Braves manager Brian Snitker holds up the trophy after beating Houston 7-0 in Game 6 to win the best-of-seven World Series 4-2 on Tuesday in Houston. The Braves won Game 6 7-0. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Braves manager Brian Snitker holds up the trophy after beating Houston 7-0 in Game 6 to win the best-of-seven World Series 4-2 on Tuesday in Houston. The Braves won Game 6 7-0. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Braves blank Astros, capture 1st World Series title since ’95

Atlanta wins Game 6 7-0 and captures the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Associated Press

HOUSTON — Most of the season, it just seemed this wasn’t their year.

They dropped their first four games, and soon injuries piled up. They lost their most dynamic player before the All-Star break. They were stuck below .500 in August.

Yet out of nowhere, suddenly, these Atlanta Braves transformed themselves and took off.

Jorge Soler, Freddie Freeman and the Braves breezed to their first World Series championship since 1995, hammering the Houston Astros 7-0 Tuesday night in Game 6.

How proud The Hammer himself would’ve been.

Max Fried threw six shutout innings in the signature pitching performance of the Series. Soler, a July acquisition who tested positive for COVID-19 in the playoffs, backed him early with a monster three-run shot for his third homer against the Astros.

Freeman hit an RBI double and then punctuated the romp with a solo home run in the seventh that made it 7-0.

By then, it was a total team effort. Ailing star Ronald Acuña Jr., the dynamo of Atlanta’s future, bounded from the dugout to join the celebration for Freeman, the longtime face of the franchise.

A mere afterthought in the summer heat among the land of the Giants, White Sox and Dodgers, but magnificent in the Fall Classic.

Soler tapped his heart twice before beginning his home run trot after connecting off rookie Luis Garcia in the third inning, sending the ball flying completely out of Minute Maid Park. Dansby Swanson also homered and by the final out, nothing could stop them.

Not a broken leg sustained by starter Charlie Morton in the World Series opener. Not a big blown lead in Game 5.

Steadied by 66-year-old manager Brian Snitker, an organization man for four decades, the underdog Braves won the franchise’s fourth title.

Consider it a tribute to the greatest Braves player of them all, Mr. Hank Aaron. The Hall of Fame slugger died Jan. 22 at 86, still rooting for his old team, and his legacy was stamped all over this Series.

For 72-year-old Houston manager Dusty Baker, a disappointment. But for many fans still rooting against the Astros in the wake of their 2017 sign-stealing scandal, some satisfaction.

Major credit for the Braves, too, goes to general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Undaunted by Acuña’s knee injury, he pulled off a flurry of July trades that brought the Fab Four to the outfield — NL Championship Series MVP Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson and Soler.

But even in the Analytics Era, guided by a GM fully versed in new-age ways, the path these Braves took wouldn’t add up in any computer. Especially with how things looked in midseason.

“At that time, we were searching,” third baseman Austin Riley said before Game 6. “I think there’s no question about that.”

Minus Acuña, Atlanta wasn’t over .500 for a single day until the first week in August. The Braves finished 88-73 for the 12th-best record in the majors and fewest victories among playoff teams; their win total was the lowest for a World Series champion since St. Louis’ 83 in 2006.

Plus, the agonizing history of sports in Atlanta, a city where no team had won a title in the four major pro sports besides 1995.

The Braves couldn’t convert a three games-to-one advantage over the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series last year. The Hawks fell short in the NBA Finals last season. And then there was the big one, the Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead to the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

But these Braves, not this time.

The 1995 Atlanta champs featured five future Hall of Famers — rookie Chipper Jones, aces Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, and manager Bobby Cox. Those rings were the lone pieces of hardware that resulted from 14 straight division titles.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Jimmy Joyce
AquaSox trending upwards after 5-game sweep

The team desperately needed a turnaround and now sits just 5 games out of 1st place.

Seattle Seahawks linebackers Cody Barton (57) and Jordan Brooks, right, run a drill during NFL football practice Monday, May 23, 2022, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Different feel at new-look Seahawks OTAs

The team opened offseason workouts Monday without departed stars Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.

X
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for May 16-22

The Athlete of the Week nominees for May 16-22. Voting closes at… Continue reading

Kamiak's Luke Strand (left to right), Brandon Yoon, coach Vic Alinen, Daniel Kim, Brandon Suh and Aaron Choi pose for a photo after winning the Class 4A Distrcit 1 Tournament on May 17, 2022, at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett. (Contributed photo)
Defending champ Kamiak set for long-awaited state return

Senior Daniel Kim leads a reloaded squad that’s poised for another top finish.

Sisters Kiana and Malia Schroeder, who will be representing Lakewood High School at state, stand back to back in front of their school Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sisters lead charge for rising Lakewood girls golf team

State-bound Cougars Kiana and Malia Schroeder make up a strong 1-2 punch for the Northwest Conference champions.

Shorewood’s Ben Borgida lines up his putt during the Tom Dolan Memorial Invitational at the Everett Golf & Country Club on Monday, April 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State golf preview: Local qualifiers and top area golfers to watch

The high school state golf tournaments are Tuesday and Wednesday at various courses across the state.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez hits a single off Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Zach Logue during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 23, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
Mariners use long ball to beat A’s

Seattle drives in all seven of its runs with three homers.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Surging AquaSox pull away to beat Hops

Everett adds on late for its fifth straight win.

Boston Red Sox's Franchy Cordero, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam in the tenth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Boston. The Red Sox won 8-4. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
M’s lose to Red Sox on walk-off grand slam

Seattle ends its road trip by being swept in a four-game series with Boston.

Most Read