The Atlanta Braves are one win away from clinching baseball’s World Series after securing a 3-2 home victory over the Houston Astros in game 4.
Dansby Swanson and pinch-hitter Jorge Soler hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning on Saturday night, propelling the Braves to a commanding 3-1 series lead.
Game 5 is Sunday night.
The Braves can wrap up the title on their home field, just as they did two stadiums ago when they beat the Cleveland Indians in 1995.
That triumph at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium remains the franchise’s only World Series crown since moving to the Deep South in 1966.
With former President Donald Trump watching from a private box down the right-field line – he even joined fans for the tomahawk chop – this is the closest they’ve been to a second title since then.
A huge shoutout goes to a most unlikely hero.
Former No.1 draft pick Kyle Wright, who has largely been a huge disappointment in repeated chances with the Braves, turned in 4 2/3 gritty innings out of the bullpen after surprise starter Dylan Lee retired only one hitter.
Wright was hardly overpowering, giving up five hits – including a homer by Jose Altuve in the fourth that staked the Astros to a 2-0 lead – and three walks.
Coming from behind
But he continually pitched out of trouble, giving the Braves a semblance of hope until the offense woke up.
That finally occurred in the sixth when Eddie Rosario became the first Atlanta hitter to get past first base with a one-out double off Brooks Raley.
Rosario wound up scoring on another clutch hit by Austin Riley, who lined a two-out single to left against Phil Maton.
The Braves left the bases loaded, but they weren’t done. Just like that, they stunningly engineered the first lead change of the entire Series.
Facing Cristian Javier, Swanson went the opposite way for a homer that tied the game at 2-2.
The celebration had barely simmered down when Soler stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter. On a 2-1 pitch from Javier, he got hold of a hanging slider and drove it into the Astros’ bullpen in left.
The Astros could only kick themselves for squandering countless chances, going hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 on base overall.
Former President Trump said he was invited to the game by Commissioner Rob Manfred and New York Yankees President Randy Levine. Major League Baseball denied making the invitation, saying trump asked to attend the game.