No one saw this one coming. At least not three months ago. Back then, the Atlanta Braves couldn’t even get themselves above the .500 mark. Much less think about making their way to the playoffs and then winning them. Yet here we are: the Atlanta Braves are World Series champions in 2021 following a 7-0 domination of the Houston Astros in Game 6 to clinch their first crown since 1995 and only the second since the franchise moved to Atlanta. While it takes a whole team to win it, two players, in particular, stood out on this evening.
Jorge Soler was one of them. In the third inning, with two men aboard, he launched a ball over the train tracks in deep left field for a three-run homer to put his team up 3-0. That homer sealed WS MVP honors for the big slugger, a trade acquisition from Kansas City that helped turn the team’s fortunes around starting back in the summer. Though the Braves had led 4-0 in Sunday’s Game 5 and lost, this always felt different with Max Fried on the mound. The left-handed pitcher had looked shaky throughout most of the postseason, but he brought his best to the table in this outing, pitching six innings without allowing a walk and only conceding three hits to the stifled Astros’ typically potent offense. Dansby Swanson, a local hero that grew up near Atlanta, then hit a two-run blast in the fifth to make it 5-0. Freddie Freeman, in what could possibly be his final game as a Brave, tacked on further, hitting an RBI double in the seventh and then a solo shot in the seventh to conclude the 7-0 scoreline. Brian Snitker and Alex Anthopoulos had somehow brought the Braves a World Series crown in one of the most roller-coaster years you’re likely to see in the game of baseball. This had ‘worst-to-first kind of vibes, but this time the Braves closed it out and won it all.