The Atlanta Braves haven’t won a World Series home game since closing out the Cleveland Indians in Game 6 of the 1995 Fall Classic.
The Braves look to end that drought on Friday night when the scene switches from Houston to Atlanta for Game 3 of the World Series.
The teams split the first two games in Houston. The Braves posted a 6-2 win in the opener on Tuesday. The Astros answered with a 7-2 triumph the following day in Game 2.
Atlanta has the next three games in the best-of-seven series in its ballpark. The Braves are 5-0 in this year’s postseason at home.
“The atmosphere is awesome. Like I say, Braves Country is real. It’s real,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said after Game 2 in Houston. “That’s why I think it was so important to split here. I mean, realistically, you want to win two, but if you can split and get out of here and go home where we’ve been really good, that’s very positive.”
The Astros provided most of the highlights in Game 2 with Jose Altuve making another addition to his stellar postseason resume.
Altuve went 2-for-5 with a double and a solo homer, his 22nd career HR in the postseason. That ties him with Bernie Williams for second-most in playoff history behind Manny Ramirez (29).
“To hit 22 homers in the playoffs and tie him ... it means a lot to me,” Altuve said of sharing second with Williams, the former New York Yankees star. “It makes me keep going out there, hitting homers to help my team, to keep accomplishing things like this.”
Altuve’s big outing came after he went hitless in five at-bats and struck out three times in Houston’s 6-2 loss in Game 1.
“You can be 0-for-20,” Altuve said. “But what about if you get the big hit? So that’s what playoffs is about. I don’t care I went 0-for-5 (in Game 1).”
Michael Brantley went 2-for-4 with an RBI on Wednesday and is 5-for-9 in the series.
The Braves will send second-year right-hander Ian Anderson to the mound Friday in hopes of slowing down Altuve and Brantley.
The 23-year-old Anderson is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in seven postseason starts, including 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three outings in the current playoffs.
An impressive thing about Anderson is that he thrives on the playoff stage despite his relative inexperience.
“It doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think it surprises a lot of guys,” Braves left-hander Max Fried said of Anderson. “For a guy as young as he is, he’s extremely confident in who he is as a person. He knows what he brings, and he knows what his ability is. And he knows that if he goes out there and executes his game plan, that he’s going to do a pretty good job.
“To have that at a young age and not a lot of experience is really awesome, and it’s really admirable. He’s as confident as they come.”
Anderson has struck out 36 in 30 1/3 playoff innings and has served up just one homer.
The Astros will counter with rookie right-hander Luis Garcia, who is 1-1 with a 9.64 ERA in three starts this postseason.
However, Garcia allowed just one hit in 5 2/3 innings in Houston’s American League Championship Series-clinching win over the Boston Red Sox last Friday. He struck out seven and walked one in the 5-0 victory in Game 6.
The 24-year-old Garcia was a much better pitcher at home in the regular season, going 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 79 innings.
On the road, he was 5-3 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 76 1/3 innings.