In the pivotal Game 3 of the World Series between the Astros and Braves on Friday night at Truist Park, Atlanta rookie right-hander Ian Anderson pitched five no-hit innings before being lifted in favor of reliever A.J. Minter. At the time, Anderson was staked to a 1-0 lead thanks to Austin Riley's one-out, RBI double in the third inning.
Two Braves relievers extended the no-hit bid to seven innings until a third reliever, Tyler Matzek allowed a single to pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz to lead off the eighth. The Braves added an insurance run on Travis d'Arnaud's solo homer and wound up winning Game 3 by a score of 2-0. They now lead the best-of-seven series by a count of 2-1.
Anderson overcame some early command issues and wound up striking out four against three walks. Of his 76 pitches, just 39 went for strikes. While Anderson notched just five swings and misses on the night, he also allowed just three hard-hit balls.
As it turns out, Anderson's five no-hit innings were the fourth-most ever by a rookie in postseason history:
Longest no-hit bids by rookies, postseason history:— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 30, 2021
2013 NLDS G4 Michael Wacha: 7 1/3 IP
2021 ALCS G6 Luis García: 5 2/3 IP
1912 WS G1 Jeff Tesreau: 5 1/3 IP
2021 WS G3 Ian Anderson: 5 IP*
And here's some even more exclusive company:
Here is a list of all the starting pitchers in baseball history who have had an outing of at least two innings while giving up zero hits in the World Series.— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) October 30, 2021
1) Don Larsen
2) Ian Anderson
While Anderson has yet to work deep in any of his now four starts this postseason, he's thrived at keeping runs off the board -- he's given up just three in 17 innings in these playoffs.
Braves manager Brian Snitker pulled Anderson before he could face the tough Houston lineup for a third time. The temptation to ride Anderson longer must have been strong, given the heavy load lifted by the Atlanta bullpen and the uncertain rotation moving forward, plus the fact that the two teams won't have another off day until Monday (should the series go that long). However, Snitker appeared to have the decision made as soon as Anderson entered the dugout after striking out pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez to end the top of the fifth.
Snitker said he made the decision with his "gut" and noted Anderson's pitch count made the call easier.
“He wasn’t going to pitch a 9-inning no-hitter. I went with my eyes, my gut. It could have backfired I guess. I thought in a game of this magnitude, he had done his job.” –Brian Snitker on pulling Ian Anderson with a no-hitter through 5 IP— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) October 30, 2021
"You want the chance to compete, especially on the biggest stage like this is," Anderson told reporters. "Yeah, I knew he wasn't going to budge. It's hard to. You've got guys like Matzek and Minter and Luke and Will at the back end coming in, you can't blame him for going to those guys. Those guys, time in and time out, get it done, and they did it again tonight."
Anderson during the regular season -- his age-23 campaign -- pitched to a 3.58 ERA (124 ERA+) with 124 strikeouts and 51 unintentional walks in 128 1/3 innings.
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