ATLANTA (AP) — Rookie Ian Anderson and the Braves bullpen took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning, Austin Riley and Travis d’Arnaud drove in runs and Atlanta beat the Houston Astros 2-0 Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
Anderson and four relievers combined on a two-hitter.
Pinch-hitter Aledmys Díaz blooped a single leading off the eighth inning against reliever Tyler Matzek that dropped in front of left fielder Eddie Rosario, just 232 feet from home plate, for Houston’s first hit. Alex Bregman grounded a single through the wide-open side of a shifted infield against closer Will Smith leading off the ninth.
Riley’s RBI double in the third off Astros starter Luis Garcia put Atlanta ahead, and d’Arnaud hit a 437-foot homer off Kendall Graveman’s fastball in the eighth, d’Arnaud’s second home run of this World Series and first long ball at home this season.
Of the 60 previous times the Series was tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner went on to win 39 times — including six of the last nine.
Rosario walked leading off a 43-pitch half-inning in the third. Freddie Freeman singled and Garcia left an 0-1 cutter over the plate that Riley lined between Bregman and the third-bag, and down the left-field line for an RBI double.
Jorge Soler walked, but Garcia stranded the bases loaded when Adam Duvall fouled to first and d’Arnaud struck out.
The Braves, who stranded nine runners, improved to 6-0 this postseason at Truist Park, which opened in 2017 and where they have won 11 of their last 12 games. The Atlanta stopped a five-game home World Series losing streak.
Houston, the top-hitting team in the majors during the season with a .267 average, was limited to two hits, three walks and two hit batters.
Anderson, a 23-year-old right-hander, pitched through spotty control, striking out four and walking three. A.J. Minter and Luke Jackson followed with an inning each.
Díaz’s hit ended the longest no-hit bid in the Series since Game 2 in 1967. Boston ace Jim Lonborg pitched a one-hitter and allowed a two-out double in the eighth to St. Louis’ Julian Javier.
Pinch-runner Jose Siri stole second with two outs in the eighth and went to third when d’Arnaud’s throw skipped into center field for an error, but Siri was stranded when Michael Brantley popped out.
While the Astros’ Dusty Baker (72) and the Braves’ Brian Snitker (66) had the highest combined ages of World Series managers, they lifted their starting pitchers on the timetable triggered by modern metrics — after exactly 18 batters each, not wanting leadoff hitters to face the same pitcher for the third time.
In the Series for the first time since 1999, the Braves won in the Series at home for the time since the sixth and final game of the 1995 World Series against Cleveland.
Anderson had the second-longest no-hit bid by a rookie starter in World Series history behind New York’s Jeff Tesreau in the 1912 opener, broken up when Boston’s Tris Speaker tripled with one out in the sixth.
Anderson walked three, struck out four and hit a batter, throwing just 39 of 76 pitches for strikes.
Garcia gave up three hits in 3 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and four walks, throwing just 72 pitches and coming out after getting the first two outs of the fourth with just two pitches
This was just the eighth matchup of rookie starters in the Series, the first since Detroit’s Justin Verlander and St. Louis’ Anthony Reyes in the 2006 opener. None of the Braves had faced Garcia coming in, and Marwin Gonzalez was the only one to have batted against the Braves’ Ian Anderson (0 for 3).
Daylong rain stopped about an hour before the game, which started with a 49-degree temperature on a damp night. The Braves became the first team to host the Series in six ballparks after Boston’s Fenway Park (1914) and Braves Field (1948), Milwaukee’s County Stadium (1957, ’58), Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium (1991, ’92, 95, ‘96) and Turner Field (1999).
Major League Baseball held a pregame tribute to Hank Aaron, the former Braves star and executive who died in January. Hank Aaron Jr. threw the ceremonial first pitch, accompanied by mother Billye Aaron and siblings Gaile and Dorinda.
Baker had hitting coach Troy Snitker go to the plate to exchange lineup cards with his dad, Braves manager Brian Snitker.
Zack Greinke was expected to pitch Game 4 for Houston, while the Braves go with the first of consecutive bullpen games in response to losing Game 1 starter Charlie Morton to a broken leg.
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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press