What’s Happening in Baseball Today
The First Pitch: October 27, 2021
The 2021 World Series opened with the Braves wasting little time establishing advantage—and keeping it from the first batter to the last. Jorge Soler took Houston starter Framber Valdez deep on the third pitch of the game, giving the Braves the quick lead and making Soler the first player to ever lead off a World Series with a home run. Atlanta added four more runs through the start of the third inning, knocking Valdez out of the box; from there, they breezed to a 6-2 Game One victory.
It was a group effort for the Braves; all nine of their starting lineup members each had at least a hit before the end of the fifth inning. Adam Duvall’s two-run blast in the third—ending Valdez’s night—was the ninth this postseason by an Atlanta player who didn’t start the year with the Braves. Eddie Rosario remained hot, punching out two more hits—and punching out the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel in the eighth on a throw from center field to second base.
The only sour note on the night for Atlanta was the early departure of starting pitcher Charlie Morton, who left midway through the third inning from an ailing knee nailed an inning earlier by a comebacker; turns out that he pitched to three additional batters before leaving with a fractured knee. He’ll miss the rest of the series.
In defeat, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez connected on his second triple in as many games; he has only one three-bagger in 233 career regular season games.
Dual Angels threat Shohei Ohtani picked up his first of what is expected to be many offseason honors, being given the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award for excelling both as a slugger and pitcher during the season. The honor, created in 1998, is not yearly; in fact, one hasn’t been given out since 2014, when two awards were handed out to retiring shortstop Derek Jeter and retiring broadcaster Vin Scully.
It Was Whatever-Something Years Ago Today
1991: In Game Seven of the World Series at Minnesota, the Twins’ Jack Morris—a local product playing his only season for the Twins—hurls 10 innings of shutout baseball and gets the win after Gene Larkin’s fly ball is deep enough to score Dan Gladden with the series winner over Atlanta, 1-0, at the Metrodome.
2004: The Red Sox end 86 years of frustration by completing a four-game sweep of the Cardinals for their first world title since 1918. The Red Sox score all of their runs in a 3-0 victory over the first three innings, and Derek Lowe throws seven shutout innings to earn the win.
2011: The Texas Rangers are a strike away from winning their first-ever World Series in Game Six at St. Louis, twice—and fail both times before losing in 11 innings, 10-9. The Rangers’ first failure occurs in the ninth when David Freese pounds out a triple that scores two St. Louis runners and sends the game into extra innings; the second occurs in the 10th on Lance Berkman’s single, which also evens up the score. Freese will force a Game Seven—won by the Cardinals—in the 11th with a lead-off solo homer.
Shameless Link of the Day
Let’s look at the decade-by-decade history of the Braves, the majors’ oldest continuing baseball franchise.
You Say It’s Your Birthday
Fourteen-year infielder Martin Prado is 38; 20-game winner from 1997 Brad Radke is 49; career .294 hitter Bip Roberts is 58; 1990s pitcher Bill Swift is 60; 1982 AL Cy Young Award winner Pete Vuckovich is 69. Born on this date is Hall-of-Fame slugger Ralph Kiner (1922) and early AL star Patsy Dougherty (1876).