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Braves vs. Astros Live Updates: Houston Extends Lead in Sixth Inning

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If you blinked and missed Dylan Lee you’re not alone. The left-hander summoned to relieve Max Fried with two on in the sixth pitched a grand total of two innings in the majors in 2021. Atlanta signed him to a minor league contract on April 15 after Miami released him. A 10th-round pick in the 2016 draft by the Marlins, Atlanta called him up to the majors on Sept. 22, but shipped him back to Class-AAA Gwinnett three days later. Lee finally made his big league debut on Oct. 1 against the Mets.

Matchups are matchups, but a pitching change when Martín Maldonado is up is a little surprising. The defense-first catcher hit .172 this season, was 1 for 15 in the division series and was 1 for 14 in the N.L.C.S. Though, in his defense, he had a R.B.I. single earlier in this game.

Houston leads 6-2 on an R.B.I. groundout.

A dropped ball at second forced a challenge but the play was upheld after a review.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Houston is into its bullpen, with Jose Urquidy having performed admirably.

Cristian Javier was the first arm out the ’pen, and though he immediately struck out Austin Riley, Jorge Soler followed with a double to left. That proved to be a blip, as Joc Pederson flied out to center and Adam Duvall popped out to third, holding Houston’s lead at 5-2.

Urquidy, who was pitching for only the second time this postseason, allowed two runs in five innings. He struck out seven and didn’t issue a walk. He threw only 74 pitches.

Max Fried settled in beginning in the third inning of Game 2 and, after surrendering five runs in the first two innings, looks a lot more like he usually looks in Game 2s: Until Wednesday, he had never allowed a run while pitching a Game 2. Fried started Game 2 of a division series against Milwaukee, worked in relief in Game 2 of a 2019 division series against the Cardinals and also pitched in relief in Game 2 of a 2018 division series against the Dodgers. In his start against Milwaukee earlier this month, Fried handcuffed the Brewers over six scoreless innings. Over his three Game 2 appearances before Wednesday’s, he had worked seven and a third scoreless innings and struck out 11 batters.

Credit…Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Max Fried continues to deal. He got Jose Altuve to ground out to second, then struck out Michael Brantley on five pitches and finished the inning with a strikeout of Alex Bregman.

After a rocky start to the game, Fried has retired 10 straight batters.

For anyone wondering, no, Dusty Baker would not be the oldest manager to win a World Series should Houston end up topping Atlanta. Jack McKeon, who guided the Florida Marlins to a championship in 2003, was just a month short of turning 73 at the time. Baker, meanwhile, only turned 72 in June.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

In four and two-thirds innings in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, Atlanta’s Max Fried threw 90 pitches and allowed the Dodgers five runs on eight hits. After four innings tonight in Houston, he’s at 67 pitches and has given up five runs, four of them earned, on six hits.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Atlanta got a run closer, but couldn’t do more damage.

Leading off, Travis d’Arnaud ended Jose Urquidy’s string of seven straight outs with a single to center. Dansby Swanson struck out, and Eddie Rosario grounded out to short, but d’Arnaud advanced to second on a wild pitch and then to third on the grounder. Freddie Freeman came through with an opposite-field single that sent d’Arnaud home.

Urquidy got out of the jam quickly when Ozzie Albies grounded out to first. But a three-run lead is considerably less imposing than a four-run lead.

Freddie Freeman’s R.B.I. single makes it 5-2.

The 2020 M.V.P. went the opposite way to narrow the gap slightly.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Max Fried jammed Yuli Gurriel with a 93-mile-per-hour fastball, and the red-hot Gurriel couldn’t quite handle it, flying out to left. Fried struck out Jose Siri with a curveball in the dirt that had the outfielder flailing. Fried then struck out Martín Maldonado on four pitches.

Fried is suddenly just as hot as Jose Urquidy. He has retired seven straight.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Jorge Soler struck out swinging on five pitches, and then Joc Pederson did exactly the same thing (though Pederson’s third strike was a foul tip that Martín Maldonado was able to hang onto). With two outs, Jose Urquidy finished off a second straight perfect inning by getting Adam Duvall to fly out to right.

Urquidy has recorded seven straight outs, and he has six strikeouts altogether.

Credit…Tannen Maury/EPA, via Shutterstock

HOUSTON — If Game 2 — or any other game — is close in the late innings, Atlanta has a potential difference maker on its bench, in the speedster Terrance Gore. He was a surprising addition to the World Series roster after he spent the entire season in the minors before being added to Atlanta’s division series roster.

In fact, the addition was a surprise to Gore.

He was visiting his mother on Sunday in Macon, Ga., he said, when his cellphone started buzzing. When he looked, he saw a Game Plan app appear on his screen. That is the app Atlanta uses to send its players scouting reports, video, statistics and other information on its opponents.

“It only triggers if I’m active, involved in the game,” Gore, 30, said in Atlanta’s dugout before Game 2. “That’s how I knew.”

When he arrived at Truist Park ahead of Atlanta’s trip to Houston, club officials informed him that they were adding him to the roster. Gore told them he already knew because “y’all sent me the Game Plan already.”

