In the first game of a World Series rematch, the Braves defeated the Astros, 6-2, at Truist Park. Atlanta is 74-47.

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Here are five observations:

1. Last time the Astros and Braves met, confetti fell and the Braves hoisted the World Series trophy. A large celebration ensued as the lives of Atlanta’s players and coaches changed forever.

Around 10 months later, the clubs are seeing one another again.

After Friday’s win, the Braves have won 10 of 11 games since losing four of five in New York. Four of those victories have come against the Mets and Astros.

“I think it was more or less a wake-up call for us,” Austin Riley said of the series in Queens. “We know that (the Mets) are a really good team, and we know we’re a really good team. It was just a matter of all of us putting it together, and we’re doing that right now.”

The Braves and Astros are two powerhouses in the sport this season. Houston entered this series with 77 wins, Atlanta with 73.

The Braves took the first battle.

2. The Braves constantly provide reminders of something: They can strike in a hurry.

They often go from nothing to something on offense. They can quickly damage opposing pitchers, hanging crooked numbers on the board.

Hitting is contagious.

“It is,” Austin Riley said.

Houston, of course, knew the Braves could do this. Then the Braves gave the Astros another taste.

In the third inning, Austin Riley blasted a three-run home run – his 31st bomb of the season – off Lance McCullers Jr. Riley’s home run followed consecutive singles from his teammates and, just like that, Atlanta led by three runs.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Up a run in the sixth and facing right-handed reliever Phil Maton, Michael Harris sprinted for a hustle double before Ronald Acuña walked two batters later. Dansby Swanson followed by hitting a two-run double off the wall. Matt Olson eventually scored him with a sacrifice fly.

“You’re putting up solid at-bats, it does get contagious,” Riley said. “Guys feed off each other. I’ve said it time and time again: This lineup is deep and I feel like one through nine, we’re swinging the bat well, putting up those quality at-bats, and I think that’s what gives you those runs and innings.”

3. Last October, Kyle Wright announced his arrival to the big stage by holding the Astros to a run over 4 2/3 innings in Game 4 of the World Series.

These days, he is tied for the MLB lead in wins with 15. He has a 3.14 ERA after allowing two runs over six innings against Houston in the series opener.

“I didn’t really think too much about that (World Series start) leading up into this,” Wright said. “I think it’s a new year. But I think that appearance is kind of really where my confidence really started to take off. Looking back at it, seeing how big that was for my career, it was definitely a big part of pitching the way I am, I think.”

Once again, Wright showed his progress. Both runs scored in the fifth inning, but he limited the damage. He could have crumbled at that point and others in this outing, but fought through and notched another quality start.

He said he’s learned that, no matter the traffic on the bases, he only has to get three outs in an inning.

“I think in years past,” Wright said, “those three outs felt like it was 20 in one inning somehow.”

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

4. Swanson’s two-run double in the sixth gave the Braves breathing room.

It also furthered a trend: He’s a clutch hitter.

“I tell you: For as long as he’s been here, I’ve felt in big situations, (he’s) as good as everybody we’ve ever had here,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Just late in the game and things like that, he’s got a penchant for that moment.”

“He’s just a grinder. He really is,” Riley said. “He’s just a competitor, deep down inside of him.”

5. Collin McHugh threw two perfect innings – the seventh and the eighth – to protect Atlanta’s lead. There have been so many Braves storylines this season that McHugh may get lost in the mix.

He should not. He is deserving of lots of praise.

McHugh has allowed three earned runs on nine hits over his last 20 1/3 innings.

Braves 6, Astros 2

Stat to know

74 - Harris did not commit an error in the big leagues until Friday, which marked the 74th game of his career.

Quotable

“That’s a key part of the game is good baserunning. Smart baserunning. Aggressive – but smart. ... When you’re playing these good teams, everything that you can get a little extra is going to be big when you play tough teams, because it’s going to be inches or innings or whatever that it’s going to take to win those games.” - Snitker on the impact of good baserunning

Up next

Spencer Strider will face the Astros, who will send Cristian Javier to the mound on Saturday. The game, which will be on FOX, begins at 7:15 p.m.