- Atlanta Braves win World Series
- It is his first title since 1995
- The Braves defeated the Houston Astros
The Atlanta Braves won their first World Series championship since 1995 on Tuesday, defeating the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6. Jorge Soler hit his third home run of the Series, a three-run run in the third against Luis García, and Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson also connected, according to the news agency The Associated Press.
Max Fried allowed four hits in six innings for the victory. Supported by 66-year-old manager Brian Snitker, a man in the organization for four decades, the underdog Atlanta Braves won the fourth franchise title, roughly nine and a half months after Hall of Fame slugger Hank Aaron died Jan. 22 at age 86.
Atlanta Braves win their first World Series title since 1995
The loss left 72-year-old Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros still seeking his first coaching title. Shortly after 10:00 p.m. (local time), the Atlanta Braves were three outs from their first World Series title since 1995, according to The Associated Press.
The Braves led the Astros 7-0 after eight innings and were ready to deliver the ball to closer Will Smith in the ninth. If the lead held, it would be the most lopsided deciding factor in the Series since Kansas City’s 11-0 win over St. Louis in Game 7 in 1985.
It was not the year of the Atlanta Braves, but they made it
Atlanta fell in order in the top of the eighth, and Braves manager Brian Snitker sent left-hander Tyler Matzek for a second inning at the bottom of the frame. Matzek struck out Aledmys Díaz, Marwin González and José Altuve in order, ending a memorable postseason for a pitcher who was off pro ball so recently in 2019 following a battle with the yips. Matzek has a 1.72 ERA in 13 appearances during this career.
For most of the season, it seemed like this wasn’t the year for the Atlanta Braves. They lost their first four games and injuries soon mounted. They lost their most dynamic player before the All-Star break. They were stuck below .500 in August. However, out of nowhere, all of a sudden, these Atlanta Braves transformed and took off.
Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman, the best
Jorge Soler, Freddie Freeman and the Braves achieved their first World Series championship since 1995, defeating the Houston Astros 7-0 Tuesday night in Game 6. How proud Hammer himself would have been. Max Fried pitched six scoreless innings in the series’ signature pitching performance.
Soler, a July acquisition that tested positive for COVID-19 in the playoffs, backed him up early with a whopping three-run shot for his third home run against the Astros. Freeman hit an RBI double and then punctuated the fight with a solo home run in the seventh to make it 7-0.
Atlanta Braves Win World Series: Total Team Effort
By then, it was a total team effort. Ailing star Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta’s dynamo of the future, leapt from the dugout to join the celebration of Freeman, the longtime face of the franchise. A mere afterthought in the summer heat between the land of the Giants, the White Sox and the Dodgers, but magnificent in the Fall Classic.
Soler hit his heart twice before starting his home run trot after hitting rookie Luis Garcia in the third inning, sending the ball flying completely out of Minute Maid Park. Dansby Swanson also homered and for the last out, nothing could stop them.
The fourth title for the Atlanta Braves
Not a broken leg suffered by starter Charlie Morton in Game 1 of the World Series. Not much of an advantage in Game 5. Supported by 66-year-old manager Brian Snitker, a man in the organization for four decades, the Braves won the fourth franchise title.
Consider it a tribute to the best Braves player of them all, Mr. Hank Aaron. The Hall of Fame slugger died on January 22 at age 86, still supporting his former team, and his legacy was stamped throughout this Series. For 72-year-old Houston manager Dusty Baker, a disappointment. But for many fans who continue to cheer on the Astros in the wake of their signal theft scandal in 2017, some satisfaction.
The July exchanges that paid off in November
The biggest credit to the Braves also goes to general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Undaunted by Acuña’s knee injury, he made a series of trades in July that brought the Fab Four into the outfield: National League Championship Series MVP Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson and Soler.
But even in the age of analytics, guided by a CEO versed in the ways of the new age, the path these Braves took would not square on any computer. Especially with how things looked in the middle of the season. “At the time, we were looking,” third baseman Austin Riley said before Game 6. “I think there’s no question about it.”
Braves Atlanta World Series: Everyone loses in Atlanta except the Braves
Minus Acuña, Atlanta didn’t go above .500 in a single day until the first week of August. The Braves finished 88-73 for the 12th-best record in the majors and the fewest wins among playoff teams; his win total was the lowest for a World Series champion since St. Louis’ 83 in 2006.
Plus, the agonizing history of sports in Atlanta, a city where no team had won a title in the four major professional sports since 1995. The Braves failed to convert a three-game lead over the Dodgers in the Championship Series. in the National League last year. The Hawks fell short in the NBA Finals last season. And then there was the big one, the Falcons led the Patriots 28-3 in the Super Bowl. But these Braves, not this time.
The bad news for the Braves comes in July
Favored in spring training to win their fourth straight National League East title, the Braves lost Acuna to a broken knee in July. Previously, 2020 Triple Crown contender Marcell Ozuna was injured and later put on leave while Major League Baseball investigated him under their domestic violence policy. Ace projected Mike Soroka never recovered from the Achilles injury.
Going into the playoffs, his bullpen was a crazy mosaic. They had a guy who made his major league debut in October, a southpaw pitching in 2019 for the Texas AirHogs in a now-defunct independent league, and a right-hander who was stacking boxes in an appliance warehouse a decade ago. Add in a rookie who was off the list a week ago while watching Game 1 at a hotel in the Atlanta suburbs.
Atlanta Braves World Series: Houston Astros owe
Of course, many fans across the country were backing heavily against José Altuve and the Houston team. Many continue to call them the “Deceptive Astros” for an illegal sign stealing scheme en route to their 2017 title, and those feelings could last forever.
Certainly a lot of people were cheering for Baker. A World Series winner as a player and a highly respected figure on and off the field, he failed to mark the final box on his resume as a championship patron. Braves’ crowns have spanned more than a century.
Who are the 1995 Atlanta champions?
The 1995 Atlanta champions featured five future Hall of Famers: rookie Chipper Jones, aces Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, and manager Bobby Cox. Those rings were the only pieces of hardware that resulted from 14 consecutive divisional titles.
The 1957 Milwaukee Braves were led by Aaron in his only NL MVP season. His 44 was painted in large quantities on the lawns of Truist Park gardens, and Baker and Snitker used to mention how much it had meant to them. There were also the Boston Braves of 1914, nicknamed the “Miracle Braves” in their day. In last place on July 4, they rose to win the pennant, then defeated a highly favored team, the Philadelphia Athletics, to earn their nickname.