In late July, Jorge Soler was batting under .200 with the Royals, who were headed for a sub-.500 season.
So even Nostradamus would have been surprised to see him make World Series history less than three months later with Atlanta. Soler led off Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night in Houston and clubbed a home run.
It’s the first time a player has opened the Fall Classic with a home run. Four players have hit a home run while leading off the bottom of the first (including the Royals’ Alcides Escobar in 2015).
But Soler did it in the top half as the first batter of the series, igniting Atlanta’s 6-2 win.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 27, 2021
“To be honest, I didn’t know that was a thing until I was told a little later on in the game,” Soler told reporters after the game. “For me, I wasn’t thinking about anything like that. I was just trying to get an at-bat and just make it contact the ball.”
The Royals traded Soler to Atlanta for minor-league pitcher Kasey Kalich, and the change of scenery did Soler well. Here are his stats with both teams this season:
Royals: 94 games, .192 average, 13 homers, 39 walks, 37 RBIs, .370 slugging percentage
Braves: 55 games, .269 average, 14 homers, 29 walks, 33 RBIs, .524 slugging percentage
Soler admitted he was concerned after the trade to Atlanta.
“I think for me it was a little bit challenging, especially when I got traded right away, just because of the language barrier,” Soler told reporters. “I couldn’t speak English very well. So I just assumed that I was going to have a hard time making those connections with some of the English-speaking players. But after a weekend, that wasn’t the case. I felt like I was already here playing with my brothers.
“I felt like there was a really good chemistry within the clubhouse itself, and I feel like now our sole purpose is to go out there and win games.”
Charlie Morton is tougher than you
Houston’s Yuli Gurriel opened the bottom of the second inning by hitting a ball off Atlanta starting pitcher Charlie Morton that ricocheted to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman for an out.
This was the Gurriel comebacker that got Morton's shin in the second inning. My guess is he had to exit because the area swelled over the past inning. pic.twitter.com/NuV4Zm50Yh
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) October 27, 2021
Morton then struck out Chas McCormick on four pitches. After getting Martin Maldonado on a lineout, Morton headed to the dugout.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said the Braves took an X-ray of Morton’s leg in the stadium after the second inning, but it didn’t reveal a break. So, he went back out and opened the third inning by striking out Jose Altuve.
— Jarah Wright (@jarahwright) October 27, 2021
On the final pitch, Morton was in pain and was removed from the game. A short while later, it was determined he had a broken leg. That means Morton got three outs in the World Series on a broken leg.
“Man, gamer,” Braves outfielder Adam Duvall said. “That’s the one word I would describe him as. I couldn’t tell from my angle, I couldn’t tell how hard the ball was hit and where it hit him at, but just him coming out there, I knew it probably wasn’t good because just the way he is and the way he competes.”
Carli Lloyd’s finale
After being held to a scoreless draw by South Korea last week at Children’s Mercy Park, the U.S. women’s national team made sure Carli Lloyd went out a winner on Tuesday.
The U.S. crushed South Korea 6-0 in St. Paul, Minnesota in Lloyd’s final game. Lloyd, 39, didn’t score Tuesday, but ends her career with 134 goals in 316 international appearances.
“It’s been an emotional few days, it’s been an emotional few months,” Lloyd told the crowd at Allianz Field. “It’s been a long career. I don’t know that there’s really much that needs to be said but I just want to take a few minutes to thank a lot of people.
“I want to thank all you fans for the support. It really means the world to me, everybody the doubters, the critics, everybody, I love you all, you’ve pushed me to greater and greater heights throughout my career and I’m extremely thankful for that.”
Here are Lloyd’s full remarks:
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) October 27, 2021
Because of an ankle injury, LeBron James missed the Lakers’ 125-121 overtime win against the Spurs. But he was still active as he helped with some coaching of his own from the sidelines.
Cameras caught James giving advice along with Lakers coach Frank Vogel.