Braves vs Astros: Live Score Tracker


Framber Valdez induced more ground ball outs than any other pitcher in the majors this year. But there is a red flag so far tonight for the Astros: Valdez has only induced two ground ball outs through his first 13 batters faced over two innings. He is leaving pitches up and Atlanta is hitting a smattering of line drives and fly balls. In fairness to Valdez, he could have two more ground ball outs but for Ozzie Albies. The speedy Atlanta second baseman beat out a high chopper in the first inning that Valdez fielded on the third-base side of the mound, then Albies beat out another ground ball to second baseman Jose Altuve in the second. Atlanta leads 3-0.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Credit…Annie Mulligan for The New York Times

Atlanta is up 3-0, and it looks like Houston’s Framber Valdez does not have the same magic working that he mustered in his last start. Travis d’Arnaud started the inning off with an opposite-field single. Joc Pederson liked what he saw, so he did the same. With runners on first and second, Dansby Swanson hit a deep ball to center that was caught at the warning track but allowed both runners to advance.

Jorge Soler came up and hit a ball weakly to shortstop that allowed a run to score but also erased Pederson on the bases because of a baserunning mistake. Regardless, Soler is up to two R.B.I., which makes Manager Brian Snitker’s decision to bat him leadoff look incredibly smart.

Freddie Freeman drew a two-out walk and Ozzie Albies reached first with an infield single after motoring down the line while Jose Altuve took his time throwing to first on a grounder up the middle.

Austin Riley came to the plate with the bases loaded, but Valdez was able to strike him out to end the threat.

Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angels superstar pitcher/slugger, was presented with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award before the game. Ohtani, who hit 46 home runs and 8 triples while also going 9-2 with a 3.18 earned run average as a pitcher, received a warm ovation from the Houston crowd when he was introduced before the second inning, even though he plays for an American League rival.

“This award is not given out every year, so I know how special it is,” Ohtani said before the game. “I’m not fully sure if I really deserve it, but since Mr. Manfred’s going to give it to me, I’m going to accept it.”

Jorge Soler gives Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

It wasn’t as pretty as his home run, but a fielder’s choice got the job done.

The official scorer has changed the hit-by-pitch on Carlos Correa to a walk. Adjust your scorebooks accordingly.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Charlie Morton got his first out the hard way, sneaking a curve past Jose Altuve for an unexpected strike three of a player who has never struck out 100 times in a season. And the inning didn’t get much easier.

Michael Brantley followed Altuve with a single to right and Morton fell behind Alex Bregman, 3-0, but recovered to retire him on a grounder to first. That brought up Yordan Alvarez, the most valuable player of the American League Championship Series, with two outs and a runner on second. Morton appeared to want no part of Alvarez, walking him on five pitches with only the fourth pitch being anywhere near the strike zone.

Carlos Correa worked a full count and Morton hung a curveball that was initially ruled to have hit Correa but later called ball four.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Morton managed to Houdini his way out of the jam, getting Kyle Tucker to ground out to second to end the threat.

It’s notable that Morton held Houston scoreless but ended up throwing 26 pitches in a difficult inning.

It is incredibly loud inside the stadium, but much of it is the public address system pumping out music and the usual, “make some noise,” announcements. The P.A. system is louder than the fan noise, especially in the outfield seats, so when it is not active, the decibel level is not noticeably loud at all. Of course, Jorge Soler’s leadoff home run for Atlanta took a lot of steam out of the crowd.

Let’s briefly go back to Jorge Soler’s home run that gave Atlanta the lead that it has since grown. M.L.B. says it was the first-ever leadoff homer in the top of the first inning of a World Series Game 1. (Got that?) By the way, it came on a sinker that was moving 93 miles an hour, a bit slower than the first two pitches of the at-bat.

Supporters of the Astros and the Braves made their loyalties known at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The scoring started awfully quickly. On the third pitch he saw, Jorge Soler, Atlanta’s leadoff batter, unloaded on a 93-mile-per-hour sinker, sending it 382 feet and over the high wall in left field for an immediate 1-0 lead. Three batters later, Austin Riley doubled home a second run.

Soler’s blast marked the first time a World Series began with a home run by the first batter.

It was a wild start for Houston’s Framber Valdez, who retired only one of the first four batters — and that out almost wasn’t one with Freddie Freeman barreling down the line as Jose Altuve made a slick play to retire him on a groundout.

After Riley’s double, Valdez settled down. He struck out Eddie Rosario for the second out and then got out of the inning when Adam Duvall flew out to right.

As we get started here with Game 1 of the World Series, we’re reminded that while this is the Astros’ third World Series in five years, their last Fall Classic victory here at Minute Maid Park was way back in 2017, in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (The Astros had home-field advantage in 2019 and lost all four games to the Washington Nationals.) That last home win was a wild one: Houston beat the Dodgers 13-12 in 10 innings on Oct. 29, 2017, in a game that featured seven home runs.