This is Gore’s second World Series. He also participated with Kansas City in 2014. He has appeared in 10 postseason games in his career, stolen five bases and scored three runs as a pinch-hitter. He has fanned in his only two postseason at-bats.

“I’m having a lot of fun,” said Gore, who was not on the N.L.C.S. roster against the Dodgers. “I mean, it’s the World Series. How can you not?”

The experienced Astros are as comfortable hitting with two out as just about any other situation: They scored 27 of their 36 total runs in the American League Championship Series with two outs. In Game 2, they’ve scored two of their five runs through three innings with two outs and in Game 1 Tuesday night they scored one of their two runs with two outs. The 27 two-out runs in the A.L.C.S. were the most in a postseason series in M.L.B. history.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Max Fried stayed in the game after a difficult second inning, and his team was better for it. He struck out Yordan Alvarez on five pitches, retired Carlos Correa on a grounder to shortstop and got Kyle Tucker to pop out to second base to end the inning.

Saving the bullpen isn’t a huge concern, with Thursday being a travel day in the series, but not having to burn through a parade of relievers would seemingly help Atlanta keep things reasonable.

Jose Urquidy responded well to being handed a large lead.

He needed only two pitches to retire Freddie Freeman on a grounder to second. He also used only two to retire Ozzie Albies on a grounder to shortstop. He retired Austin Riley on a fly ball to center, but that at-bat took Urquidy three pitches.

Credit…Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Astros offense is asserting itself, with a little help from Atlanta’s fielders. Houston now leads, 5-1.

After Carlos Correa started the inning by striking out on four pitches, Kyle Tucker laced a single up the middle. Yuli Gurriel singled as well, sending Tucker to third, and that put him in position to score fairly easily on a soft grounder by Jose Siri that eluded Max Fried.

One batter later, Martín Maldonado, arguably the worst hitter in baseball, singled between the third baseman and the shortstop, driving in one run, and another scored thanks to an odd error. Eddie Rosario, who had fielded the single, saw Siri going to third and tried to throw him out — only no one was covering the base. As Atlanta tried to corral the loose ball, Siri came around to score.

Maldonado had advanced to second on the error, and he reached third on a wild pitch. The slow-footed catcher chose not to try tagging up on Jose Altuve’s fly-out to center, and that proved wise as Maldonado was able to score much more easily on Michael Brantley’s single to right.

Fried finally got out of the inning when Alex Bregman grounded out to third, but this game has suddenly tilted heavily in Houston’s favor.

Atlanta made it through 10 postseason games before the World Series with just one error. But the Braves committed one last night, and another tonight.

Houston piling on, leads 5-1 after Brantley’s single.

The two-out single let Martín Maldonado score easily.

Astros lead 4-1 on Martín Maldonado’s single.

One run scored on the single and another scored on a throwing error by Eddie Rosario.

Jose Siri’s infield single makes it 2-1 Houston.

Max Fried couldn’t field a soft grounder to his left and the bouncing ball let Kyle Tucker score.

Credit…Elsa/Getty Images

Staked to a lead, Jose Urquidy started well, but that didn’t last long.

He struck out Joc Pederson on four pitches and retired Adam Duvall on a fly ball to center.

The third batter of the inning was Travis d’Arnaud, who promptly tied the game with a 375-foot homer to left.

Dansby Swanson singled to left, but Urquidy got out of the inning when Eddie Rosario, swinging at the first pitch he saw, lined out to first.

Atlanta ties it at 1-1 on d’Arnaud’s solo homer.

With two outs, Travis d’Arnaud crushed a ball 375 feet to left, quieting the crowd some at Minute Maid Field.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Astros are the first team on the board.

Jose Altuve, who struggled badly in Game 1, opened this game with a double to left off Max Fried. When Michael Brantley flied out to the warning track in center, Altuve had plenty of time to advance to third. That put him in position to score easily on a fly out to center by Alex Bregman.

With two outs and the bases empty, Fried got out of the inning by inducing a soft grounder from Yordan Alvarez that Freddie Freeman fielded and tossed to Fried, who was covering first.

Credit…David Zalubowski/Associated Press

HOUSTON — The National Congress of American Indians criticized Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for his comments on Tuesday before Game 1 of the World Series about the Atlanta Braves’ name and the tomahawk chop, both of which are considered offensive by some Native American groups.

When asked about the chop, a chant and motion long used by fans and prompted by the team during home games, Manfred said that each of M.L.B.’s markets was different. He also said that the Native American community in the Atlanta region is “wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop.”

“For me, that’s kind of the end of the story,” added Manfred, later adding that M.L.B. wasn’t marketed nationally and that each club has to sell tickets to their distinct fan base.

The Atlanta team has said it has no plans to change its name. Asked if there was more pressure to change Atlanta’s name after Cleveland switched its nickname to the Guardians because the team’s owner said the longtime moniker was no longer acceptable, Manfred again said that every M.L.B. community was different.

Fawn Sharp, the president of the National Congress of American Indians, bristled at Manfred’s assertions in a statement released on Wednesday.

“Major League Baseball is a global brand, it markets its World Series nationally and internationally, and the games played in Atlanta this weekend will be viewed by tens of millions of fans across the country and around the world,” Sharp said.

