked two, and punched out five Braves. Pressly got his first save of the season.

On Saturday, both teams will meet each other in the second game of the series (6:20 pm CT). The Astros will go with Framber Valdez while the Braves will have righty Kyle Wright on the mound.