Austin Riley makes it 2-0 with a double.

Riley’s run-scoring hit brought in Ozzie Albies … and it brought out Houston’s pitching coach for a visit.

Jorge Soler started the World Series with a home run for Atlanta. But he’s had an odd month: He tested positive for the coronavirus during the division series against Milwaukee and only returned to the Atlanta lineup during the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Atlanta gets an immediate 1-0 lead with a leadoff homer.

Jorge Soler, making his first start since returning from the Covid-19 list, hammered a 2-0 pitch to left field.

Game 1 of the 2021 World Series is underway, with Houston’s Framber Valdez delivering a first pitch ball to Atlanta’s Jorge Soler. This should be a fun one.

Credit…Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The so-called Snitker Series begins.

Step into the visitors’ dugout at Minute Maid Park tonight and you will find Brian Snitker, Atlanta’s manager since 2016. Across the park, in the home dugout, is Troy Snitker, a hitting coach for the Astros and Brian Snitker’s son.

“I don’t think it’s anything we ever even dreamed of,” Troy Snitker said this week. “To be in the big leagues at the same time while he’s a major league manager and I’m in the big leagues here, just that alone would be very special — past our wildest dreams to get to this point to both win the pennant and get the face-off, it’s something that we never could have dreamed of as a family.”

Troy Snitker joined the Houston coaching staff in 2019. That was just a few years after his father, after decades of toiling in the Atlanta organization, finally got his shot at managing the team.

“We talked about this last night at dinner, how we needed to just enjoy this,” said Brian Snitker, who paid the check. “You’re never guaranteed this. Who knows when you’re going to get back? Enjoy it and relish in it.”

Their methods, some of which they said they had learned from each other, have been working so far: Houston led the majors in batting average, hits and runs during this regular season, and Atlanta managed enough victories to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

So it was hardly surprising when both men said that business would overtake the sentimental as soon as Game 1 started.

“Once this thing is tipped off and the first pitches are thrown, we have jobs to do,” Brian Snitker said. “It’s all about winning games. All this is great and everything, but like I say, we’ve got a job to do.”

Easier said than done, of course, for Ronnie Snitker, Brian Snitker’s wife and Troy Snitker’s mother.

“I think she’s decided she’s just going to cheer the whole time, no matter what happens,” Troy Snitker said. “She’ll probably cry the whole time, though.”

Minute Maid Park is getting very loud as fans settle into their seats and first pitch approaches. Both starting pitchers warmed up in their distinct ways before they head to their respective bullpens. Charlie Morton of Atlanta played a little long toss and then started an energetic knees-up, high step exercise before he resumed some short catch that stretched out to about 200 feet. Framber Valdez, the Houston starter, started off with a short game of catch with a heavy ball to loosen up his shoulder joint, and his long toss is something to behold. It looks as if he is firing little white missiles about 250 feet on a line.

Credit…Annie Mulligan for The New York Times

Credit…Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

HOUSTON — Eddie Rosario may be the hottest hitter on the planet, but after batting leadoff in five of the six N.L. Championship Series games against Los Angeles, knocking out 14 hits and being named as series M.V.P., Jorge Soler’s return to the lineup has dropped Rosario down to fifth in Atlanta’s lineup for Game 1 of the World Series.

The reason? Left-hander Framber Valdez is starting for Houston. The only time Rosario did not lead off in the N.L.C.S., the Dodgers had started lefty Julio Urias. Soler, who was activated from the Covid-19 list before Game 5 of the N.L.C.S., bats right-handed. Tonight is his first start since being cleared.

“Last time we did that, we scored the most runs we’d scored in the postseason,” Atlanta Manager Brian Snitker said, referring to his team’s 9-2 Game 4 win over the Dodgers, during which Rosario had four hits and four R.B.I.

Snitker continued: “Right now, I plan on going back to him leading off tomorrow. I weighed both things all night, and then just looking at how actually we could balance the lineup. Because this is the postseason. You never know what they’re going to do. Guys do stuff different than they have. And I find myself doing that. So you just try and structure the lineup for the game, for this one game.”

Atlanta also added outfielder Terrance Gore and right-hander Kyle Wright to its World Series roster in place of infielder Johan Camargo and right-hander Jacob Webb. Gore’s only major-league experience this season came as a pinch-runner in a division series against Milwaukee, and he was not on Atlanta’s N.L.C.S. roster.

The cloak of mystery that sometimes shrouds the beginning of a series was weighing on each manager’s mind.

While describing his workday, Houston Manager Dusty Baker said “you wait on their lineup, and they’ve added a couple of guys that we didn’t count on them adding. They changed their lineup. We can’t count on them. So you have to figure out a way to combat what they’re trying to do without changing too much of what you’re trying to do.”

