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Braves thump Astros to snap 26-year World Series drought

JORGE Soler smacked a mammoth three-run homer, Dansby Swanson hit a two-run blast and Max Fried pitched six shutout innings as the Atlanta Braves won their first World Series title since 1995 with a resounding 7-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

Freddie Freeman also went deep for the Braves, who won the best-of-seven series four games to two. Fried (1-1) gave up four hits and struck six without issuing a walk.

Tyler Matzek struck out four and allowed one hit in two innings and Will Smith yielded one hit in the ninth before retiring Yuli Gurriel on a grounder to complete a six-hit shutout as Atlanta pitching shut down the Astros once again.

All the Houston hits on Tuesday were singles. The Astros scored just four total runs in their four World Series losses, and they were blanked twice.

Soler was named World Series MVP after becoming the fourth player in Braves history to hit three homers in a World Series. The others are Hall of Famer Hank Aaron (1957), Lonnie Smith (1991), and Ryan Klesko (1995).

The Astros have played in the World Series three times in the past five seasons. Houston defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 and lost to the Washington Nationals in 2019 prior to this year’s defeat.

The Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians in six games in 1995 for their first World Series title in Atlanta. They relocated from Milwaukee prior to the 1966 season.

Houston’s Luis Garcia (0-2) allowed three runs, two hits and one walk while striking out three in 2-2/3 innings.

Soler’s 446-foot blast came on an eight-pitch at-bat in the third inning after Ozzie Albies hit a leadoff single and Eddie Rosario drew a two-out walk off Garcia.

Soler jumped all over a full-count cutter and sent a rocket over the train tracks above the left-center-field fence to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead.

Swanson’s two-run homer off Cristian Javier was the key blow of a three-run fifth inning. Albies drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Swanson came up one out later and sent a 2-2 fastball over the wall in left for his second homer of the series.

Blake Taylor replaced Javier and walked Soler before Freeman followed with a run-scoring double off the fence in left center to make it 6-0.

Freeman hit a two-out solo homer to center in the seventh off Ryne Stanek to make it a seven-run margin. It was Freeman’s second homer of the series and fifth of the 2021 postseason. — Reuters

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