Astros erupt in Game 2, roll Braves to tie World Series

Houston’s offense comes alive, including Jose Altuve’s 22nd postseason homer, tying him for second on the all-time list.
The Astros' Jose Altuve watches his home run in the seventh inning Wednesday as fans in Houston rejoice during Game 2 of the World Series against the Braves.
The Astros' Jose Altuve watches his home run in the seventh inning Wednesday as fans in Houston rejoice during Game 2 of the World Series against the Braves. [ SUE OGROCKI | AP ]
Published Oct. 28, 2021|Updated Oct. 28, 2021

HOUSTON — Jose Siri launched himself headfirst into home plate, popped up with arms flexed and screamed with all his might.

Welcome to the World Series, rook.

The career minor-leaguer sparked a team whose biggest stars took a while to shine, sending Houston to a 7-2 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night that evened the Fall Classic at one game apiece.

Jose Altuve doubled early, homered late and scored twice to break out at the plate. Siri’s speed and aggressive play created havoc on the bases, leading to a four-run second that helped the Astros snap a five-game skid at home in the World Series.

It’s the first time they had won a World Series game in Houston since a 13-12 victory over the Dodgers in 10 innings in Game 5 on Oct. 29, 2017.

Altuve hit a leadoff double and scored in the first before adding a solo homer in the seventh as the October-tested Astros rolled past the suddenly sloppy Braves.

Jose Urquidy gave the Astros five solid innings for his second career World Series win, and Houston’s bullpen — already so important this postseason — did the rest.

“I was very focused,” said Urquidy, a rookie when he beat Washington in the 2019 Series. “I love it. I love the feeling.”

The best-of-seven series shifts to Atlanta for the first of three games Friday, with Ian Anderson scheduled to pitch for the Braves against rookie Luis Garcia.

The Astros jumped on Atlanta starter Max Fried for seven hits and six runs — five earned — in five-plus innings.

The score was tied at 1 when Tampa’s Kyle Tucker got things going in the second with a one-out single before advancing to third on a single by Yuli Gurriel. The speedy Siri, who made his major league debut Sept. 3, then beat out an infield single to score Tucker and put the Astros on top.

That made Siri the first player to debut in September or later and drive in a run in that year’s World Series.

Maldonado grounded a single to leftfielder Eddie Rosario that scored Gurriel.

The usually fundamentally sound Braves then misplayed things all around. Rosario threw to an unoccupied third base, and the ball rolled into foul territory, allowing Siri to dash home on the error.

“We just kind of got caught in between a little bit,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.

Siri stood at the plate soaking in a moment he thought might never come.

The excitable 26-year-old outfielder had been stuck in the minors since 2013 . Before Wednesday he was most known for almost knocking over 72-year-old manager Dusty Baker en route to celebrating a teammate’s postseason exploits.

The crowd, so quiet a night before, roared as Siri bounded toward the dugout. A fan in the lower deck displayed a sign that read: “Don’t Poke The Bear” as the Astros rediscovered their potent offense after Tuesday’s 6-2 loss.

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The Braves had a visit at the mound to try and regroup after that fiasco of a play, but Fried threw a wild pitch soon after it ended to send Maldonado to third. There were two outs in the inning when Michael Brantley singled to right, pumping his fist as he left the batter’s box to send another run home that made it 5-1.

Urquidy permitted six hits and two runs while striking out seven and walking none to rebound from a clunker in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series ­— five runs while getting just five outs against Boston.

Altuve’s leadoff double got things going for the Astros a day after the star second baseman went 0-for-5 in the first three-strikeout game of his postseason career. He advanced to third on a fly ball by Brantley before scoring on Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.

Urquidy got off to a much better start than teammate Framber Valdez did in Game 1. It was a low bar, though, after Valdez was rocked for a leadoff homer by Jorge Soler on Tuesday.

Urquidy struck out his first two batters before allowing consecutive singles to Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley. Soler then came to the plate, and Urquidy avoided the first-inning trouble Valdez got into when he fanned the big DH to escape the jam.

Travis d’Arnaud homered for Atlanta in the second to tie it. An RBI single by Freddie Freeman cut the lead to 5-2 in the fifth.

“Obviously, you want to win two. But if you get out of here with a split, then that’s a good thing going home,” Snitker said.

Altuve homered leading off the seventh, the 5-foot-6 second baseman curling the first pitch from Drew Smyly inside the leftfield foul pole for his 22nd postseason home run, tying Bernie Williams for second all time behind Manny Ramirez (29). Altuve has four homers this postseason, and 16 of his 22 career long balls over 75 postseason games have come at home.

MORTON UPDATE: Braves starter Charlie Morton went to Green Bay, Wis., to be examined by Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle orthopedic specialist. The right-hander’s right fibula was broken by a 102 mph comebacker off the bat of the Astros’ Gurriel during the second inning of Game 1. Morton actually went back out to pitch the third inning but was removed after striking out leadoff hitter Altuve. The 37-year-old Morton is expected to be sidelined until spring training. Left-hander Tucker Davidson replaced Morton on the team’s World Series roster.

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