Braves manager Brian Snitker was sitting on the bench, as a result of Atlanta’s cold and rainy weather Friday night, instead of sitting up front when the Astros sent Aledmys Diaz to the plate to puncture the hit on the Friday night.
Up to that point in the game, going into the eighth inning, the Braves had kept Houston out of the hit column, with five innings from starter Ian Anderson, one inning by AJ Minter and one inning by Luke Jackson.
Diaz hit a shallow fly ball on a 2-1 count against Braves southpaw Tyler Matzek. Everyone at Truist Park in Atlanta stared up as the ball soared into the air toward left field. When left fielder Eddie Rosario ran in and shortstop Dansby Swanson pedaled backward, it became less clear if the ball would be caught. As it turned out, the ball hit the ground untouched, breaking the combined no-hitter and ending Atlanta’s shot to World Series history.
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While the Braves still won Game 3 2-0, and coaches and players might say after the game that victory is the only thing that matters, many fans wanted to be able to see a bit of baseball history. There has only been one no-hitter in nine innings in World Series history. It came in 1956 when Don Larsen pitched a perfect game for the Yankees against the Dodgers in Game 5.
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What happened to the Astros’ first hit?
The play could have seemed routine and, in many cases, it would have been.
According to Carlos Collazo of Baseball America, the elevated ball had a catch probability of 85 percent.
In a situation like that, the left fielder normally takes control and calls out to shortstop, who then steps aside to allow the play to be made. However, as Braves manager Brian Snitker explained, that level of communication is easier said than done in a World Series game at a team’s home stadium.
“It’s so loud and it’s hard to hear,” Snitker said. “That’s one of those plays that you practice on, if you have someone who can make the pitching machine work really well, make that play when we make emerging priorities in spring training. That’s a great play we make to avoid accidents. And the guys take command of that. But in these circumstances, anything can happen because the guys can’t hear each other. “
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Rosario was charging and looked like he had a flyover reading, but when he looked down and realized he and Swanson were on a collision course, he backed away.
“I started charging hard right away, and I noticed that Dansby was also charging hard. His back was to the ball, so obviously we’re both trying to make a play with the ball,” Rosario said through a translator. “When I found out I had an account, I was trying to say, ‘I have it. I have it’. But obviously, I knew that Dansby couldn’t hear me, so at the last minute, knowing that we couldn’t communicate, I just wanted to make sure to avoid any collisions between the two of us. So I relaxed. just there.”
It was probably the best thing he did. If the two had collided, center fielder Adam Duvall still appeared to be quite far from where the two were, and would likely have allowed Diaz to reach second base, putting a running back in scoring position with no out. By sacrificing the blow, Rosario was able to retain Diaz early on. Later, Diaz was replaced by a pinch runner, José Siri, who went to second on a stolen base attempt with two outs. He was able to advance to third on a missed pitch from catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Michael Brantley then showed up to leave Siri stranded there.
The Braves would allow one more hit on Friday. Alex Bregman led off the top of the ninth with a ground single to right field against the change. Given how the defense was lined up, Atlanta’s infielders had no chance to retire Bregman.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.