“Meanwhile, the name ‘Braves,’ the tomahawk adorning the team’s uniform, and the ‘tomahawk chop’ that the team exhorts its fans to perform at home games are meant to depict and caricature not just one tribal community but all Native people, and that is certainly how baseball fans and Native people everywhere interpret them.”

Sharp said M.L.B. and the Atlanta team had the obligation to “genuinely” listen to tribal nations and its leaders across the United States about how the mascot affects them. The N.C.A.I. group has opposed Native American themed mascots for schools, sports teams and in general for a while.

“In our discussions with the Atlanta Braves, we have repeatedly and unequivocally made our position clear — Native people are not mascots, and degrading rituals like the ‘tomahawk chop’ that dehumanize and harm us have no place in American society,” Sharp said, calling for the team to follow Cleveland’s example, and for M.L.B. and FOX, which is broadcasting the World Series, to refrain from showing the chop when games are played there starting Friday.

Astros take 1-0 lead on Bregman’s sacrifice fly.

Jose Altuve scored easily from third on Alex Bregman’s fly out to center.

Credit…Doug Mills/Associated Press

The World Series is a best-of-seven affair. But to Tom Glavine, who knows championship pressure better than most, Wednesday night’s Game 2 is especially important for Atlanta after the pitcher Charlie Morton’s season ended abruptly on Tuesday.

“Tonight’s a pivotal game in the sense that, A, you can come home up 2-0, which is obviously huge,” Glavine, the winning pitcher in Games 2 and 6 in 1995, the last time Atlanta claimed the title, said on Wednesday. “But at the same time, I think it helps them manage the loss of Charlie a little bit better if they go up 2-0.”

When the Astros come to the plate in the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday, Atlanta will turn to Max Fried, a 27-year-old lefthander who will be making his eighth career start in the postseason and his first in the World Series. He struggled, though, in his most recent appearance, when he started Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers and gave up five runs, a postseason career-high, in less than five innings.

That, Glavine argued, might have Fried in a better position for a strong start at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

“His first World Series start will be a little bit different than anything else he’s ever experienced, but he has playoff experience to fall back on, and I like the fact that he didn’t have his best game last time out,” Glavine said. “I always feel better about guys like that, after they’ve had a little bit of an off outing, that the next one is going to be a good one.”

Fried said this week that the series against Los Angeles had been a lesson in “just trying not to do too much.”

“When I have more of a pitch-by-pitch mentality instead of an at-bat to an at-bat mentality, things can speed up on you a little bit,” he said. “To be able to take a deep breath and know that, if I make this pitch right here, that’s all I really can control in the moment and be able to just kind of go from there.”

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Jose Urquidy, pitching for just the second time this postseason, struck out the Astros’ leadoff batter, Eddie Rosario, on five pitches. Urquidy then fell behind against Freddie Freeman, 2-0, but recovered to strike out last year’s Most Valuable Player Award winner on a called strike three that Freeman definitely thought was a ball.

With two outs, Ozzie Albies tapped a ball down the third-base line that slowly rolled to a stop as Albies reached first for an infield single. Austin Riley followed with a single to right, but Urquidy recovered to strike out Jorge Soler and end the inning.

It wasn’t much of a threat, but Atlanta made Urquidy work a bit.

Game 2 is officially underway with Houston’s Jose Urquidy delivering a first pitch strike to Atlanta’s Eddie Rosario. Can Atlanta take a 2-0 lead on the road?

Credit…Chris Szagola/Associated Press

HOUSTON — Tucker Davidson was watching Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday with two team staff members in a hotel lobby in Gwinnett, Ga., near Atlanta’s minor league training facility. Early in the broadcast, Davidson saw Charlie Morton, the Atlanta starting pitcher, leave the game with a serious leg injury.

“We kind of looked around like, ‘This is why we’re here,’” Davidson said. “This is the reason we have the taxi squad, for this reason right here.”

Morton suffered a fracture of his lower right leg after he was struck with a batted ball in the second inning of Tuesday’s game, which Atlanta won, 6-2. He is out for the rest of the series and went to Green Bay, Wis., to see a specialist for the injury. Davidson, a left-handed pitcher from Amarillo, Texas, said as soon as he saw Morton leave the game, he had a gut feeling that he would get the call. He was right.

Within a few hours, he was told to get a plane for Houston early Wednesday morning and was at Minute Maid Park in time for batting practice before Game 2.

“It’s a huge deal,” he said. “It’s an honor to be here. Pitching in Texas is going to be awesome. I haven’t done that, I don’t think, since college. That will be a fun, unique experience. The opportunity to make my postseason debut in the World Series.”

Brian Snitker, Atlanta’s manager, would not detail how Davidson would be used, but suggested he could be available out of the bullpen.

Davidson made four starts for Atlanta this season before he was shut down with left forearm soreness. When he recovered in October, he was assigned to Atlanta’s alternate site and worked out to prepare for this opportunity.

“Reports were really good how he was throwing,” Snitker said, “and he feels good. He did a really nice job for us when he was here the first time.”



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