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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Braves shut out Astros in Game 3 to grab World Series lead

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ATLANTA — The Braves’ run at history fell just short Friday night, but the consolation prize — merely a Fall Classic victory on home turf to take the series lead — wasn’t too shabby. 

No-hit fever gripped Truist Park into the eighth inning, after Ian Anderson, A.J. Minter and Luke Jackson had held this dangerous Astros lineup hitless. The Astros finally got their hit, and then another in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Braves in their 2-0 victory in Game 3 of the World Series. 

The Braves, ahead 2-1 in the series, won their sixth straight home game this postseason. It was the franchise’s first home World Series victory since 1995. 

Travis d’Arnaud provided a cushion for the Braves with a solo homer in the eighth. The blast was the second in this series for the former Mets catcher, who finished the night 2-for-4. 

Travis d'Arnaud, who also homered, celebrates a double in the Braves' Game 3 win over the Astros on Friday.
Travis d’Arnaud, who also homered, celebrates a double in the Braves’ Game 3 win over the Astros on Friday.
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The no-hit drama built until the eighth when pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz, leading off the inning, hit a bloop to left field off Tyler Matzek that landed in front of Eddie Rosario’s outstretched glove. 

Don Larsen’s perfect game for the Yankees against the Dodgers in 1956 stands as the only no-hitter in World Series history. Roy Halladay has the only other no-hitter in postseason history, against the Reds in the 2010 NLDS. 

The Braves still had a game to win, leading only 1-0. Jose Siri, a pinch-runner, stole second base against Travis d’Arnaud with two outs and advanced to third on a wild throw. Matzek, undeterred, got Michael Brantely to pop up for the final out. 

Will Smith was entrusted a two-run lead in the ninth — after d’Arnaud’s homer had provided insurance — and allowed a single to Alex Bregman, but escaped unscathed. 

Fans chanted “cheat-er, cheat-er” for Jose Altuve and Bregman among others throughout the night. It’s a chant the Astros have heard plenty, following MLB’s investigation that determined the team used electronic surveillance to steal signs during its ’17 World Series title season. 

Ian Anderson continued his strong postseason by firing five shutout hitless innings for the Braves in which he struck out four and walked three. The right-hander, fast an October veteran at age 23, has pitched to a 1.59 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in four starts this postseason. Anderson also started four postseason games for the Braves last year. 

Austin Riley’s RBI double in the third gave the Braves a 1-0 lead, but a wasted opportunity followed. After Jorge Soler walked to load the bases, Adam Duvall fell behind 0-2 in the count to Luis Garcia before weakly popping out. Garcia then struck out d’Arnaud to escape. 

Garcia lasted 3 ²/₃ innings for the Astros and allowed one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks over 72 pitches. The right-hander was removed after working through the lineup a second time, replaced in the fourth inning by lefty Blake Taylor, who recorded the final out after allowing a single to Rosario. 

Altuve and Bregman each drew a walk against Anderson in the first inning, but Michael Brantley hit into a double play in-between as the rally killer. 

In the fourth, Yordan Alvarez walked and Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch, but with two outs Anderson retired Kyle Tucker on a comebacker. Anderson worked perfect innings in the second, third and fifth.

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