Houston goes up 2-0 in the series

Astros take ALDS Game 2 and commanding series lead on late offensive breakout

Houston's bats rose to the occasion again in ALDS Game 2 to beat the Chicago White Sox. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

With the lopsided victory in Game 1, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Friday afternoon in search of a duplicate effort to grab hold of the series. Although it would be a much more closely contested game until the latter stages, Houston would blow things open late against Chicago's bullpen, sending them to a 2-0 series lead.

Final Score: Astros 9, White Sox 4

ALDS Series (Best of Five): Houston leads 2-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Aaron Bummer

Chicago strikes first, but Houston responds

In a reversal of Game 1, the White Sox grabbed the momentum by scoring the first run in Friday's Game 2. It came on a rough first inning by Framber Valdez, who loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a hit-by-pitch. An RBI groundout, which for Valdez was lucky to be only that thanks to a solid defensive play by Jose Altuve, made it a 1-0 Chicago lead before Valdez finished the frame.

Valdez rebounded impressively in the top of the second, striking out the side 1-2-3 on 14 pitches, getting each batter to swing and miss at his curveball for strike three. Houston tagged Lucas Giolito in the bottom half, putting two on base before getting an RBI single by Kyle Tucker and sacrifice fly by Chas McCormick, taking a 2-1 lead heading to the third.

White Sox put up three in the fifth, but things get tied up again

Both teams wasted an opportunity across the bottom of the third and top of the fourth, with the Astros putting runners on second and third with one out on a Michael Brantley double and Alex Bregman single, yet both would get stranded there on quick outs after them. Chicago notched a leadoff single in their half of the fourth, but after an unassisted double play by Yuli Gurriel, Valdez would get his sixth strikeout of the day to keep the one-run lead intact.

Chicago put together a big inning with the bottom of their order flipping over to bring the top to face Valdez a third time in the top of the fifth. A leadoff single started the rally, as then with one out, they would get a single to get the tying run into scoring position. Luis Robert capitalized, getting an RBI single to make it 2-2, and prompted Dusty Baker to move to his bullpen early.

Yimi Garcia entered but would give up two more runs charged to Valdez, an RBI single by Jose Abreu, and a sac fly by Yasmani Grandal, making it 4-2 before he would finish the inning. That put a close to Valdez's pitching line on the day, not the start he wanted at 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 69 P.

Now down two runs and with work to do, the Astros kept grinding in at-bats against Giolito in the bottom of the fifth. They worked a walk against him to lead off the frame, then with one out got another, as Chicago would move to their bullpen and eng Giolito's day at 90 four and one-thirds innings pitched. Another walk loaded the bases, bringing up the AL batting title winner of 2021, Yuli Gurriel.

Gurriel, having not recorded a hit in the first two games to that point, made his first an impactful one, sneaking a single past the infield to bring in two runs and tie the game, 4-4. That left them in prime position to go back in front, with a runner on second and one out, but a double play would end their threat.

Houston explodes for five in the seventh

Phil Maton was next out of Houston's bullpen in the top of the sixth, sitting down Chicago 1-2-3. Ryne Stanek took over in the seventh, and despite allowing a two-out single and walk, was able to get out of the inning and kept the score tied.

Jose Altuve led off with a single in the bottom of the seventh, which sparked an avalanche of Houston hits. Alex Bregman followed with a one-out single, then Yordan Alvarez followed with an RBI single to put the Astros back in front. They blew it open with two outs, with Carlos Correa lifting a two-RBI double, followed by Kyle Tucker, who put the exclamation point with a two-run homer to the Crawford Boxes.

Astros take Game 2 and a commanding series lead

Ryan Pressly, who had already warmed up to face the middle of Chicago's lineup, came in for the top of the eighth and, despite a two-out single, would get through it unscathed. After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Kendall Graveman entered to put the finishing touches on things in the top of the ninth.

He wouldn't have the cleanest inning, allowing a leadoff walk followed by a single, but went on to retire the next three batters to end the game. The victory puts the Astros in the driver's seat heading into Game 3, needing just one more win over the next three games to advance to their fifth straight ALCS as they continue their journey to the franchise's second World Series crown.

Up Next: The teams will have a travel day on Saturday before picking up with ALDS Game 3 at 7:07 PM Central from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago on Sunday. During the preparation for Game 2, the Astros named Luis Garcia, who went 11-8 with a 3.30 ERA in the regular season, as their starter. The White Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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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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