Blythe Hastings ’23
The Atlanta Braves mounted a late comeback against the Houston Astros on Saturday to take Game 4 of the World Series by a score of 3-2. The Braves now lead the best-of-seven series by 3-1, which means they’re only one win away from their first World Series title since 1995. Led by a strong start from 38-year-old Zack Greinke and yet another postseason home run from Jose Altuve, the Astros held a 2-0 lead going into the sixth inning. At that point, though, the Braves began taking advantage of Houston bullpen. A two-out single by Austin Riley plated Eddie Rosario, but the Braves weren’t able to do any additional damage.
In the bottom of the seventh Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler each hit solo home runs off Cristian Javier to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. Per Elias, Swanson and Soler are the No. 8 and No. 9 hitters to hit back-to-back home runs in World Series history. The Braves managed the victory even though their starting pitcher, Dylan Lee, was able to retire only one of the four batters he faced. Kyle Wright followed him and did the heavy lifting, as he allowed only one run, by Altuve, in almost 5 innings of work.
From that point, four Atlanta relievers combined for four shutout innings. Will Smith worked in the ninth for his sixth save of the 2021 postseason. Eddie Rosario also aided the cause with a ranging catch at the left field wall to rob Altuve of extra bases in the eighth. Astros hitters in Game 4 left 11 runners on base and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Going into Game 4, Astros relievers had allowed two earned runs in their previous six games. They then allowed three runs in the span of 10 batters in the sixth and seventh innings to turn a 2-0 lead into a 3-2 deficit.
Austin Riley got Atlanta on the board with an RBI single against Phil Maton in the sixth inning. In the seventh, Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back solo home runs against Cristian Javier to give the Braves the lead. It was the first lead change of the series and those are the first back-to-back homers in Brave’s postseason history. Swanson’s home run came in an 0-2 count, the first 0-2 homer Javier allowed all season. Game 5 is scheduled for Sunday evening back at Truist Park. A Braves win in Game 5 will make them the first team to clinch the World Series on its home field since the Red Sox in 2013. The series is not over yet, but the Braves are in excellent position.
Historically, teams that take a 3-1 lead in the World Series have gone on to win the series 87 percent of the time. It’s 84 percent for all best-of-seven series. Atlanta has three chances to win one game to clinch its first championship since 1995. The Astros must win three straight games against a Braves team that hasn’t lost three straight games to a single opponent since late August.