Sunday, January 23 2022

ATLANTA — It was like a lightning bolt from the sky, and in a stunning sequence of just five pitches Saturday evening, Atlanta stunned the Houston Astros, 3-2, moving within one victory from their first World Series title in a quarter-century.

Atlanta, trailing the entire night, sent the sellout crowd of 43,125 partying into the streets at the surrounding Battery with back-to-back homers that will be talked about for generations.

Atlanta, trailing 2-1 with one out in the seventh inning, watched No. 8 hitter Dansby Swanson hit his first home run of the postseason with an opposite-field shot over the right-field wall, and four pitches later, it was pinch-hitter Jorge Soler hitting a homer over the left-field wall.

It was the first lead change of the World Series, giving Atlanta a 3 games to 1 lead with Game 5 scheduled Sunday night (8:15 ET, Fox) at Truist Park, where Atlanta has won all seven games this postseason.

“This is our house,” said Atlanta left fielder Eddie Rosario. “We’re coming tomorrow with that energy and that focus. We know they’re a resilient group and they don’t give up, but we have our heads high right now, and we’re going to be ready to play.”

It was a dramatic turn of events with Swanson and Soler becoming only the fifth pair of teammates to go back-to-back in World Series history, and the only National League team accomplishing the feat, joining Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager of the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson ties the game with a solo home run in the seventh inning.Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson ties the game with a solo home run in the seventh inning.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson ties the game with a solo home run in the seventh inning.

And Soler’s homer was only the fourth pinch-hit, go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later in World Series history, last accomplished by Ed Sprague of the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays.

The back-to-back blasts had the fans screaming and chanting into the night, while Swanson wisely ducked for cover, making sure this time there would be no damage to his face.

It was a week ago during Atlanta’s raucous celebration in the NLCS that left Swanson profusely bleeding from above his left eye, suffering a nasty cut that required four stitches.

This night, he came out unharmed, but sitting on top of the world.

Swanson, who was hitting just .225 with only one extra-base hit this postseason, was down 0-and-2 in the count, seeing all sliders from Cristian Javier. He threw a 95-mph fastball with the next pitch. Right down the middle. Swanson didn’t miss it, sending it over the right field wall. He ran around the bases with his right arm thrust high into the sky.

“It was just a complete game changer,” said Soler.

Soler, who missed the start of the postseason after testing positive for COVID-19, was ahead 2-and-1 in the count when Javier tried to throw an 80-mph slider past him. Soler hit a line drive shot that barely cleared the wall.


Javier, who had given up just four hits while striking out 15 batters in nine innings this postseason, was removed, serenaded by the tomahawk chants echoing in the ballpark, and Atlanta’s bullpen made sure it would stand.

GAME 4: Trump attends the World Series and does tomahawk chop

DYLAN LEE: Atlanta lefty makes history with first career start in World Series

When he scored the game-winning run in Atlanta’s Game 2 victory over the Dodgers in the NLCS, he was victimized by an errant helmet, and instead of celebrating with his teammates in the clubhouse, he was getting stitches.

“It’s funny now,’’ Swanson told USA TODAY Sports, “but at the time, I was not happy. It is what it is. Battle scars, baby!’’

This night, the Astros were the ones left scarred, ruining Jose Altuve’s heroics.

Altuve, with the organist playing, “It’s a Small World After All,’’ hit the 23nd home run of his postseason career in the fourth inning. It was the second-most in history behind only Manny Ramirez’s 29 homers in 111 postseason games. Altuve hit his 23rd homer in just 77 postseason games.

It was Altuve who set the stage for the Astros’ night. He swung at the first pitch of the game for an infield single off rookie Dylan Lee, who became the first pitcher whose first start was in a World Series game.

The Lee family didn’t get a chance to savor it long.

He lasted just 15 pitches, becoming the first starting pitcher since 2003 to last four batters or less.

Atlanta reliever Kyle Wright was rushed into the game to prevent a complete disaster, inheriting a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He escaped, with the only run scoring when Altuve scampered home on Carlos Correa’s groundout. He lasted 4 ⅔ innings, giving up Altuve’ homer, the longest outing by an Atlanta reliever in World Series history.

“The situation we put him in was probably something we didn’t want to do, honestly, but how he limited damage,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “His stuff was so good tonight too.

“Kyle is the reason we won the game, how he kept that thing in check and allowed us to stay around in that game. That was huge.”

The Astros’ 2-0 lead was cut in half by Austin Riley’s two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth inning, and then completely disappeared, unraveling the early work by Astros 38-year-old starter Zack Greinke.

Why, if he wasn’t a nuisance enough to Atlanta, Greinke even drilled a a one-out single to center in the second inning, becoming the first pitcher to produce a hit in a World Series game since Corey Kluber for Cleveland in Game 4 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Greinke couldn’t help but laugh, with the Astros hooting and hollering from the bench.

Who knew that by the end of the night, it would be Swanson and Soler who got the last laugh.

“I just want to win tomorrow,” Snitker said. “I’d rather be up three than down three, I guess. But I’ve been around too long to get ahead of myself.”

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Braves hit back-to-back homers to beat Astros in World Series Game 4

Source: Yahoo Sports


Astros vs. Braves Game 4 Recap


Top pick 'got all the jitters out' in rough debut

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Watch Bucks vs. Kings: TV channel, live stream info, start time

Who’s Playing Sacramento @ Milwaukee Current Records: Sacramento 18-29; Milwaukee 29-19 What to Know The Sacramento Kings are 2-10 against the Milwaukee Bucks since November of 2015, but they’ll have a chance to close the gap a little bit Saturday. Sacramento will take on Milwaukee at 7 p.m. ET at Fiserv Forum after having had […]

Read More

Kings vs Bucks Prediction, NBA Picks and Betting Trends for Tonight’s Game

The Milwaukee Bucks continue their defence of their NBA Championship when they welcome the Sacramento Kings to the Fiserv Forum on Saturday night. Let’s take a look at the top NBA picks and betting trends, as well as the starting lineups for tonight’s Bulls vs Bucks game. Kings vs Bucks Game Info Sacramento Kings  (18-29) […]

Read More

Ortiz’s HOF case changing stigma around DH?

If anyone makes the Baseball Hall of Fame when results of the always contentious voting are announced Tuesday, it will be legendary Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. The gregarious postseason hero known as Big Papi is the only candidate trending toward potential induction in the ballots already made public, as tracked by Ryan Thibodaux […]

Read More