HOUSTON (AP) — Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies actually looks up in a way to Jose Altuve, even though the former American League MVP for the Houston Astros is a couple of inches shorter than him.
The 5-foot-8 Albies said so many people had told him he couldn’t do the job because he’s small, and he points out what the 5-6 Altuve has accomplished.
“The first time I saw him, we said hi to each other. He’s actually a little smaller than me. I thought, if he can do it, why can’t I do it? He’s a guy I’ve always watched the way he plays. He plays hard,” Albies said. “He’s been one of the examples I always watch to do the same, try to do the same or even better.”
Albies had the upper hand in Game 1 of the World Series, going 2 for 5 with a pair of infield singles and a stolen base as the Braves won 6-2 on Tuesday night. Altuve was 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
The 24-year-old Albies was an All-Star for the second time this season, and led the National League with 189 hits in 2019.
Altuve, who is 31, is a seven-time All-Star who led the American League in hits four consecutive seasons (2014-17), leading the majors twice in that span. He was the AL MVP in 2017, when the Astros won the World Series.
There were a couple of historic firsts to open the 117th World Series.
Jorge Soler led off the game with a homer, the first time that had ever happened in the top of the first inning of a Game 1 in any World Series.
Atlanta went on to become the first World Series team to score in each of the first three innings of a Game 1, building an early 5-0 lead.
TRIO OF O-FERS
Houston’s big three of Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa were a combined 0 for 12 with six strikeouts.
Bregman was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, while Correa went 0 for 3 with a strikeout and a walk.
Houston has now lost five consecutive World Series games at Minute Maid Park. The Astros dropped all four home games two years ago against the Washington Nationals.
EDDIE BIG AGAIN
Eddie Rosario had two more postseason hits for Atlanta, and a tremendous defensive play as well.
When Yuli Gurriel just missed by inches a homer off the high wall in left-center in the eighth, Rosario fielded the ball and made a strong throw to second base to get the sliding runner for the inning-ending out.
Rosario, the MVP in the NL Championship Series, has hit safely in all 11 postseason games for the Braves after going 2 for 5 in Game 1 of the World Series.
He batted fifth against a lefty starter and with Soler returning to the lineup in the leadoff spot. Rosario hit .474 with 11 RBIs from the leadoff spot in the playoffs, less than three months after being traded by Cleveland, which sent the Braves money to take the 30-year-old outfielder.
Houston Astros right-hander José Urquidy was a rookie when he pitched five scoreless innings to win Game 4 of the World Series against the Washington Nationals two years ago.
“That game I was a little nervous. I mean, in the first inning, I think I was a little nervous,” Urquidy said Tuesday through an interpreter. “But during the second inning, I started to feel more confidence.”
In his only postseason start this year, Urquidy allowed six runs (five earned) in only 1 2/3 innings during a 12-3 loss against Boston in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series.
He will start Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday against Braves left-hander Max Fried.
“It means a lot for me for sure. It’s going to be a big game for me, for the team. I know that I have to win,” Urquidy said. “My last outing was for sure bad, I know, but there’s good days and bad days. I’m excited to compete, and I know that a lot of people are watching me for sure.”
Fried is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts this postseason.
“Max is the natural to go No. 1 in Game 2,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
STILL PART OF THE CLUB
Ronald Acuña Jr. is getting to experience the World Series with the Atlanta Braves, even though the star right fielder hasn’t played since tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament on July 10.
The Braves also brought along young right-hander and former first-round pick Mike Soroka (re-torn right Achilles tendon) and veteran catcher Stephen Vogt (right hip).
“We wanted everybody that had a part of this,” Snitker said. “I’m really glad these guys can be here to experience this with their teammates. Ronald had a big hand in this until he was hurt. I want them to experience it because they are part of this club.”
Acuña hit .283 with 24 homers and 52 RBIs in 82 games before getting hurt. Snitker said it is good that he can at least be with his teammates at the World Series.
“It’s like when you come here and you experience it, you do that, I want to remember that,” Snitker said. “I want to remember that feeling when we get to spring training, how hard it is to get here, how hard you have to work and be consistent every day in order to put yourself in this position.”
The retractable roof at Minute Maid Park was closed for Game 1 but is expected to be open for Game 2 on Wednesday. … The winner of Game 1 went on to win the championship in 73 of the first 116 World Series (73%), including 15 of the last 18. … Atlanta hadn’t played the Astros in the postseason since the 2005 National League Division Series, eight years before Houston moved to the American League. But the Braves were at Minute Maid Park last October, and swept their NL Division Series against Miami in three games when the playoffs were held in neutral-site bubbles because of the pandemic.
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