World Series 2021: Atlanta Braves one win from title after beating Houston Astros 3-2

Atlanta Braves' Jorge Soler and Dansby Swanson
Dansby Swanson (right) and Jorge Soler (left) hit back-to-back home runs off Astros reliever Cristian Javier, who took the loss

The Atlanta Braves are one win away from their first World Series title since 1995 after coming from behind to beat the Houston Astros 3-2 and take a 3-1 lead in the seven-game series.

Jose Altuve’s 23rd post-season homer in the fourth inning put Houston 2-0 up.

But Atlanta hit back in the sixth when Austin Riley drove in Eddie Rosario.

And the hosts’ comeback was complete when Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the seventh, which proved decisive.

Having been on course to at least ensure the series would return to Houston for a game six, the Astros are now facing elimination on the road – on Halloween.

Without a recognised fourth starting pitcher, Atlanta opted for a “bullpen game”external-link – whereby a battery of relief pitchers handle matters – so rookie Dylan Lee became the first pitcher to make his first major league start in the World Series.

But Lee was pulled after recording only one out at Truist Park, having loaded the bases for Carlos Correa to drive in Altuve for the opening run.

The Astros had six-time All-Star Zack Greinke, recently back from injury, to start, and he gave them four scoreless innings as well as a base hit of his own – but stranding 11 baserunners ultimately cost Houston dearly.

Closer Will Smith, who has not conceded an earned run in the 2021 post-season, became the sixth Braves pitcher used, and retired the visiting side in the ninth to put Atlanta on the brink of another title.

Game five, the final game in Atlanta, takes place on Sunday evening.

Game 1: Houston 2-6 Atlanta Game 5 (in Atlanta): Sun 31 Oct
Game 2: Houston 7-2 Atlanta Game 6* (in Houston): Tue 2 Nov
Game 3: Atlanta 2-0 Houston Game 7* (in Houston): Wed 3 Nov
Game 4: Atlanta 3-2 Houston *if required
Former US President Donald Trump does the 'tomahawk chop' gesture at Truist Park during game foiur
Former US president Donald Trump was at Truist Park for game four – and was seen on camera joining in with the ‘tomahawk chop’, a gesture popular with Braves fans but which has been criticised as degrading and racist by some Native American groups
Houston Astros catcher Garrett Stubbs
During the coronavirus pandemic, MLB teams have carried a “taxi squad” of reserve players ready to join the 26-man roster at short notice – and after back-up catcher Jason Castro tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, third-choice catcher Garrett Stubbs joined the Astros roster

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