Anderson’s five hitless innings
Anderson had a no-hitter through five innings when manager Brian Snitker decided to turn the 1-0 lead over to his bullpen. Anderson had thrown 76 pitches, had walked three (two of them in the first inning), had struck out four and, to repeat for emphasis, had allowed no hits. He retired the Astros in order in three of his five innings, including his last one. His removal underscored (1) how much baseball has changed in terms of starting-pitcher usage and (2) how much confidence the Braves have in the four relievers they figured could get them to the finish of this game. They figured correctly.
‘Fab Four’ out of the Braves’ bullpen
The first Braves reliever, A.J. Minter, was dominant in the sixth inning, striking out two and stranding a runner who reached on a two-out hit-by-pitch. Luke Jackson, next out of the bullpen, pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Matzek lost the no-hitter in the eighth, albeit on a bloop, but more important, he kept the lead intact. Will Smith finished the five-pitcher shutout in the ninth, allowing the Astros’ second hit of the game -- a leadoff single by Alex Bregman -- and then retiring the next three batters.
An inning that could’ve been bigger was big enough
The Braves scored their first run in the third inning on a walk to Rosario, an opposite-field single by Freddie Freeman and a one-out RBI double down the left-field line by Riley. The inning looked even more promising when the next batter, Jorge Soler, walked to load the bases. But the opportunity for a big inning went unrealized when Astros starter Luis Garcia got the second out on a foul pop-up to first base by Adam Duvall and the third out on a strikeout of d’Arnaud on a 2-2 cutter.
Timely spot for d’Arnaud’s first home homer of season
D’Arnaud had not hit a home run at Truist Park all season -- he has hit eight on the road -- until two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 3 of the World Series. That’s when he blasted the first pitch he saw from Kendall Graveman, the sixth Houston pitcher of the night, over the center-field fence. The 437-foot solo shot doubled the Braves’ lead, providing a welcomed insurance run going into the ninth.
A short night for Astros’ starter
With two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the fourth inning, Houston manager Dusty Baker removed his right-handed starting pitcher, Garcia, in favor of a left-handed reliever, Blake Taylor, with two left-handed hitters next in the Braves’ batting order. Taylor allowed a single to Rosario on an 0-2 count before striking out Freeman. In his 3-2/3 innings, the rookie Garcia threw 72 pitches, allowing one run on three hits and four walks.
-- This was the first World Series game played in metro Atlanta since Oct. 24, 1999.
-- This was the Braves’ first win in a World Series game played in their home stadium since Oct. 28, 1995, when they beat the Cleveland Indians 1-0 in Game 6 to clinch a championship. From then until Friday night, the Braves had lost five consecutive World Series home games (three in 1996 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and two in 1999 at Turner Field).
-- The Braves have won six consecutive home games this postseason, the second-longest such postseason streak in franchise history.