3-2. Soler, Swanson homer as Braves close to World Series title
Cuban pinch hitter Jorge Soler and shortstop Dansby Swanson hit back-to-back home runs for the Atlanta Braves, who beat the Houston Astros 3-2 and are within one win of clinching the World Series title.
With their victory, Saturday, the Braves go 3-1 in the Fall Classic series played to the best of seven.
One more win will make the World Series champions.
Exactly three months after the day the Braves called up Soler in those final moments before the trade deadline, Atlanta called up the outfielder for a pinch-hitter, which tied Game 4 of the World Series.
His hit from four corners sent Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez crashing violently into the wall.
Soler’s lone shot in the seventh off reliever Cristian Javier immediately followed the same penalty from Dansby Swanson.
Both consecutive explosions put the Braves on the cusp of their first World Series title since 1995.
With a 3-2 win that required wood in the last inning and six pitchers, the Braves took a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven Series.
Soler (2), who was perfect with the wood when hitting 1 of 1, sent the ball to the fairway in the bottom of the seventh inning when there was one out in the inning, hitting 107 miles per hour.
Soler, whose arrival during the season made him one of four acquired outfielders to rescue the Braves after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s terrible knee injury that ended his season, hit an 80.6 mph pitch to the left.
What it lacked in height, the hitting had it in speed as it hit 107 mph, but it barely surpassed the six-foot wall that protects the Astros’ bullpen.
Alvarez hit the wall and Soler floated around the bases with the Braves’ last and the biggest hit of the season.
Swanson and Soler were the first eighth and ninth hitters to hit consecutive home runs in the World Series.
The Cuban, who sent the ball flying 372 feet over the top of left field, punished the Dominican relay Cristian Javier with his blow to the ball and sealed the score with the victory race.
Soler capped the win with his four-corner hit and put the Braves just one win away from capturing the World Series.
While Swanson (1), in that same seventh inning, was responsible for leveling the scoreboard 2-2 with his home run, also connecting against Javier.
Puerto Rican ranger Eddie Rosario hit the batter’s box twice in four trips, and he hit the buzzer once.
Rosario was tasked with scoring the Braves’ first run in the sixth inning by being pushed to the ring with a single to left field by third baseman Austin Riley.
On the mound the victory was credited by relief Tyler Matzek (1-0) in one-episode work, allowing only one hit.
The Astros responded with a home run by Venezuelan second baseman José Altuve (2), with no teammates on the way.
In the fourth inning, Altuve knocked the ball out of the field with a 434-foot blow over the center-field fence.
The Venezuelan hit reliever Kyle Wright’s pitches, with no runners ahead, when the pitcher had just one out in the episode.
Altuve had two hits in five trips to the batter’s cage, drove in one run, and scored both for the Astros.
In addition to having entered the register with his homers, Altuve stepped on the doorbell in the first episode, rolling to the third of the Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa.
The Puerto Rican traveled four times to the batter’s box and connected once, ending with an RBI.
The loss was charged by Javier (0-1) in a third of the inning, accepting a punishment of two homers and two runs and striking out one.
The fifth game of the series will take place on Sunday, again in the field of the Braves, who have not informed who will go up to the mound, while the Astros will have Dominican Framber Valdez as their starter.