World Series: Jorge Soler leads off Braves' Game 1 win with historic HR
It took three pitches for the Atlanta Braves to make history in the 2021 World Series. Then they took a 1-0 lead in the series.
In the first plate appearance of this year's version of the Fall Classic, Braves slugger Jorge Soler homered off Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez for an unprecedentedly quick 1-0 lead in Game 1.
Did we mention @solerpower12 is back?#BattleATL pic.twitter.com/WCITYISjr0
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 27, 2021
That home run was the beginning of a 6-2 win. It's the first World Series game the Braves have won since 1996.
Austin Riley added an RBI double later in the first, then Soler got another RBI on a fielder's choice in the second, Adam Duvall hit a two-run homer in the third and Freddie Freeman notched a sacrifice fly in the eighth. In the end, all nine Braves starters ended up collecting a hit.
Big moment for former HR champ
Per MLB.com's Sarah Langs, Soler's homer is the first time the World Series has ever been opened with a home run. Four leadoff batters had homered in the first inning, but it had never been done by a visiting team (i.e. the team that hits first).
The home run was of the line-drive variety, exiting Soler's bat at 105 mph with a 22-degree launch angle and traveling 382 feet. It was the start of a rough night for Valdez, who ended up allowing five earned runs and eight hits in two innings of work.
A former AL home-run champion with the Kansas City Royals, Soler was acquired at the trade deadline and has been the slugger the Braves were hoping for. He hit .269/.358/.524 with 14 homers in 242 plate appearances for Atlanta in the regular season and is one of several players acquired at midseason who have helped the Braves reach the World Series.
Big win for Braves comes with a cost
The Braves might have picked up an important win, but it came with some bad news.
Starting pitcher Charlie Morton, the team's most experienced postseason pitcher, exited the game in the third inning with an apparent ankle injury after taking a comebacker off his right shin. X-rays later showed Morton had sustained a right fibula fracture, ending his season.
Morton's exit leaves the Braves with a big hole to fill later in the series, making upcoming starts from Max Fried and Ian Anderson vital if they want to hold off a hard-hitting Astros lineup.
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