Moments later, Morton hopped off the field and ended his season 16 lanes after the ball hit him. He was replaced by AJ Minter, who won the victory in relief.
“He hit a guy out on a broken leg,” Minter said. “It’s pretty remarkable.”
Snitker suggested that the break might not have developed before Morton went back to third inning.
“I’m not a doctor and all that, but I do not know if it was broken when he did,” the manager said, referring to outs recorded in the second half. “I mean, it was stressful, but he felt ok.”
Atlanta is allowed to replace Morton on the World Series list with another pitcher, but it has lost one of the pillars of its pitching staff and someone with remarkable success against the Astros.
The normally reliable Morton went 14-6 with a 3.34 earned run average in the regular season for Atlanta, with a major league-high 33 starts. In 14 major league seasons, including two with the Astros, Morton has established himself as a clutch postseason pitcher and has done particularly well against his former team.
Before Tuesday’s game, Morton had a record of 3-0 in the post-season against the Astros, with a microscopic ERA of 0.57. Two of those victories came in 2020 when he pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series.