Houston’s Jose Altuve connected on a home run and scored twice to spark the Astros’ bats in a 7-2 rout of the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the World Series in Houston on Wednesday.
The series is tied at 1-1and will head to Atlanta for Game 3 on Friday.
Martin Maldonado added a two-run single for the Astros, who are in the World Series for the third time in five years.
“It was good to come back and have the game we had as a team,” Altuve said. “We’re going to go to Atlanta now and take as many as we can there.”
The Braves, in their first World Series since 1999, are seeking their first championship since 1995. They are 5-0 at home this year in the playoffs.
Altuve snapped a two-game hitless streak, but the 31-year-old Venezuelan said he wasn’t worried about individual production, only team triumphs.
“Playoff numbers don’t matter,” Altuve said. “You have to stay positive and wait until your time has come.
“We’re not thinking about average or homers. We’re thinking about winning and that’s how it is for the entire team.”
Houston’s Jose Urquidy, a 26-year-old Mexican right-hander, struck out seven over five innings for the victory.
“I was very focused, throwing strikes and attacking the hitter all the time, attacking the strike zone,” Urquidy said. “The offense was very good. We’re in it. We’re going to keep fighting.”
Urquidy had only pitched once in the past 24 days but showed no signs of rust.
“I was trying to compete 100%,” he said. “I was paying attention to every single at-bat. I was very tight for every pitch. I loved it.”
The Astros opened the scoring in the first inning when Altuve doubled, took third on Michael Brantley’s sacrifice fly and scored on Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly.
Atlanta’s Travis d’Arnaud smashed a solo homer in the second inning to even the score for Atlanta.
Houston broke the game open with four runs in the second off Braves southpaw starter Max Fried. Kyle Tucker singled, took third on Yuli Gurriel’s single and scored on a hit by rookie Jose Siri.
Maldonado followed with a single to drive in both runners and later scored on a Brantley single to put the Astros ahead 5-1.
“I got a pitch out over the plate and put the stick on it,” Brantley said. “We did a great job of staying in the zone (with swings).”
Braves manager Brian Snitker said Fried wasn’t so bad in the second despite surrendering four consecutive singles and five in all.
“It was kind of a weird inning,” Snitker said. “It’s not like he got pounded around. It very easily could have been a very different outcome for him, especially in that second inning.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker, seeking his first World Series crown as a manager at age 72, was happy with the spurt but wanted more.
“It happened fast,” Baker said. “It gets to be like a feeding frenzy and everybody wants to get in on it. I was hoping we could score some more.”
The Braves answered in the fifth inning when Freddie Freeman singled in d’Arnaud from third.
Houston responded in the sixth when Yordan Alvarez walked and Carlos Correa singled to chase Fried.
Alvarez took third when Tucker hit into a fielder’s choice and he scored on a fielding error by Atlanta second baseman Ozzie Albies, to make it 6-2.
Altuve blasted his 22nd career playoff homer off the first pitch from Atlanta reliever Drew Smyly in the seventh, his fourth first-pitch homer of these playoffs.
“I was thinking about just getting a good pitch to hit, just something I could drive,” Altuve said.
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