Anderson, Braves Silence Astros in Game 3 Win
After leaving Houston with the World Series tied at 1-1, the Braves looked to take the series lead with home field advantage heading into Game 3 in Atlanta. The team honored Henry Aaron, the late Hall of Famer, before Friday’s game. It was the first hosted by the Braves in a World Series since 1999’s Game 2 against the Yankees. On a cold, wet night dedicated to Hammerin’ Hank, it was the pitching that shined to give Atlanta the Game 3 victory. Behind Ian Anderson‘s five no-hit innings, the team took a collective no-hitter into the eighth as they silenced a dangerous Astros lineup.
Anderson started the game with a walk to Jose Altuve before inducing a double-play on a grounder by Michael Brantley. The 23-year-old right-hander walked his second batter in the inning when he allowed a free pass to Alex Bregman before Yordan Alvarez hit a sharp fly-out to left field. No other Astros hitter would reach base until Alvarez drew a walk in the fourth. Anderson followed by hitting Carlos Correa to put a runner in scoring position before getting out of the jam with a groundout by Kyle Tucker. After a clean fifth inning, Anderson had tossed only 39-of-76 pitches for strikes while generating just five swings-and-misses. Despite the no-hit bid, he was pulled after five innings before facing the top of the Astros order for the third time through. A.J. Minter entered the game in the top of the sixth and struck out two batters on 17 pitches, hitting one other in the process. Luke Jackson needed just 11 to get through a clean seventh.
Meanwhile, Luis Garcia got the start for Houston. The 24-year-old right-hander was coming off an impressing showing in Game 6 of the ALCS, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Red Sox last week. He went just 3 2/3 in this one, giving up one run on three hits and four walks with six strikeouts. Eddie Rosario drew a walk to lead off the third inning before Freddie Freeman singled to put Rosario in scoring position. Austin Riley drilled a 104.7 mile per hour grounder down the left-field line to drive in the first run for the Braves. Garcia would get the first two outs in the fourth inning before he was relieved by Blake Taylor for the final out. Yimi Garica, Brooks Raley, and Ryne Stanek would combine to keep the Braves at one run through the seventh inning.
Tyler Matzek took the mound for Atlanta in the top of the eighth. Aledmys Diaz pinch-hit for Martin Maldonado to lead off the inning and knocked a ball to shallow left field that dropped at Rosario’s feet for Houston’s first hit of the game. Matzek struck out Jason Castro, then induced two pop-outs to end the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Travis d’Arnaud gave the Braves an insurance run when he blasted a 112.6 mile per hour homer over the center-field wall off Kendall Graveman. The home run was the first by d’Arnaud in Truist Park this season, and the first Graveman had given up to a right-handed hitter. That’s postseason baseball for you. Will Smith took care of business in the ninth inning. He gave up one hit in a scoreless frame to close it out and give Atlanta a 2-1 series lead.
Braves manager Brian Snitker‘s decision to pull Anderson with a no-hitter will go under the microscope even further as the team will employ a bullpen game for Game 4 against the Astros on Saturday. Starting for the Astros will be 38-year-old veteran right-hander Zack Greinke. Greinke has given up two runs over just 2 1/3 innings this postseason. Can Houston tie things up to guarantee a Game 6, or will the Braves push them to the brink of elimination? Tune in on Saturday to find out.
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