Giancarlo Stanton continued his remarkable home-run hitting form against the Boston Red Sox as the New York Yankees won 4-2 on Saturday.

Yankees slugger Stanton homered for the sixth consecutive game against the Red Sox, hitting the go-ahead two-run homer to left center field in the sixth inning.

Boston had gone ahead in the second inning from Alex Verdugo's two-run homer, before Anthony Rizzo equalled the feat in the fourth inning to level the game up.

The victory means the Yankees have begun the new season with a 2-0 start, ahead of the third and final game of their series against the Red Sox on Sunday.

"I can’t say it’s the rivalry or anything," Stanton said about his record against the Red Sox. "I’m doing my homework and getting the ball over the plate."

 

Dodgers offense shut down

The Los Angeles Dodgers struggled on offense as they slumped to a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies, who were sparked by an eighth-inning Connor Joe homer.

Rockies closer Daniel Bard shut down the Dodgers in the ninth inning to round out the win, striking out Justin Turner, Edwin Rios and Cody Bellinger.

Austin Barnes had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, while Mookie Betts had an eighth-inning RBI single to tie the game up, before Joe's go-ahead blast.

 

Alonso hits career-first grand slam

Pete Alonso clubbed a fifth-inning grand slam to lead the New York Mets past the Washington Nationals 5-0. That marked 27-year-old's first career grand slam and comes after Alonso had been left with a bloodied lip after being struck by a Mason Thompson fastball earlier in the series.

The benches cleared in the Chicago Cubs' 9-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers after tempers flared between the division rivals when right-hander Keegan Thompson hit Andrew McCutchen in the hip with a fastball.

Dylan Cease stepped in for the Chicago White Sox with eight strikeouts across five innings in their 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers. Cease remarkably boasts a 9-0 record against the Tigers in 10 starts.

 

Saturday's results

Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox 5-2 Detroit Tigers
Seattle Mariners 4-3 Minnesota Twins
St Louis Cardinals 6-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs 9-0 Milwaukee Brewers
Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 Texas Rangers
Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Oakland Athletics
Miami Marlins 2-1 San Francisco Giants
New York Yankees 4-2 Boston Red Sox
Kansas City Royals 1-0 Cleveland Guardians
New York Mets 5-0 Washington Nationals
Atlanta Braves 2-1 Cincinnati Reds
Colorado Rockies 3-2 Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres 5-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
Los Angeles Angels 2-0 Houston Astros

 

Astros at Angels

The Los Angeles Angels take on the Houston Astros in the final game of their thrilling four-game series, with Shohei Ohtani potentially back on the mound after being rested for the past two games.

After a chaotic offseason, which included a lockout and pushing back Opening Day, baseball is almost back.

With a new collective bargaining agreement in place, two new playoff spots up for grabs and plenty of big-name player movement, it is shaping up to be an enthralling MLB season.

The defending champion Atlanta Braves may have improved, despite losing star Freddie Freeman to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Yankees' position as the best team in New York could soon be under threat. 

With so many storylines, the most logical place to begin is right at the very top.

 

Can the Braves go back-to-back?

As is often the case, the World Series race is wide open, but Atlanta is at least in the mix as far as the pre-season odds go.

Some would consider the Braves' run last season a fluke – they won 88 games in the regular season, while the 91-win Toronto Blue Jays and 90-win Seattle Mariners missed out on playoff berths entirely.

However, they were missing superstar Ronald Acuna Jr for a large chunk of the year, and made meaningful additions at the trade deadline including Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson, and their playoff surge indicated that the record was not an accurate reflection of their talent.

While they lost franchise legend Freeman to the Dodgers, the Braves are arguably getting an upgrade at first base in the form of Matt Olson, who is four years younger and was a two-time Gold Glove winner with the Oakland Athletics before being traded for a four-player package of young Braves prospects.

Max Fried and Charlie Morton comprise a stout top of the rotation while Mike Soroka is out injured, and they have some strong bullpen arms including Tyler Matzek and Collin McHugh.

