Altuve, Astros even World Series with victory

·3 min read

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What a difference a day makes.

A day after getting off to a horrible start and giving away home-field advantage, the Astros were able to put pressure on Atlanta early with a 7-2 victory over the Braves in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday.

Similar to how the Braves beat up on Framber Valdez early in Game 1, the Houston lineup was able to get to Max Fried early in this one. Jose Altuve doubled to begin the first, and he came around to score on an Alex Bregman sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 in the first.

That top-half of the inning wasn't great for Fried, but it was nothing compared to the struggles he dealt with in the second. Jose Siri beat out an infield-single to make it 2-1, and Martin Maldonado knocked in a run a play later on an RBI knock into left. Eddie Rosario -- who nailed Yuli Gurriel with a great throw (and with help by a slip by Gurriel on his slide) in Game 1 -- threw to third to try and throw out Siri, but there was no one covering third, allowing him to score. Two batters later, Michael Brantley roped a single to give Houston a 5-1 lead.

That was plenty of runs for Jose Urquidy, who was very impressive in his five innings of work to pick up the win. He allowed a solo homer to Travis d'Arnaud in the second and an opposite-field single that scored d'Arnaud in the fifth, but outside of that, the right-hander was impressive; striking out seven and pounding the strike zone with 55-of-74 pitches landing for strikes. It's a vast improvement to his effort against the Red Sox when he allowed five runs in just 1 2/3 innings, and Houston has to be encouraged by what they saw from Urquidy if/when he makes another start.

On the other side, Fried just hasn't been the same in his last two starts. He had allowed just nine total runs in his last nine starts of the regular season, and he has given up ten in those previous two outings. It's worth pointing out that there was a lot of weak contact -- particularly in the second inning where he was basically dinked-and-dunked to death -- but to say he wasn't at his best is more than fair. The good news is he threw only 86 pitches, so he could be available on short rest for Game 5, if Atlanta chooses to go that route.

The star of this game, however, was Altuve. Not only did he hit that leadoff double and score, he also lined a homer into the Crawford Boxes in the seventh inning off Drew Smyly to extend the Houston lead to 7-2. That homer give the former MVP 22 postseason homers, and that ties him with Bernie Williams for the second most homers in playoff games behind Manny Ramirez (29). Controversy is always going to follow Altuve throughout his career for reasons that don't need to be stated in this article, but the numbers are what the numbers are.

Thursday will be a travel day for the two clubs, with the next three games taking place in Atlanta starting Friday. Ian Anderson will be on the bump for the Braves, while Luis Garcia will look to match his impressive Game 6 effort against the Red Sox for Houston.

Quick Hits: Nelson Cruz was named the 2021 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award ... Craig Mish of SportsGrid reports that the Marlins are nearing a contract extension with Miguel Rojas ... According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the Brewers are extending the contract of general manager Matt Arnold. This news comes soon after Arnold officially removed his name from consideration in the Mets' ongoing search for a new president of baseball operations ... Scott Kazmir (hamstring) intends to pitch in 2022.