Braves use back-to-back HRs to beat Astros, take 3-1 Series lead

Published 12:15 am Sunday, October 31, 2021

ATLANTA (AP) — Dansby Swanson picked a good time to drive in his first run of the World Series.

With Atlanta trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning in Saturday night’s Game 4, Swanson lined a 95 mph fastball from Cristian Javier over the right field wall for his first homer of the postseason, tying the game.

Pinch-hitter Jorge Soler followed with a go-ahead homer, also against Javier. It was the first time the Braves have hit back-to-back World Series homers.

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Thanks to the sudden power display, the Braves won 3-2 and lead the World Series, three games to one. The Braves can clinch their first World Series championship since 1995 in Game 5 on Sunday night.

Before his homer, Swanson had been 2 for 11 in the World Series. He lined out and struck out in his first two at-bats on Saturday night.

Swanson, a right-handed hitter, hit the opposite-field homer over the brick wall in right field. He watched the flight of the ball as he ran to first base and then triumphantly raised his right arm after rounding the bag.

Swanson’s big hit was an important one for a Braves offense that appeared to be stuck on a two-run hole. The Braves suffered a 7-2 loss in Game 2 before riding a strong start from Ian Anderson for a 2-0 win in Friday night’s Game 3.

Soler’s drive sailed just over the reach of Astros left fielder Yordan Valdez, who crashed into the wall while trying to make the catch.

It was the second time in the postseason the Braves hit back-to-back home runs. Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario hit homers in consecutive at-bats in the second inning of Atlanta’s 9-2 win at Los Angeles in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Swanson and the Braves will try to build off the power resurgence in Sunday night’s Game 5 against Framber Valdez, the Astros’ Game 1 starter.

Entering the game, Swanson had a .273 career batting average in 30 postseason games. He hit three homers in last year’s postseason, including two against Miami in the NL Division Series and one against the Dodgers in the NLCS.