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World Series Game 3: Braves Flirt With No-No, Edge Out Astros

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Don’t ever say home-field advantage doesn’t matter. The Atlanta Braves traveled home for Game 3 of the World Series on Friday and managed to no-hit the Houston Astros through 7.1 innings. Although Aledmys Diaz broke up the affair in the eighth, Atlanta still allowed just two hits while winning the game, 2-0. The Braves currently hold a 2-1 series lead over Houston.

Recap

Braves starter Ian Anderson walked a pair of batters in the first inning but escaped the jam on a double play and fly out. On the other side, Astros hurler Luis Garcia struck out two batters and walked one in the first. Anderson then recorded six straight outs between the second and third innings. In between, Atlanta threatened with a double and walk but was unable to turn it into runs. They did, however, get on the scoreboard thanks to an Austin Riley double that kicked off third baseman Alex Bregman and plated Eddie Rosario.

Anderson, still constructing his no-no, allowed a walk and hit batsman with two outs in the top of the fourth. Once again, though, he escaped unscathed. Houston replaced Garcia with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, opting to use Blake Taylor. He allowed a single to Rosario but then struck out Freddie Freeman to end the frame. Houston went down in order in the top of the fifth, then made a pitching change in the bottom of the inning. Yimi Garcia recorded two quick outs before surrendering a walk and single. Travis d’Arnaud bailed him out by grounding out. In the top of the sixth, Atlanta made a change, pulling Anderson after six hitless innings. A.J. Minter took his place; he hit Bregman but also struck out two batters, preserving the no-no bid. Taylor and Brooks Raley combined for three straight outs in the bottom of the sixth.

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Heading into the seventh with the no-hitter intact, Luke Jackson relieved Minter. He forced three quick outs. However, the Braves were unable to strike in their half of the inning, getting silenced by a combination of Raley and Ryne Stanek. Finally, Houston logged a hit in the top of the eighth as Diaz singled off reliever Tyler Matzek. Jose Siri entered as a pinch-runner, reaching third base, but he was ultimately stranded 90 feet from home. The Braves added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as d’Arnaud homered off Kendall Graveman. Then, closer Will Smith took over for Atlanta and, after yielding a lead-off single, recorded three outs and the save.

Statistics

Houston’s bats were silenced in this one. Only four starters (plus pinch-hitter Diaz) reached base through the nine-inning affair. Game 2 star Jose Siri also swiped second base. On a negative note, Jose Altuve struck out twice while both Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez stranded three runners on base.

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On the mound, Garcia didn’t look awful by any means, allowing just three runs on one hit over 3.2 innings. Although he walked four batters and secured the loss, he was able to strike out six. Even the Houston bullpen was fine. Graveman, the only other pitcher to allow a run, struck out two of the four batters he opposed.

On the Braves’ side, d’Arnaud had a big game, finishing 2-for-4 with a double and homer. He is now 5-for-12 with two home runs during the World Series. Rosario looked solid, reaching twice and scoring once, while Riley logged Atlanta’s other RBI. Every Atlanta starter (except Anderson) managed to reach base in the effort, which shows a sign of strength throughout the entire order.

From a pitching perspective, there’s little need to elaborate. Anderson and his relievers combined for a gem, taking a no-no into the eighth and finishing with zero earned runs and just two hits against a brilliant Houston lineup. While they did walk three batters and hit two, the shutout was a fantastic accomplishment and gives the Braves plenty of momentum heading into Game 4 at home.

What’s Next?

As mentioned after Game 2, even though Houston tied the series, the fact that the teams were returning to Atlanta offered tremendous momentum for the Braves. Indeed, they have secured a 2-1 lead and will look to build on that on Saturday evening. However, the team doesn’t have a clear starter for the game after Charlie Morton (fibula) was ruled out for the World Series, so it will be interesting to see whom Atlanta deploys and how that impacts the whole team.

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Of course, Houston doesn’t exactly have someone it can trust, either. The Astros will be rolling out Zack Greinke, who has allowed two runs on three hits over just 2.1 innings of postseason work this season. He has made two outings, including one start, but isn’t stretched out enough to pitch deep into games. It’s hard to imagine the 38-year-old will be given the ball for more than three innings even if he looks effective.

Game 4 is a pivotal clash for both sides. For the Braves, a win means they need to secure just one victory over the next three games to win it all. For Houston, though, winning this one evens the series and guarantees that they will have to return for Houston for a Game 6, at the very minimum.

Date: Friday, Oct. 30 at 8:09 p.m. EST
TV: FOX
Stadium: Truist Park
Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Astros Pitcher: Zack Greinke | 0-0, 7.71 ERA
Braves Pitcher: To Be Determined


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Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images

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