World Series notebook: Astros’ Valdez shaky, Braves’ bullpen holds it down again, Snitkers’ family reunion

Astros Nation

Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez throws during the first inning of Game 1 in baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

HOUSTON (AP) — Things went wrong for Houston starter Framber Valdez just three pitches into his start against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the World Series and only got worse from there.

Valdez allowed one run in eight sterling innings of a win over the Red Sox in Game 5 of the ALCS, giving the Astros optimism that he could help stabilize a rotation rocked by the loss of staff ace Lance McCullers Jr.

Instead, he permitted a playoff career-high five runs while getting just six outs in a 6-2 loss.

Braves bullpen gets another long winning night in Game 1

The relievers keep coming through for the Braves.

Left-hander A.J. Minter threw a career-high 43 pitches before three other relievers finished off Atlanta’s 6-2 win over the Astros in Game 1 of the World Series.

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Will Smith celebrates after their win against the Houston Astros in Game 1 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Minter had to enter in the third inning after starter Charlie Morton departed with a broken right leg. Minter got the victory and was followed by Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith. That is the same order of finish for the clinching games in the NL Division Series and NL Championship Series.

Albies looks up to fellow 2B Altuve

Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves says Jose Altuve of the Astros is a player he’s watched as an example. Now they are opposing second basemen in the World Series, with the Braves up 1-0.

Albies had two hits and Altuve went 0 for 5.

Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies tags out Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel at second during the eighth inning of Game 1 in baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The 5-foot-8 Albies says so many people told him he was too small. He’s actually a couple of inches taller than the former AL MVP. The 24-year-old Albies is a two-time All-Star who led the NL in hits two years ago.

The 31-year-old Altuve is a seven-time All-Star who has led the AL in hits four times. His MVP season was 2017 when the Astros won the World Series.

World Series a father-and-son family affair for Snitkers

No matter how this year’s World Series ends, a Snitker will get a championship ring.

This edition of the Fall Classic features Braves manager Brian Snitker going against his son, Astros co-hitting coach Troy Snitker.

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and Houston Astros hitting coach Troy Snitker speak during a news conference before Game 1 of baseball’s World Series Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

They took turns praising each other Monday, a day before Game 1 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. But once the action starts, 66-year-old Brian will be rooting for his club, trying to beat 32-year-old Troy’s club.

But they both agreed that the star of the family this week is Ronnie Snitker — she is Brian’s wife and Troy’s mom.

Game 2 starters

Right-hander José Urquidy will start Game 2 for the Astros against Braves left-hander Max Fried.

It will be the sixth career postseason start, and second this year, for Urquidy. He allowed six runs (five earned) in only 1 2/3 innings against Boston in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.

“It means a lot for me for sure. It’s going to be a big game for me for the team. I know that I have to win,” Urquidy said through a translator. “My last outing was for sure bad, I know, but there’s good days and bad days. I’m excited to compete, and I know that a lot of people are watching me for sure.”

Urquidy was the winning pitcher as a rookie in Game 4 of the 2019 World Series against Washington.

Fried is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts this postseason.

“Max is the natural to go No. 1 in Game 2,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

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