The Braves are a team without a clear weakness and will be full of confidence, so expect them to be fighting it out at the top of the NL East against the second-most expensive team in baseball, the New York Mets, as they bid to become the first team to win consecutive World Series since the Yankees in 1999 and 2000.

 

Are the Mets the best team in New York?

Since 2001, the New York Mets have only finished with a better record than the Yankees twice, in 2015 and 2016.

During that span, the Mets have never had a more expensive payroll than their local rivals – until this year.

The Mets are projected to come into Opening Day trailing only the Dodgers with the second-highest payroll in the league at $251million, while the Yankees are third at $239m.

It represents more than just deep pockets for second-year owner Steve Cohen, it shows that the Mets are no longer the 'little brother', and are willing to spend what it takes to be taken seriously against the most decorated franchise in major league history.

Buck Showalter will be the man tasked with turning the money into wins in his first year in the role, the former three-time AL Manager of the Year known for maximising talent on a limited budget with the Baltimore Orioles from 2010 to 2018, a stint that included a playoff series win over the Yankees.

Ultimately, what the Mets' season will hinge on is the health of their starting pitchers, with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer (who turns 38 this season) comprising the best one-two punch in baseball after Marcus Stroman left as a free agent to join the Chicago Cubs. DeGrom has already been sidelined for four weeks with a shoulder injury.

The rotation also includes 2021 All-Star Taijuan Walker, who tailed off late last season, but showed impressive ability when fresh.

Francisco Lindor remains the young jewel of the franchise – now two seasons into a 10-year, $341m contract extension – and along with power-hitting Pete Alonso and rangy center-fielder Starling Marte, there is plenty of quality stepping into the batters' box.

The Yankees will have one of the highest-ceiling batting line-ups when they roll out sluggers Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo, but they also play in the league's toughest division in the AL East, and could be candidates for regression after losing pitcher Corey Kluber and trading away bats Gio Urshela and Luke Voit.

 

 

Did the best team in baseball not make the playoffs in 2021?

It may be hard to believe, but given the meat grinder that is the AL East, the Toronto Blue Jays are bookmakers' second-favourite to win the World Series despite not making the playoffs this past season.

The Blue Jays were top three in runs scored in 2021 and should again be one of the most explosive teams in the league this time around.

Toronto will also be able to enjoy a homecoming season, returning to Rogers Centre after the Blue Jays were forced to play their 2021 home games in Buffalo due to pandemic restrictions.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette are franchise cornerstones, last year's big signing George Springer was enormous in an injury-shortened debut campaign, and they have the luxury of adding Matt Chapman this season, who has two Platinum Gloves to his name as one of the best defensive players in the league.

Pitching remains the question mark in Toronto, with AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray departing for Seattle in a serious blow to a rotation with plenty to prove.

Nobody should be surprised if the Blue Jays jump up from fourth in their division all the way to the top, and are one of the teams with real World Series aspirations this season.

 

Which top prospect will establish themselves as a star? 

There will be some elite prospects finding their way in the majors this season, but will any of them burst onto the scene as a star?

In 2017, Judge did more than just win Rookie of the Year, he led the AL in home runs and finished second in AL MVP voting.

While there is always a chance that an unheralded rookie emerges as the premier prospect, there is a relatively clear top-tier consisting of three players entering the season.

Kansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr, Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez.

Rutschman will hit for average from both sides of the plate while projecting as an elite defensive catcher, Witt is the five-tool stud who will make eye-popping plays with his glove at shortstop, and Rodriguez is the big, power-hitting corner outfielder.

At 24 years old, Rutschman is the senior of the class, while the other two are considerably younger at 21, but all three will have a chance to prove themselves early in the year as franchise-altering stars – and potentially become the biggest story of this season.

The Miami Marlins have agreed to a three-year, $36million contract with 2021 World Series MVP Jorge Soler, according to ESPN.

The 30-year-old, who is a two-time World Series champion, has signed a deal that includes opt-outs after the first two seasons.

Soler had joined the Atlanta Braves from the Kansas City Royals in July last year, before dominating the World Series.

The Havana-born outfielder hit .300 with three home runs and six RBIs in the six-game World Series victory over the Houston Astros.

