ATLANTA — After 22 years, the Atlanta Braves are heading back to the big show.
Eddie Rosario smashed a three-run homer to help Atlanta punch its first ticket to the World Series since 1999, as the Braves defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 at Truist Park to win Game 6 of the National League Championship Series.
It was the 17th National League pennant in franchise history and the team’s 10th since 1900.
The Braves will face the American League champion Houston Astros in the Fall Classic. Game 1 will be played in Houston on Tuesday night.
The Braves had lost the National League Division Series the last three years, but manager Brian Snitker guided Atlanta past the Milwaukee Brewers in four games to win this year’s NLDS and then dispatched the Dodgers, the defending World Series champions, in six games.
For the Dodgers, it was a bitter defeat. Los Angeles had the second-best regular-season record in baseball with a 106-56 mark and defeated their ancient rivals, the San Francisco Giants, in the NLDS. San Francisco had the best record in baseball with a 107-55 mark. Of the four teams in the championship series, Atlanta had the fewest regular-season wins with 88.
But the Braves looked like world-beaters Saturday night en route to earning a berth in their 10th World Series.
Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on two-out, back-to-back doubles by Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley.
Cody Bellinger tied the game in the fourth inning with an RBI single through shortstop, which had been left vacant by the Braves’ defensive shift.
Rosario then jolted a two-out, two-strike three-run shot into the right-field seats off Dodgers starter Walker Buehler in the bottom half of the inning to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. Rosario’s 14th hit tied the MLB record for most hits in a postseason series. He joined Marco Scutaro (2012 NLCS), Kevin Youkilis (2007 ALCS), Albert Pujols (2004 NLCS) and Hideki Matsui (2004 ALCS).
The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock hit an RBI double down the left-field line in the top of the seventh to cut Atlanta’s lead to 4-2, as Luke Jackson was unable to retire any of the three batters he faced. But Tyler Matzek came on to strike out Pujols, Steven Souza Jr. and Mookie Betts to end the threat.
Atlanta won five pennants during the 1990s but only took home one World Series title, against Cleveland in 1995.
The 1999 Braves had three future Hall of Fame pitchers in Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz and were managed by Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox. Third baseman Chipper Jones also has a plaque in Cooperstown, and first baseman Fred McGriff was said to be Hall of Fame material but never received enough votes.
The Braves and Astros last met in the postseason in 2005, when both teams were in the National League. The Astros took that NLDS series 3-1 en route to winning the NL pennant.
The teams first met in 1962, when the Braves were in Milwaukee and the Houston franchise was known as the Colt .45s. When MLB expanded to four divisions in 1969, both teams were placed in the National League West.
The Braves own a 393-333 record in head-to-head meetings with Houston.
The Braves franchise has been around professional baseball since 1871, when the team, then known as the Red Stockings and playing in Boston, competed in the National Association and won four pennants. The team also played in the first National League game, defeating Philadelphia 6-5 on April 22, 1876.
The Braves have won three World Series, one in every town the franchise has called home: 1914 in Boston, 1957 in Milwaukee, and 1995 in Atlanta.
Beginning Tuesday, they will aim for Series title No. 4.
Information from Baseball-Reference.com was used in compiling this report.
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