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Early offense was key for Braves in Game 1 win

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Home runs by Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall got Atlanta going early.

World Series - Atlanta Braves v Houston Astros - Game One Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves overcame the loss of Charlie Morton to secure a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series. Atlanta’s offense did damage early and the bullpen slammed the door late. With the middle three games of the series at Truist Park, the Braves desperately needed to come away with at least one win over the first two games.

“It was good. I wondered before we got here what it’d feel like,” Snitker said of the win and the atmosphere. “When the game started, I felt like it was a baseball game, and you kind of get so tunnelled into what you’re doing that you forget where you’re at. It’s just another baseball game, a really loud baseball game.”

“Then so much happened really quick that I didn’t have a chance to do anything other than that. But it was nice. I’m glad, obviously, we won the game.”

Jorge Soler got things started quickly with a leadoff home run on the third pitch of the game. Soler became the first player ever to homer in the first plate appearance of Game 1 of the World Series. The Braves added another run in the first as Ozzie Albies scored on an Austin Riley double to make it 2-0.

“The energy was amazing and electric, especially after we took a 1-0 lead after that home run,” Soler said.

The Braves added another run in the second and then two more in the third on a two-run home run by Adam Duvall that chased Astros starter Framber Valdez from the game. Valdez allowed eight hits and five runs and retired just six batters in two-plus innings.

“I think our game plan was to try to get really good pitches to hit,” Duvall said of facing Valdez. “Obviously, he’s not going to give you too many, but just try to shrink our zone, seam up, and try to hit a fly ball because his sinkers are so good and his curveball is going straight down as well. So that was the approach.”

“Yeah, he’s obviously a pitcher who induces a lot of ground balls, but I think our approach was the same, just try to get it up in the air and hit a fly ball,” Soler added. “Especially for the right-handed hitters. If he goes middle or middle out, we’re trying to lift it over to the opposite side.”

That early lead did a lot to settle the nerves but watching Charlie Morton leave with a season-ending injury in the third inning ratcheted them up again. Atlanta’s bullpen was forced to cover the final 6 1/3 innings of the game against a powerful Astros lineup.

“It was good, but against this club here, I’d rather get a 5-0 lead after the seventh inning than when we did because they have so much time to come back and it’s such a dangerous team,” Snitker said of the early lead. “That 5-0 feels like 1-0, quite honestly, to me just because of the club they are. They’ve been through these wars, and they’re so dangerous, and they’re so relentless, which makes it even more special to me in what our bullpen did.”

Four Atlanta relievers combined to allow seven hits and two runs over that final 6 1/3 innings. They walked just one and struck out eight.

Much has been said about the Braves’ deadline additions and all four players played a big part in the win in Game 1. Soler, Duvall, Eddie Rosario and Joc Pederson combined were 6-for-18 with two home runs and a double. They accounted for four of Atlanta’s six runs. After a record breaking NLCS, Rosario added two more hits and extended his postseason hitting streak to 11 games. He also made a huge defensive play in the eighth fielding a ball off the wall in left center and then throwing a strike to nail Yuli Gurriel at second.

“Yeah, that and the play that Eddie made off the wall on Gurriel’s ball,” Snitker said when asked about the new additions. “All those guys, Joc. They complete our team, those guys, and they’ve been big for us since they got here, and they’re continuing to be every day.

Finding a way to replace Morton won’t be easy and his loss will no doubt be felt as the series continues. Still this Braves team is no stranger to adversity and they have overcome a lot to get to this point.

It means a lot. It’s the first game that we played, and to win it gives us a lot of energy and confidence moving into tomorrow’s game,” Soler said.

“I think we obviously swung the bats there early pretty well, and doing that on the road, kind of getting them first at-bat jitters out of the way, it’s big,” Duvall added. “Obviously, this is a long series. It’s going to be a dogfight. So we’ll enjoy this one and then get focused and ready for tomorrow.