HOUSTON — It was another painful, traumatic injury, one that could destroy Atlanta’s World Series championship hopes.

You don’t lose your Game 1 World Series starter Tuesday night to a broken leg, shrug it off, and expect to beat the powerful Houston Astros.

Then again, Atlanta has lived with cruel adversity all year long, so what’s another obstacle the size of the CNN Center to stop them now?

Atlanta was unable to play due to severe injuries, but managed to beat Houston in the first game at Minute Maid Park by a score of 6-2 despite Charlie Morton’s injury to his right fibula.

Certainly, Morton epitomized Atlanta’s resiliency and toughness this night.

Yuli Guriel hit him with a 10-mph fastball. He was so badly struck that his ankle was broken and he was able to roll directly to Freddie Freeman, first baseman.

Morton did not leave the game and struck out Chas McCormick in 10 pitches. He also inducing a Martin Maldonado lineout. The ankle began to swell so he went back to the bench. However, he came out of the third. Jose Altuve was struck out on six pitches. However, the 80-mph curveball that he was throwing, caused him to stumble off the mound, almost falling to the ground. He was then out of the game.

He went immediately to X-rays and was diagnosed with a fractured fibula. This ended his season.

The incident left Alex Anthopoulos, GM, scrambling to find reinforcements.


Anthopoulos was forced to seek out help throughout the year. Anthopoulos was convinced he was living in fantasy when the baseball executives lost Ronald Acuna. The team had a sub.500 record and Anthopoulos wanted to play.

Six trades were made in July to acquire four outfielders. Anthopoulos refused surrender as his teammates watched in amazement.

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BAD BREAK Morton fractures right fibula. He will not be able to compete in the World Series.

“When you lose the best player in the National league in July,’’ Freeman says, “there’s a lot of doubt, especially when we couldn’t go over .500 at all. You’re just wondering how we were going to do it.

“And Alex goes out and just trades for the world.’’

So, of course it shouldn’t be a surprise that they paid off dividends Tuesday night, with two of their new outfielders, Jorge Soler and Adam Duvall, driving in four of the runs.

Their new outfield quartet of Eddie Rosario, Joc Pederson, Duvall and Soler have driven in 28 of their 45 runs this postseason, accounting for 62% of their runs.

Pretty nice reinforcements considering none of the players were even in Atlanta’s organization at the All-Star break.

Brian Snitker, Atlanta manager, said, “They complete the team.” “Those guys have been huge for us ever since we got them here and are continuing to be so every day.”

Soler was the Astros’ first leadoff homer hitter in World Series history. After the four first batters they were down by 2-0, then 3-0 and then 5-0 respectively after the 10th, 15th, and 16th batters.

Anthopoulos, GM of Toronto Blue Jays, learned this lesson seven years back. Anthopoulos, who was within three games of winning a wild card berth for the Blue Jays, stayed steady and lost the race.

“Our players were crushed,” Anthopoulos said. “I didn’t truly understand. These guys were like, ‘If I’m going to lay it on the line and we have a chance to win, and you’re not going to do your part to help with that, why am I here?’

“You owe it to them.”

They traded for Pederson, from Chicago Cubs, two days after All-Star Game. Then, in a salary dump from Cleveland, Soler, Duvall, and Rosario were brought in from Kansas City.

“We were in this position because we didn’t have any depth,” Anthopoulos said. “We didn’t have any outfielders we felt good about. There were some players who performed well for two, three or more weeks. If you go get three and then one of those guys gets hurt, you’re in the same boat.

“So let’s try to get four, and if anything your bench will be stronger.”

Trades were barely heard. Because Soler hit.192 and Duvall.229 respectively, Pederson.230, Rosario.235, and Pederson.230, while Rosario was hurt at that time.

Still, the moves jolted the clubhouse, knowing the front office wasn’t surrendering.

“It showed these guys,’’ Snitker said, “that we’re not going to sit and hang our heads.

“We’re going to go for this thing.”

Voila, Atlanta took off after the trade deadline and won the NL East with 88 victories. They defeated the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, won the NL Division Series and advanced to the World Series.

However, the Astros don’t seem to be worried about being against the wall going into Game 2.

Dusty Baker stated after the match that his team didn’t worry about anything and was very confident. We have the ability to bounce back from losses and tough losses. They don’t quit. This is the key to success in sports.

Follow Nightengale’s Twitter account: @Bnightengale

Source: USAToday.com

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