After the Houston Astros won Game 5, the World Series returned to Houston for at least one more game. The Atlanta Braves had won Game 3 and Game 4 to grab a commanding 3-1 series lead. Max Fried took the mound after being knocked for six runs on seven hits over five innings in Game 2. The left-hander completely shut down the Astros’ bats, while the Braves’ offense came alive for three homers on the way to a 7-0 clinching win.
A team that won just 88 games in the regular season was essentially no one but Atlanta fans’ pick to win it all. If you need proof of that, just look at my NLDS preview of the Braves versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Without Ronald Acuna Jr., Mike Soroka, Marcell Ozuna, and others? No chance. Facing the Brewers pitching staff and defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS? I don’t think so. Then having to face an absolute killer offense in the Houston Astros in the World Series? That’ll be a walk in the park for the Astros. Well, they proved me and everyone else wrong who didn’t buy it every freakin’ step of the way.
Fried took the hill in the first and got into some early trouble. After a Jose Altuve single, Michael Brantley grounded out to Freddie Freeman. Freeman went to flip the ball to Fried, but the southpaw mistimed the run over to first and wound up getting stepped on by Brantley. But he settled in after that. Fried set the next three down in order, including strikeouts of Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel. Over his six innings of work, he only surrendered four hits while striking out six. He set the side down in order in the second and the fifth. The moment wasn’t too big for the 27-year old as he gave the Braves everything he had in a clinching game.
Max Fried, 98mph ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/HK2jL90vMr
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) November 3, 2021
The scoring started in the third, as World Series MVP Jorge Soler launched his third homer of the series, a three-run shot up onto the train tracks. The bomb was reminiscent of the one that Albert Pujols hit back in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS, as it was nearly identical to the future Hall of Famer’s shot. Soler proved to be an amazing trade at the trade deadline, and they had only given up right-handed pitching prospect Kasey Kalich to get him.
Who did it better? pic.twitter.com/mtoeDRWqvv
— MLB (@MLB) November 3, 2021
Dansby Swanson joined the party in the fifth with a two-run homer off of Cristian Javier. The Braves added another run in the fifth, as Freeman doubled home Soler all the way from first after the latter had walked. Ryne Stanek pitched the seventh for the Astros, and he recorded two quick outs before Freeman came up. The now first-time free agent smacked the third homer of the game and his second of the season. The solo shot essentially was the nail in the coffin for the Astros, as that made it 7-0.
Freddie Freeman with a classic Freddie Freeman swing for the home run to left-center field.
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) November 3, 2021
Tyler Matzek pitched the seventh and the eighth while striking out four and allowing just one baserunner on a single. Will Smith allowed a leadoff single to Brantley in the ninth before setting the next three down in order fairly easily as the celebration ensued.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) November 3, 2021
Ozzie Albies and Freeman each had two hits, while Soler, Duvall, and Swanson had a hit apiece. World Series MVP Soler finished the series going 6-for-20 (.300) with three big homers, six RBI, four runs, and three walks.
Ryan Pressly and Yimi Garcia each had a shutout inning to finish the game and keep it at 7-0. Maton had 1 1/3 shutout innings while allowing two hits. Blake Taylor had come in to replace Javier following the homer. Taylor recorded only one out before being pulled for Phil Maton after the Freeman RBI double. Altuve, Correa, Yordan Alvarez, and Martin Maldonado each had one hit, while Brantley had two. The Astros just could never get the big hit off of the three arms the Braves threw out there.
For the Braves, they get to celebrate the ultimate goal of winning the World Series, their first one since 1995. Freeman wants to return to the team he has been with for his first 12 seasons, and now since they won it all, that makes it even more enticing.
The Astros proved that they can be a good team without cheating, but their offense completely failed them in the World Series, especially in the all decisive Game 6. Now, they lose one of the big boppers and best defensive player on the team in Correa to free agency. There is obviously a big market for the shortstop and it will be tough for Houston to entice him to come back. Money talks.
Follow Alex Kielar on Twitter @AlexKielar
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images