HOUSTON – There will be at least a Game 5 of the World Series.

The Braves lost to the Astros 7-2 in Game 2 on Wednesday, sending the Fall Classic to Atlanta in a 1-1 draw. It was the sloppiest game of this postseason for the Braves, who mostly were pristine in their run to the grandest stage.

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Already down starter Charlie Morton because of injury, the Braves need the best from their two remaining starters, Max Fried and Ian Anderson. They didn’t get it from Fried in Game 2, though it wasn’t all on him. The Astros built their lead with a four-run second inning, thanks to five singles and an error.

Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Jose Siri each singled, snapping a 1-1 tie. The defining play followed when Martin Maldonado singled to left. Eddie Rosario scooped the ball and fired to third, but no one was covering the base. The ball rolled to the backstop, scoring another run. Fried’s wild pitch moved Maldonado to third. Michael Brantley’s single capped the Astros’ odd outburst.

Just like that, Houston led 5-1. The inning was death by a thousand cuts: Only one of Houston’s hits had an exit velocity above 100 mph (Brantley’s single). Siri’s infield hit left the bat at 51.5 mph. Second baseman Ozzie Albies fielded the ball and tried to get Siri at first, but he beat the throw.

“It was kind of a weird inning,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It wasn’t like (Fried) was getting banged around. Balls that found holes, checked swings, we threw a ball away. It was just a weird inning.”

Rosario made a brilliant play in Game 1, fielding a ball off the wall and firing to second for an out. His play Wednesday was an appropriate summation of the disastrous inning. Rosario’s error was his first of the postseason and his third in 45 games with the Braves.

Caption
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson loses his helmet as he strikes out in the 9th inning to end the game in a 7-2 loss to the Astros in game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Houston. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson loses his helmet as he strikes out in the 9th inning to end the game in a 7-2 loss to the Astros in game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Houston.   “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”
Caption
Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson loses his helmet as he strikes out in the 9th inning to end the game in a 7-2 loss to the Astros in game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Houston. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Albies later committed a fielding error in the sixth, missing an opportunity for a double play by fumbling the exchange (the controversial call was upheld on review). After making one error throughout the postseason, the Braves made three in the first two games of the World Series.

“The (error by shortstop Dansby Swanson) yesterday, it was just a topspin ground ball,” Snitker said. “We haven’t been on this field a lot. I think that’s got something to do with that. It happens. Over the course of 162 games that we just played and how good our guys are defensively, it doesn’t bother me one bit.”

Fried rebounded from the second inning, retiring 10 consecutive Astros before walking Yordan Alvarez to open the sixth. Carlos Correa’s single ended Fried’s night. The silver lining was Fried lasted five innings, preventing the Braves from dipping into their bullpen early for the second consecutive night.

Astros 7, Braves 2 (box score)

In his past two starts, Fried allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits in 9-2/3 innings. He’s given up 23 hits over his past three outings (15-2/3 innings). He had allowed seven or more hits only once his 15 outings after the All-Star break entering the National League Championship Series.

“I came out, and we were losing, we were down big, so I’m not happy about it,” Fried said. “For me, at the end of the day, it’s what I’ve said here: If I’m leaving the game and we’re winning, I did my job. Today I didn’t do that.”

Astros starter Jose Urquidy, who surrendered six runs in 1-2/3 innings in his last outing, held the Braves’ offense to two runs over five innings. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo shot in the second; each of his three postseason homers with the Braves have come in Houston, dating to his two home runs against the Marlins in the neutral-site NL Division Series a year ago.

Kyle Wright was among the relievers to pitch for the Braves. Wright, a former top prospect who hasn’t pitched in the majors since June, struck out the side in the eighth on 12 pitches.

“He did a tremendous job,” d’Arnaud said. “He was locating. His sinker was moving a lot. His curveball was moving a lot. He did a tremendous job. When I caught him in a rehab game for me, he looked exactly the same as he did that day. It was fun working with him, and it was great seeing him have success today, especially in the World Series.”

Lefty Dylan Lee also impressed despite Albies’ error. He recorded two outs, including striking out Siri with two on. Lee’s and Wright’s outings were notable because the Braves will need them in the coming days when they pitch consecutive bullpen games, a situation created by Morton’s injury.

“It was really good tonight to get Lee in this game, to get Kyle in this game,” Snitker said. “Those guys are going to have to play a big part in this.”

The Braves accomplished a split in Houston. They can win the World Series with three consecutive victories at home beginning with Game 3 on Friday.

“The atmosphere is awesome (at home),” Snitker said. “Braves Country is real. That’s why I think it was so important to split here. You want to win two, but if you can split and get out of here and go home where we’ve been really good, that’s a positive that we’re going home on tomorrow.”

Anderson will start Game 3, which will be the first World Series contest played in Atlanta since 1999. The Braves have won 10 of their past 11 games at home, including a 5-0 mark this postseason.

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