Jose Altuve ties Bernie Williams in postseason homers with 22
HOUSTON — Jose Altuve won’t stop tormenting Yankees fans.
His seventh-inning homer off Drew Smyly in the Astros’ 7-2 victory over Atlanta in World Series Game 2 on Wednesday night was the 22nd postseason home run of his career, tying him with Bernie Williams for second on the all-time list.
Manny Ramirez has the record with 29.
It came in the same postseason in which Altuve also passed Derek Jeter on the list, as Jeter hit 20 playoff homers in his career — a point Altuve made after the game.
Altuve said he’d seen Williams play a lot growing up.
“Great hitter, obviously,’’ Altuve said.
“It means a lot to me,’’ he said of the accomplishment. “It makes me keep going out there, hitting homers to help my team, to keep accomplishing things like this. As long as we win, everything’s good.”
Altuve entered Game 2 in a 2-for-26 slide in his previous six games.
Asked how Altuve was able to brush off the slump, Houston manager Dusty Baker said, “Well, he’s good. Well, he’s good. When you’re good, you’ve just got to — I don’t know. That’s what professionals do. When you know you can play, you have to. I mean, you have no choice. My dad used to tell me it’s OK to get down, just don’t stay down. So he didn’t stay down.”
It was Altuve’s fourth of this postseason, but he entered Wednesday hitless in his previous two games (0-for-9).
“For me, the stats and playoffs don’t matter because you’re winning,’’ Altuve said. “You can be 0-for-20, but what about if you get the big hit? So that’s what the playoffs is about. I don’t care I went 0-for-5 [Tuesday]. I show up [Wednesday], try to get good pitches to hit, and I’m glad that I’m helping my team to win.”
The Braves replaced Charlie Morton on their roster with left-handed pitcher Tucker Davidson on Wednesday after Morton was ruled out for the remainder of the World Series with a fractured fibula.
Morton took a line drive from Yuli Gurriel off his lower right leg in the bottom of the second in Game 1 on Tuesday. The right-hander remained in the game and got the final two outs of that inning and then struck out Altuve to open the bottom of the third.
On his final pitch, Morton stumbled on the mound and left the game and X-rays showed the fracture.
Davidson, 25, made four starts for the Braves earlier in the season, but missed much of the season with left forearm inflammation. He made four minor league rehab starts to close out the regular season.
Ian Anderson is scheduled to start for Atlanta in Game 3 on Friday, against Houston rookie Luis Garcia at Truist Park, where the Braves have won 10 of their last 11 games, including their last five.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker praised his team’s infield defense before Game 2.
“These guys have been unbelievable,’’ Snitker said. “These guys have been so steady. They’ve been really, really good all year, in my opinion.”
On Wednesday, though, Ozzie Albies made an error and there was a infield mixup on a relay that resulted in an error on left fielder Eddie Rosario. Both miscues led to runs.
“It happens,’’ Snitker said. “Over the course of 162 games that we just played and how good our guys are defensively, it doesn’t bother me one bit.’’
The Astros reached the postseason without the usual production from Alex Bregman. And they got to the World Series with the third baseman still slumping.
He went hitless with a pair of strikeouts in Houston’s Game 1 loss, but had a sacrifice fly in the first inning on Wednesday.
Baker said he believes Bregman is still getting his timing back after an extended stint on the injured list due to a strained quad.
“He missed, what, 60 games?’’ Baker said before Game 2. “So that’s 60 games of repetition that the opposition has over him. You’re playing catch-up the whole time, the whole year. That’s very tough. When do you catch up?”
Not yet, evidently.
Bregman was OK in 32 regular-season games after returning from the injury, with a .760 OPS during that stretch.
But in 11 playoff games heading into Wednesday, Bregman was 11-for-43 with 10 strikeouts and an OPS of .682.
“I mean, he’s put in the time,’’ Baker said. “He’s put in the work. Law of average is on his side too, big-time. Bregman can hit, and he thinks he can hit, and he will hit. So it’s just a matter of him staying confident. That’s number one.’’