Riley, Wright lead Braves past Astros 6-2 in Series rematch

Aug 19, 2022, 7:40 AM | Updated: 8:55 pm

Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley gestures as he runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run in th...

Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley gestures as he runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run in the third Inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley hit a three-run homer off Lance McCullers Jr., Kyle Wright won his 15th game to tie for the NL lead, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros 6-2 on Friday night in the teams’ first meeting since last year’s World Series.

The defending champion Braves have won 10 of 11 and are 51-20 since June 1, best in the majors over that span. AL-leading Houston had won six of eight and 10 of 15. The Astros are 41-21 since June 12.

“It’s just a matter of all of us putting it together, and we’re doing it right now,” Riley said. “We’re playing fun baseball right now.”

Houston left fielder Yordan Alvarez left the game in two outs in the bottom of the fifth. He reported feeling ill and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. Alvarez is second in the AL in homers with 31 and leads the league in on-base percentage.

Astros manager Dusty Baker said the slugger was suffering from shortness of breath and was bothered by smoke from in-game fireworks.

“I’m glad we got him out when we did because I looked up and he was in the dugout and it was kind of a scary moment because it could be anything,” Baker said. “But they said he’s doing fine at the moment.”

Wright (15-5) was making his first start since Aug. 10 because of arm fatigue. He erased a one-out walk in the third on Jose Altuve’s double-play grounder and stranded Kyle Tucker, who tripled with two outs in the sixth, by retiring Trey Mancini on a comebacker. Wright allowed two runs and six hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in six innings.

“Like we say, if your starters are pitching the majority of the innings, you’re probably doing pretty good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They’re really confident they’ll work their way out of it.”

After taking three of four this week from the NL East-leading New York Mets, the Braves went up 3-0 in the third when Riley hit his 31st homer an estimated 409 feet to right-center. Riley’s 67 extra-base hits lead the majors.

Houston, which was coming off a 21-5 victory at the Chicago White Sox, missed a chance at an inning-ending double play on Dansby Swanson’s single when second baseman Altuve couldn’t handle shortstop Jeremy Peña’s flip throw at second and the ball bounced away.

Riley is the only player in the majors with at least 30 homers and 30 doubles. Swanson, who went 3 for 5 with two RBIs, began the game ranked second in the majors with 104 hits since May 23. He is batting .323 in that span.

McCullers (1-1) allowed three runs and seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings. He was making his second start since missing last year’s ALCS and World Series and the first 119 games of this season with a right flexor tendon strain.

“McCullers was good,” Baker said. “He was very good. They had two little cheap hits and then the one mistake was a big blast to Riley. This guy is one of the finer young players in the game, so it’s no harm when you give up one to him. He’s excellent.”

The Astros scored twice in the fifth to trim the lead to 3-2. Tucker hit his 22nd homer, a 445-foot shot to right-center. Wright gave up singles to Mancini and Chas McCormick before Altuve drove in Mancini with a single to left.

Phil Maton gave up a leadoff double to Michael Harris II in the sixth and walked Ronald Acuña Jr. before Swanson doubled off the wall in right-center to score both runners and make it 5-2. Matt Olson followed with a sacrifice fly.


Astros: Chas McCormick shifted to left when Alvarez departed, and Mauricio Dubon took over in center. … Dubon tried to stay in the game after crashing into the fence in right-center on Swanson’s double in the sixth. A trainer came out to see about Dubon, who soon left the game with left elbow discomfort. Baker said X-rays came back negative. Jake Meyers took his place. … Baker said the groin injury to INF Aledmys Díaz isn’t as bad as the team originally thought. Díaz was placed on the injured list on Wednesday.


Astros LHP Will Smith returned to his former ballpark and faced four batters in the seventh. Smith was dealt to Houston at the trade deadline for RHP Jake Odorizzi.


Though both teams are in playoff contention, there were several thousand empty seats at Truist Park. The Braves announced a crowd of 42,837 and their 30th sellout of the year.


Braves RHP Spencer Strider (7-4, 3.04 ERA) will face Cristian Javier (7-8, 2.96) as the teams play the second game of a three-game series.


More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Riley, Wright lead Braves past Astros 6-2 in Series rematch