Soler has 121 home runs and 343 RBIs in 661 career MLB games with the Royals, Braves and Chicago Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs have announced the acquisition of 2021 World Series champion Drew Smyly on a one-year contract with an option for 2023.

Smyly joins the Cubs from the Atlanta Braves on a deal worth $5.25million with the potential to earn an additional $2.5m in bonuses, according to ESPN.

The 32-year-old left-handed pitcher won the World Series with the Braves last season where he pitched twice, allowing three runs over four innings against the Houston Astros.

Smyly went 11-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 29 appearances (23 starts) for the Braves last season.

The former Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants and Braves pitcher is 46-39 with a 4.18 ERA across his MLB career.

The Cubs, who finished 71-91 last season, also confirmed one-year agreements with left-hander Daniel Norris and infielder Jonathan Villar.

Five-time All-Star Freddie Freeman will leave the reigning world champion Atlanta Braves for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a bumper multi-year deal according to ESPN.

The 2020 National League (NL) MVP has agreed to a six-year, $162million deal with the Dodgers after reaching free agency for the first time in his career.

The 32-year-old has spent his whole professional career with the Braves dating back to 2007, before guiding them to their first World Series triumph since 1995 last year.

California-native Freeman hit .300 with 31 home runs, 83 RBIs and a NL-best 120 runs in their triumphant 2021 MLB season.

The Dodgers' blockbuster move for Freeman follows lucrative deals for Trevor Bauer in 2021 and Mookie Betts in 2020.

Freeman had rejected the Braves' qualifying offer after his contract expired following the World Series triumph, before becoming a free agent in November.

The Braves had signed Matt Olson earlier this week on an eight-year deal, making Freeman's exit more probable, with the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees also pursuing him.

The Dodgers are yet to confirm the deal with the move subject to Freeman completing a physical.

"Did that really happen?" Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Thursday. "Once Atlanta made that deal for Olson, it kind of came to pass. We're a much better ball club today than we were yesterday."

The reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves appear to be moving on from free agent and fan favourite Freddie Freeman at first base, having acquired Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

The Braves are sending four prospects – outfielder Cristian Pache, catcher Shea Langeliers and right-handed pitchers Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes – to Oakland in return for the left-handed slugger.

The 27-year-old Olson, who was raised in the Atlanta suburbs, enjoyed a breakout season in 2021 and was named to his first All-Star Game, leading the A's in homers (39), doubles (35), RBIs (111) and OPS (.911).

Since his first full season in the majors in 2017, his 142 home runs are tied with Mike Trout for 10th in MLB.

The addition of Olson signals that the Braves will be moving on from Freeman, who has spent his entire 12-year career in Atlanta, culminating with a World Series championship last November.

A five-time All-Star and the 2020 National League MVP, the 32-year-old Freeman is a career .295-hitter and ranks sixth on the Braves all-time home run list with 271 and third in doubles with 367.

Jorge Soler says the Atlanta Braves gave him the instant welcome he needed following his mid-season trade from the Kansas City Royals before going on to win the World Series MVP on Tuesday.

Soler, who was traded to the Braves in July, hit three home runs across the six games in the World Series, including a three-run go-ahead blast in the decisive 7-0 Game 6 win over the Houston Astros to earn the MVP.

The 29-year-old Cuban's three home runs were all go-ahead blasts, becoming only the sixth player in history to achieve the feat in a World Series, joining Babe Ruth (1926), Lou Gehrig (1928), Gene Tenace (1972), Curtis Granderson (2015) and George Springer (2017).

Soler had struggled earlier in the season with the Royals, hitting at .192 with 13 home runs, 37 RBIs and 59 hits across 94 games.

Following his switch to Atlanta, Soler hit at .269 with 14 home runs, 33 RBIs and 56 hits in 55 regular season games, before an explosive postseason.

Soler, who missed the National League Championship Series due to COVID-19, hit at .242 across the postseason, headlined by his three home runs and six RBIs in the World Series, hitting at .300.

"I was traded over here, and it was challenging at first," Soler told reporters after the game when asked about his form turnaround. "I felt a little out of my comfort zone. I didn't really know people.