The Astros added utilityman Marwin Gonzalez to their World Series roster in place of outfielder Jake Meyers, who hurt his shoulder when he ran into the outfield wall attempting to make a play in the division series against the Chicago White Sox.

“Marwin is a switch hitter,” Baker said. “He gives me a lot of flexibility in positions, and he has World Series experience so you know he’s not going to be, like, in awe of the game of the situation.”

Here’s the answer to our earlier question about pitchers (like Charlie Morton) who have started World Series games for three different teams since 1980. The other five are: Roger Clemens (Red Sox, Yankees, Astros); Danny Jackson (Royals, Reds, Phillies); John Lackey (Angels, Red Sox, Cubs); Jack Morris (Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays) and Curt Schilling (Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox).

Credit…Matt Marton/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

There are all kinds of M.V.P.s at this year’s World Series. There’s Freddie Freeman, who won the 2020 N.L. Most Valuable Player Award. And Jose Altuve, who won the 2017 A.L. M.V.P.

There are League Championship Series M.V.P.s (Yordan Alvarez, Eddie Rosario, Justin Verlander, Altuve, Dusty Baker) and an All-Star M.V.P. (Alex Bregman).

But if you ask Brent Strom, the Astros’ pitching coach, who his team’s M.V.P. is, he’d say Martín Maldonado, the catcher who was the second worst regular batter in the majors this season, and has been even worse in the postseason.

How does that work? Well, as James Wagner found out, Houston values Maldonado’s defense and his handling of the pitching staff so much that it is just fine going into every game knowing that his spot in the batting order will mostly likely result in three to four outs (he is 2 for 29 in the postseason thus far).

“People laughed at me when I said he’s our M.V.P.,” Strom said. “There was some stuff on Twitter, ‘The guy must be a drunk’ or ‘The guy must be stupid.’ But to me, he’s my M.V.P.”

But with Houston back in the World Series, even as nearly all of the team’s star pitchers have fallen away, Strom may have a point.

I’m very proud (OK, irrationally proud) of an extremely odd skill: I can name the starting pitchers for every World Series game since 1979, and every final play since 1960. Charlie Morton appears on both lists: He started Game 4 for Houston in 2017, got the last out in Game 7 of that World Series, and started Game 3 for Tampa Bay in 2020.

Morton starts for Atlanta in Game 1, making him the first pitcher ever to get the last out of the World Series for one team, then face that team in a later World Series. But there’s more, with a hat tip to Michael Medvin of the YES Network: Tonight, Morton will become the sixth pitcher since 1980 to start for three different teams in the World Series. How many of the others can you name?

Credit…Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Credit…Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

With Houston hosting Game 1 and enjoying home-field advantage, Atlanta will bat first tonight. But it’s a wonder Atlanta is even in the game; in fact, it’s somewhat amazing Atlanta made the postseason at all.

Injuries. Off-field turmoil. Early losses. They all fed a sense of disarray and disappointment around a team, seen before opening day as a contender, that did not have a winning record until Aug. 6.

“You know, even teams that don’t have great years get on a run, even the bad teams,” Brian Snitker, Atlanta’s manager, observed over the weekend after his team won the National League pennant.

“We hadn’t got on a run yet and we weren’t a bad team,” he added. “We just had a hard time putting everything together for an extended period of the season. But we were a good team, and I just kept thinking, man, our best baseball’s ahead of us.”

We looked at the ups and downs of Atlanta’s season — one with few rivals in history for such a wild path to the World Series.

Credit…Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images
Credit…Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

The experience gap in Game 1’s pitching matchup is wide. Atlanta’s Charlie Morton, a 37-year-old right-hander, is in his 14th season and has 16 career postseason appearances (15 starts). This is his third World Series, and in his most memorable postseason moment — which was his lone relief appearance — he threw four solid innings to close out Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, securing the Astros their first championship.

Framber Valdez, 27, is in his fourth season but had never started more than 10 games in a year until 2021. He caught on quickly, with a 3.14 E.R.A. in 22 starts. Like Morton, though, Valdez is no stranger to the postseason: This will be his eighth appearance (seventh start) over the last two Octobers; he won three games in Houston’s playoff run last year. While he got off to a slow start in the 2021 playoffs, his last start was an eight-inning masterpiece that was the longest appearance by any starter this postseason.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Watching the 2021 World Series is fairly straightforward.

  • Who: The Atlanta Braves vs. the Houston Astros

  • What: The 117th World Series

  • When: Game 1 begins tonight at 8:09 p.m. Eastern

  • Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston

  • Watch: The games will be broadcast on Fox and can be streamed on various services like FuboTV, Hulu Live and YouTube TV.



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