Sports

Baker on Astros’ loss: ‘Our team doesn’t worry’

HOUSTON — The Astros lost their fifth consecutive World Series home game dating back to 2019 as they dropped Game 1 of the 2021 Fall Classic to the Braves 6-2 on Tuesday night.

Lefty starter Framber Valdez struggled while Astros stars Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa went a combined 0-for-12 at the plate.

“Our team doesn’t worry, and our team’s very confident,” manager Dusty Baker said after the game. “We have the knack of bouncing back after losses, after tough losses because they don’t quit, they don’t give up, they don’t get down. That’s the secret of sports.”

Baker called the start to the game a “shocker” after Braves leadoff man Jorge Soler took Valdez deep on the third pitch of the night. That gave the Braves as many runs as Valdez gave up over eight innings in his previous start, in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series last week.

He went on to give up four more runs on Tuesday before Baker pulled him in the third inning.

“It was my first World Series game, so I’m not going to tell you that I didn’t feel the pressure,” Valdez said through a team interpreter. “I think just being behind in the count so much is what hurt me more than anything in this game.”

The Astros were down 2-1 to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and reeled off three straight wins in dominating fashion, so they aren’t overly concerned about the early deficit in this series.

“On a loss, you have to forget yesterday,” Baker said. “You go in our clubhouse, I’ve never seen these guys worry. They know they can play, and they know they’re going to rebound.”

It was just the second time this postseason that Houston was held to fewer than five runs. Baker noted a bases-loaded chance in the bottom of the first inning that could have changed the game if not for a nice defensive play by Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies.

Opportunities in the fourth and eighth innings produced just a single run in each as the Braves’ bullpen covered 6 2/3 innings after starter Charlie Morton left the game with a broken right fibula. The Astros couldn’t take advantage.

“It’s just one game,” left fielder Michael Brantley said. “They played really well tonight, and we didn’t. We’ll go out tomorrow, put our pants on, put our cleats on, and do it again.”

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Houston.

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