The Atlanta Braves edged out the Houston Astros 2-0 on a damp night when pitchers dominated, to take a 2-1 lead in the seven-game World Series.
Braves starter Ian Anderson threw five scoreless innings, and the bullpen kept the pressure on as the Astros did not record a hit until the eighth inning.
After Austin Riley drove in Eddie Rosario in the third, Travis D’Arnaud homered for the second successive game.
Atlanta can clinch the series if they win their next two games, both at home.
And the omens look good in Georgia, where they have won all six post-season home games in 2021, and 11 of their last 12 overall.
Friday’s encounter began in light drizzle at Truist Park and both sides took a while to warm up against a pair of rookie starting pitchers.
After Riley’s RBI double, the Astros’ Luis Garcia did well to escape further punishment after loading the bases with only one out, before Great Britain international Blake Taylor became the first of five Astros relievers used.
But the visitors’ bats remained cold until, with the Braves six outs away from a no-hitter, pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz finally recorded a single to left field.
Diaz was lifted for pinch-runner Jose Siri, who stole second base and sprinted to third on a wild throw – but was left stranded there, the nearest Houston came to a run all night, before D’Arnaud’s solo homer came in the bottom of the eighth.
Games four and five, both in Atlanta, take place on Saturday and Sunday evening.
|Game 1: Houston 2-6 Atlanta||Game 5 (in Atlanta): Sun 31 Oct|
|Game 2: Houston 7-2 Atlanta||Game 6* (in Houston): Tue 2 Nov|
|Game 3: Atlanta 2-0 Houston||Game 7* (in Houston): Wed 3 Nov|
|Game 4 (in Atlanta): Sat 30 Oct||*if required|