Atlanta Braves silence punchless Astros in Game 3 to take World Series lead

Austin Riley keeps coming up with one clutch hit after another on baseball’s biggest stage.

Riley drove in the first run of the Braves’ 2-0 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the World Series on a damp Friday night in Atlanta.

The Braves are now up 2-1 in the series, two wins away from their first championship since 1995.

Their burly third baseman is a huge reason why.

After a breakout year in 2021 that sparks chants of “MVP! MVP! MVP!” from Atlanta fans when he comes to the plate, Riley has carried his regular-season success right to the postseason.

Riley provided the only offense that would be needed on a night when the Braves pitchers did not allow a hit until the eighth inning.

With one out and two runners aboard, Riley yanked one down the third-base line for a double that sent Eddie Rosario scooting home.

Travis d’Arnaud provided some insurance with a mammoth homer over the center-field wall in the eighth, but it’s impossible to ignore Riley’s impact on the Atlanta lineup.

During the NL Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, Riley went 5 of 15 with a homer to help the Braves advance to face the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers, the reigning champs and the team that sent Atlanta packing in 2020.

Not this time.

Not with Riley in the middle of things.

He won Game 1 with a walk-off hit in the ninth. In the Game 6 clincher, Riley put the Braves ahead with a two-out RBI double in the first, yet another clutch hit that was overshadowed by Rosario’s MVP-winning performance.

Riley is at it again in the World Series.

In Game 1 at Houston, he doubled in a run in the first inning to help spark a 6-2 victory.

On Friday, he jumped on a cutter from rookie Luis Garcia, smoking it just inside the third-base bag – a huge blow in the first nail-biting game of the Series.

The big hits just keep on coming for the 24-year-old cleanup hitter.