By Kevin Bland
For the 2021 World Series matchup it was a great matchup between two very accomplished franchises. For the Braves it was their first appearance in the Fall Classic since 1999 against the New York Yankees. For Houston it was quite the opposite as this was their third time in five years being in the series. The Braves defeated the Brewers 3-1 in the division series and stunned the Dodgers in the NLCS four games to two. The Astros beat the White Sox 3-1 and they beat the Red Sox 4-2, also winning the last three games. Needless to say it was going to be a great series.
In Game 1, the Braves put veteran Charlie Morton on the mound while the Astros went with Framber Valdez. But it did not take long for Atlanta to get on the board when Jorge Soler absolutely crushed a line drive homer into the Crawford boxes to get Atlanta in front. Then after a pair of doubles, Austin Riley drove in Ozzie Albies on a double to center. In the second, with two men in scoring position, Soler drove in Travis D’Arnaud on a fielder’s choice to short. Then in the third, trade deadline acquisition Adam Duvall followed in Soler’s footsteps with a two-run homer into left. But in the fourth, Kyle Tucker scored on an error by shortstop Dansby Swanson. Then, after some zeroes were put up, Freddie Freeman drove in Swanson. In the bottom half of the inning, Carlos Correa drove in Yordan Alvarez on a groundout. From there, the Braves were able to wrap up a game one win setting them up nicely for game two on Wednesday.
In Game 2, the Braves went to their young ace Max Fried while the Astros went with Jose Urquidy. But this time it was the opposite start to the scoring when Alex Bregman knocked in Jose Altuve on a Sac Fly to center. But it did not take long for Atlanta to respond when Travis D’Arnaud homered to left in the top of the second. But in the bottom half of the inning the Astros poured it on with run-scoring singles from Jose Siri, Martin Maldonado, and Michael Brantley putting them up 5-1. In the 5th, Freddie Freeman drove in a run to cut the lead to three but Urquidy worked out of it to end his strong outing. In the 6th, the Astros added to their lead when Ozzie Albies dropped a potential inning ending double play ball. Then to cap a much needed offensive outburst, Jose Altuve homered to left to give the Astros a 7-2 lead. After the Astros bullpen closed out the Braves offense the series would head to Atlanta tied 1-1.
In Game 3, the Astros went with Luis Garcia while the Braves went with another young star, Ian Anderson. The offense in this game was a lot less effective than in the previous two games. Nevertheless, an Austin Riley RBI double down the left field line gave Atlanta a 1-0 in the bottom half of the third. From there, Ian Anderson threw 5 no-hit innings and A.J. Minter and Luke Jackson helped carry it over until Aledmys Diaz, who was pinch hitting, singled to break up the no-hitter. Then in the bottom of the eighth, Travis D’Arnaud crushed a homer into dead center giving the Braves a two run cushion. Will Smith hammered down the save and Atlanta stormed ahead 2-1 in the series.
In Game 4, Dusty Baker gave the ball to Zack Greinke while Brian Snitker went with Dylan Lee. After Houston loaded the bases with only one out, Snitker quickly went to the pen to bring Kyle Wright into the game and bail Lee out. But Carlos Correa grounded out weakly to third and brought in the first run putting Houston up 1-0. After the pitching for both sides settled in, Jose Altuve smoked a line drive homer into his own bullpen making it 2-0 Astros. But the Astros pitchers could not last forever and that was broken when Austin Riley knocked a run in to cut the lead in half. And then in the bottom of the 7th, Dansby Swanson came up clutch and homered into the flowers of the Chop House to tie the game. Then the very next batter, Jorge Soler, followed up Swanson with a long homer of his own into the Houston bullpen to give the Braves the lead 3-2. The Braves then locked it down and pushed Houston to the brink of elimination.
In Game 5, Baker once again turned to Framber Valdez and Snitker gave the ball to Tucker Davidson. But in the bottom of the 1st, Adam Duvall walloped a grand slam to put the Braves up 4-0 early. But the Astros quickly responded by cutting the lead in half on an RBI double by Alex Bregman and then a Sac Fly from Martin Maldonado. Then in their next at-bats, they finished their comeback with an RBI double from Carlos Correa and a run from Yuli Gurriel. However, Freddie Freeman led off the third by launching a 460 foot homer halfway up the seats in right center. Then in the fifth, the Astros stormed in front when A.J. Minter walked in a run and then Marwin Gonzalez drove in two on a single. They then added some insurance on RBI singles from Maldonado and Correa in the eighth and ninth. They finished off the Braves and set the series back to Houston with Atlanta up 3-2.
In Game 6, the Braves once again turned to Max Fried while the Astros went with Luis Garcia. Once again, the scoring did not take long to start when, in the top half of the second, Jorge Soler hit a ball that landed in the Pacific Ocean to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead. Atlanta’s pitching stayed strong and Dansby Swanson helped add to the lead with a two-run homer to left. Freddie Freeman then drove in a run on a double to make it 6-0. Then, two innings later, Freeman went all the way around the bases on a homer to left center. The Braves closed it out and clinched their first World Series in 26 years while the Astros drop their second World Series in three years.
This moment means a lot more to the Braves than you think. Dansby Swanson, the 27 year old shortstop, was born and raised in Kennesaw, Georgia about ten 20 minutes north of Truist Park. For Freddie Freeman, he also was drafted by the Braves in 2010 and has spent his whole career in Atlanta, and it has finally paid off. Also, Brian Snitker, the manager of the Braves, not only won the series but also beat Tony Snitker, his son and Astros hitting coach. Overall, this win means a lot for any member of the Braves organization or fanbase.