José Siri launched himself headfirst into home plate, popped up with arms flexed and screamed with all his might.
Welcome to the World Series, rook.
The career minor leaguer sparked a team whose biggest stars took a while to shine, sending the Houston Astros to a 7-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night that evened the Fall Classic at one game apiece.
Jose Altuve doubled early, homered late and scored twice to break out at the plate. Siri’s speed and aggressive play created havoc on the bases, leading to a four-run second inning that helped the Astros snap a five-game skid at home in the World Series.
It’s the first time they’ve won a World Series game in Houston since a 13-12 victory over the Dodgers in 10 innings in Game 5 on 29 October 2017.
Altuve hit a leadoff double and scored in the first inning before adding a solo homer in the seventh as the Astros rolled past the suddenly sloppy Braves.
José Urquidy gave the Astros five solid inning and Houston’s bullpen, already so important this postseason, did the rest.
The series shifts to Atlanta for the first of three games Friday night.
The Astros jumped on Atlanta starter Max Fried for seven hits and six runs – five earned – in five innings.
The game was tied at 1 when Kyle Tucker got things going in the second with a one-out single before advancing to third on a single by Yuli Gurriel. The speedy Siri, who debuted on 3 September, then beat out an infield single to score Tucker and put the Astros on top.
That made Siri the first player to make his debut in September or later and drive in a run in that year’s World Series.
Hey Siri: How does that feel?
Martín Maldonado grounded a single to left fielder Eddie Rosario that scored Gurriel.
The usually fundamentally sound Braves then misplayed things all around. Rosario threw to an unoccupied third base and the ball rolled into foul territory, allowing Siri to dash home on the error.
Siri stood at the plate soaking in a moment he thought might never come.
Stuck in the minors since 2013, the excitable 26-year-old outfielder is now a World Siri. Before Wednesday he was most known for almost knocking over 72-year-old manager Dusty Baker en route to celebrating a teammate’s postseason exploits.
The crowd, so quiet a night before, roared as Siri bounded toward the dugout. A fan in the lower deck displayed a sign that read: “Don’t Poke The Bear” as the Astros rediscovered their potent offense after Tuesday night’s dud of a 6-2 loss.
The Braves had a visit at the mound to try and regroup after that fiasco of a play but Fried threw a wild pitch soon after it ended to send Maldonado to third. There were two outs in the inning when Michael Brantley singled to right field, pumping his fist as he left the batter’s box to send another run home to make it 5-1.
Their five hits in that inning tied the most they’ve ever had in an inning in the World Series. It matched their output from the second inning of Game 3 of the 2017 World Series.
Urquidy permitted six hits and two runs while striking out seven in five innings to rebound after a clunker in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series when he allowed five runs while getting just five outs against Boston.
Altuve’s leadoff double got things going for the Astros a day after the star second baseman went 0 for 5 in the first three-strikeout game of his postseason career. He advanced to third on a fly ball by Brantley before scoring on Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
Urquidy got off to a much better start than teammate Framber Valdez did in Game 1. It was a low bar though after Valdez was rocked for a leadoff homer by Jorge Soler Tuesday night.
Urquidy struck out the game’s first two batters, before allowing consecutive singles to Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley. Soler then came to the plate, and he avoided the first-inning trouble Valdez got into when he fanned the big designated hitter to escape the jam.
There were two outs in the second when Travis d’Arnaud smacked a high fastball into the seats in left field to tie it at 1-all. Dansby Swanson singled on a grounder that ricocheted off the glove of Carlos Correa, but Gurriel grabbed a liner hit by Rosario for the third out.
An RBI single by Freddie Freeman cut the lead to 5-2 with two outs in the fifth.