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Atlanta Braves edge Houston Astros to reach brink of World Series title

Atlanta take a 3-1 series lead and could clinch the title in Game Five on Sunday.

Jorge Soler watches his home run: the Braves moved to within one win of the World Series title.
Jorge Soler watches his home run: the Braves moved to within one win of the World Series title.
Image: John Bazemore

DANSBY SWANSON AND Jorge Soler smashed back-to-back home runs and the Atlanta Braves defeated the Houston Astros 3-2 on Saturday to reach the brink of their first World Series title since 1995.

Swanson and Soler hammered solo blasts in the seventh inning to grab the lead as the Braves seized a 3-1 edge in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final, which could end with Game Five on Sunday in Atlanta.

“It’s such a cool moment for this city but we’ve got one more and we can’t take anything for granted,” Swanson said. “We’ve got to be ready and come out and play our game tomorrow.”

The Braves, who improved to 7-0 at home in this year’s playoffs, are playing in the World Series for the first time since 1999.

The Astros are in the World Series for the third time in five seasons, seeking their first crown since 2017.

Houston relief pitcher Cristian Javier entered in the seventh inning and the 24-year-old Dominican right-hander was tagged for back-to-back solo homers by US slugger Swanson to right field and Cuban pinch-hitter Soler to left field that gave the Braves a 3-2 advantage.

“In that moment, the ‘compete’ factor went through the roof,” Swanson said. “Something amazing happened.”

When Soler followed him with what proved to be the winning run, Swanson said, “I told him you didn’t have to one-up me by hitting yours so hard.”

Soler, who won a World Series crown with the 2016 Chicago Cubs, said through a translator he was “focusing on the fastball but ready for the slider when it came.

“This is one of the most enjoyable teams I’ve ever played on. We have no fear. And now we’re one win away from winning the World Series.”

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© – AFP, 2021

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