Houston falls to beatable Arizona

Astros fall to D-backs in second-straight extra-inning game to even series

Houston's inexplicable struggles against struggling teams continued on Saturday night. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
After needing extra innings to beat the struggling Diamondbacks, the Astros hoped to rebound with a much more convincing win over Arizona on Saturday to secure the series win. Instead, Arizona would get the best of Houston in extras, tying the three-game set at one game apiece

Final Score (10 innings):
Diamondbacks 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 87-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: J.B. Wendelken (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Yimi Garcia (3-9)

Houston strikes first, Arizona responds against McCullers Jr.

After a quick top of the first by their starter, Lance McCullers Jr., the Astros jumped out to an early lead off the bat of Yordan Alvarez, who capitalized on a one-out walk by crushing a 453-foot two-run homer to straightaway center, putting Houston ahead 2-0. McCullers dealt with some traffic in the second, allowing a one-out double and two-out walk, but erased both to maintain the lead.

After a 1-2-3 third, things unraveled for him in the fourth, allowing a leadoff double that would result in a run on an error, then gave up the lead with an RBI double and RBI single in back-to-back at-bats to give Arizona a 3-2 advantage. He finished that frame, erased a leadoff double in the fifth, and then made it through the sixth with some defensive help. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 111 P.

Game stays tied as the teams go to extras for second straight night

Houston got McCullers Jr. off the hook in the bottom of the sixth, getting a single and double to start the frame to set up a sac fly by Carlos Correa, making it 3-3. Phil Maton was Houston's first reliever in the top of the seventh, and he would face three batters, getting two outs and allowing a walk before Brooks Raley came in to finish the inning.

Despite back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the seventh for Houston, they would come away empty-handed as the game remained gridlocked. Ryne Stanek was next out of the bullpen, and he sat down Arizona 1-2-3 before Houston suffered the same fate in the bottom half. For the second night in a row, Houston's closer came in to try and keep things tied in the top of the ninth. Ryan Pressly did it again, but so did Arizona in the bottom of the ninth, making it back-to-back nights with extra innings.

Astros fall in extras as Arizona evens the series

Yimi Garcia had the top of the tenth for Houston, but after allowing the free runner to score on a one-out single, he would give up a two-run homer to make it a 6-3 lead for Arizona before finishing the inning. Houston made it a two-run game with a pinch-hit RBI single by Jason Castro in the bottom of the inning but would not come any closer as the Diamondbacks would even the series.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game series will be a normal 1:10 PM Central start on Sunday. It'll be the battle of the Zac(k)s, as Zac Gallen (2-10, 4.44 ERA) will be on the mound for Arizona and Zack Greinke (11-6, 3.94 ERA) will pitch for the Houston.

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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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