Blythe Hastings ’23
The Atlanta Braves have won their first World Series title since 1995 after defeating the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. The Braves took the Series four games to two behind strong pitching and three big home runs. And although Atlanta couldn’t close out the Astros at home in Game 5, thousands of fans flocked to the Braves’ stadium, Truist Park, on Tuesday to watch the game on a cold night. The Braves once again homered their way to an early lead.
In the top of the third, Braves Jorge Soler hammered the eighth pitch from Astros starter Luis Garcia for a three-run home run after Ozzie Albies singled and Eddie Rosario walked around two flyouts. Soler’s third homer of the Series traveled an estimated 446 feet, and it was the last pitch Garcia, starting on short rest, threw. Soler, who was born in Cuba, was named Series MVP. The Braves’ lead grew to 5-0 in the top of the fifth when Atlanta-area native Dansby Swanson crushed a two-run homer off Astros reliever Cristian Javier. Albies, who had walked to lead off the inning, scored ahead of Swanson.
One out and two batters later, Freddie Freeman doubled home Soler, who had walked, making the score 6-0. Freeman, who could potentially be a free agent after the season, blasted a solo home run in the top of the seventh off Houston’s Ryne Stanek to make it 7-0. Atlanta starting pitcher Max Fried was spectacular, striking out six in six innings and giving up just four singles. Two of those baserunners were erased on double plays, with Fried starting one of them. Relievers Tyler Matzek and Will Smith pitched the final three innings. The three Braves hurlers combined to strike out 10, throwing 121 pitches, two-thirds of them for strikes.
The Astros had only six hits, all singles, and had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position. Twenty-six years ago when the Braves won their last World Series, Atlanta and Houston were both National League teams and media mogul Ted Turner owned the team. And they also had strong pitching with three future Hall of Famers, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz in the starting rotation. The Braves’ success this season has not insulated them from controversy.
Native American groups and advocates have demanded the organization eliminate the “Tomahawk Chop” symbol and gesture from its branding and game day traditions, saying the team is perpetuating racist stereotypes. Last summer, the Braves said they were reviewing the chop amid calls from the Native community. The team won just 72 games in 2017 but began a four-year run of making the postseason with 90 wins in 2018. The Braves hold the MLB record with 14 consecutive division titles, from 1991 to 2005, and won the one World Series title in that time. Last year the Braves held a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series but lost when the Los Angeles Dodgers won the final three contests and then the World Series. The title gives the city its first major professional sports league championship since Atlanta United won MLS Cup in 2018.