Greinke turns in impressive start despite Game 4 loss

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ATLANTA (AP) — Zack Greinke didn't get a decision in the Atlanta Braves’ 3-2 victory Saturday night in Game 4 of the World Series, but he was nonetheless impressive as Houston’s starter, giving up no runs and four hits with no walks and three strikeouts in four innings.

The 38-year-old Greinke, the active leader in the majors with 488 career starts and 219 victories, did not allow the Braves to get a runner in scoring position. He gave up a single in each inning and avoided further trouble.

A career .225 hitter, Greinke even singled in the second inning — possibly his last hit, with the National League potentially adopting the designated hitter next season.

In the first inning, the right-hander struck out Ozzie Albies and got Austin Riley to fly out. He retired Dansby Swanson on a lineout in the second and coaxed Freddie Freeman and Joc Pederson to ground into double plays in the third and fourth.

Greinke battled injuries and spent some time on the injured list with COVID-19 as the regular season was winding down. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings after allowing two runs, one hit and three walks before the Astros rallied to win 9-2 in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series on Oct. 19 in Boston.

Greinke was pitching in the Fall Classic for the first time since Game 7 of 2019, when he had held Washington to one hit over his first 6 1/3 innings before Anthony Rendon homered and Juan Soto walked. Greinke was pulled from the game, and the Nationals went on to win and take the title.

SAVING THE ’PEN

Kyle Wright came up big for Atlanta, pitching 4 2/3 innings of relief that included one run and five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Wright, the No. 5 overall draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2017, entered in a tough situation as Braves opener Dylan Lee had loaded the bases in the first and lasted just one-third of an inning.

Enter Wright, who retired Correa on an RBI groundout and struck out Kyle Tucker to strand runners on second and third. Critically, he lasted long enough to save the Braves relievers from getting overworked with another bullpen effort looming for Game 5 on Sunday.

Wright spent almost the entire season at Triple-A Gwinnett, going 10-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 24 starts. His two starts with Atlanta didn’t go well, as the right-hander went 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA. He began the night with a 2-8 record and a 6.56 ERA in 14 starts and seven relief appearances in his career with Atlanta.

The Braves added Wright to the World Series roster to replace Jacob Webb. He pitched one inning in a Game 2 loss in Houston.

Altuve homered off Wright in the fourth to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

HAPPY RETURNS

Looking back at the start of 2021, Braves center fielder Adam Duvall says he “never thought in a million years” he would be back with Atlanta this season and playing in the World Series.

Duvall, the NL RBI leader this year, was a key cog in the Braves’ run to the NL Championship Series last season but was allowed to leave for Miami on a $5 million, one-year contract as a free agent. He returned to Atlanta on July 30 in a trade for backup catcher Alex Jackson.

“I was sitting on the couch, 12:30 on the trade deadline and got the call,” he said Saturday. “Next thing you know, I was back here. You just never know what the future holds.”

Duvall joined Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario in an outfield that general manager Alex Anthopoulos had begun replenishing nine days earlier with the trade for Joc Pederson after Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL. The foursome has been pivotal in stabilizing the Braves’ lineup, hitting a combined .285 with seven homers and 28 RBIs in 158 at-bats this postseason.

“The group of guys that they brought in are unbelievable — unbelievable guys, unbelievable teammates,” Duvall said. “Then walking back into the clubhouse, obviously, I was familiar with everything, but the guys here did an unbelievable job of just bringing them in, trying to get them settled as quickly as possible so that they can be comfortable and make a difference.

“That shows. That shows what type of locker room we came into, and it’s awesome to be a part of this team.”

Duvall, whose 38 homers ranked second in the NL, hit .226 with 16 homers and 45 RBIs in 55 games with Atlanta this year.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Astros All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa wants to stay in the present and not speculate where he might be playing next season.

Correa is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the World Series ends. The 26-year-old star, in his seventh year with Houston, said before Game 4 that he’s “living in the now” and not worried about where he will be playing next season.

“It’s really special to be here once again with this group of guys,” Correa said. “Like I said before, I don’t take any single second of this year for granted. It’s just special to share the locker room with that group of guys that we have in there. They show up every single day ready to work. They show up every day, and they work like champions. We’re here four wins away to become world champions once again.

“We want to go out there, make it special, and hopefully win it all.”

Correa is one of five Astros named as Gold Glove finalists. Pitcher Zack Greinke, catcher Martin Maldonado, first baseman Yuli Gurriel and outfielder Kyle Tucker are the others.

SWEET DREAMS

Braves manager Brian Snitker said he was protecting Lee’s sleep when he waited until a few hours before Saturday night’s game to inform the left-hander he would start.

Lee, 27, made only two regular-season appearances, both in relief. His last start came on July 23, 2017 for Class A Greensboro.

Snitker said he knew if he announced the plan on Friday night, Lee would be bombarded with texts and phone calls.

“I didn’t tell him until this afternoon, just for his sake, I think, as much as anything, for what he would have encountered,” Snitker said. “He probably wouldn’t have gotten any sleep because people have been texting him and his phone would have been going off all night.”

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AP Sports Writer Charles Odum contributed to this report.

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

George Henry, The Associated Press

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