"Everyone in that clubhouse welcomed me in, and it felt instantly, after a little while, just like a family. It's top to bottom, from the entire organisation since I joined, I always felt extremely welcome here."

Soler becomes only the second Cuban to win the World Series MVP, following Livan Hernandez with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

"[Winning MVP] means a lot to me, to my family, to the organisation," Soler said. "It's something really special."

Soler also posted a slugging percentage of .800 against the Astros in the World Series, earning praise from manager Brian Snitker.

"He's been swinging the bat so good," Snitker said. "This whole World Series. Even just the walks he was taking were really big."

While the pain of World Series is still raw, Dusty Baker said the hurting Houston Astros will use it as a source of motivation to go one step further in MLB next season.

The Astros were unable to stop the red-hot Atlanta Braves, who clinched their first World Series title since 1995 with a 7-0 rout in Houston on Tuesday.

Houston needed to win Game 6 on home soil to force a championship decider, but there was no denying the Braves – who were fuelled by home runs from World Series MVP Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman.

The Astros – who were featuring in their third World Series in five years – and their big hitters were unable to get going, with postseason experts Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa blanked by Atlanta.

After a 4-2 series loss, veteran Astros manager Baker said: "Yeah, it's tough, but you know something? You've got to keep on trucking, and that gives you even more incentive next year.

"It's tough to take now, but this too shall pass. I mean, it really hurts, but it's over."

 

It could be an end of an era for the Astros, with World Series-winning star Correa set to enter free agency.

The Astros have already lost Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) and George Springer (Toronto Blue Jays) in free agency over the past two years and the departure of two-time All-Star Correa looms large.

Veteran pitchers Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are also soon-to-be free agents.

"I was just thinking this is crazy how you spend — and you give your life and everything you have to an organisation and then one day you don't belong to the organisation anymore just in a matter of seconds," the 27-year-old Correa said post-game.

"So it's obviously tough to process."

"I hope it's not, that it's not over yet," Baker said of Correa, who debuted for the Astros in 2015. "He's a professional. He's a real leader. ... He doesn't give an alibi or any excuses. He just comes out and plays the game the way he's supposed to play it."

Baker added: "I can tell how our guys gravitate towards him. I can tell even how the opposition always shows respect for him, especially when they're around second base. ... He just plays the game the way it should be played."

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and star Freddie Freeman lauded the team's resilience in overcoming obstacles on the road to winning their first World Series since 1995.

The Braves claimed the best-of-seven World Series 4-2 thanks to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros in Game 6, becoming the eighth side in a row to clinch the title away from home.

The triumph is Atlanta's first championship in 26 years, while it comes after they lost star outfield Ronaldo Acuna Jr. in July due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury along with starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a fractured fibula in Game 1 of the World Series.

Atlanta had off-field issues too, with two-time All-Star Marcell Ozuna placed on the commissioner's exempt list after being arrested and charged with aggravated assault in May.

The Braves traded in Alex Duvall and acquired Joc Pederson in July, with both hitting three home runs during the postseason, along with 10 and nine RBIs respectively.

"These guys never gave up on themselves. We used a lot of guys," Snitker said during the post-game ceremony.

"We lost a lot of pieces over the course of the summer. It was just the next man up. These guys never stopped believing in themselves.

"They never stopped working. I've got a rock star coaching staff that make sure these guys stay consistent every day. They always played the game the way you're supposed to play it."

Freeman, who has been with the Braves since 2010 and won last season's National League (NL) MVP, hailed the side's resilience.

"I think the most gratifying thing is this team, we hit every pothole, every bump that could've happened this year," Freeman said. "Injuries, everything that could've gone wrong. We overcame every single one of those things.

"This group came very single day, prepared and worked and worked and worked and ended up world champions."

Freeman, who padded the lead with a seventh-inning solo home run, added: "This is what you dream about every single year. You come to spring training wanting this to happen and it happened this year.

"It means everything. We've been waiting for a championship in this city for a long time. I'm glad we delivered it."

Snitker has spent all of his 45 seasons in professional baseball with the Braves, including the past six years as manager.

"It takes a lot to make this happen," Snitker said. "I'm very proud of our organisation and this club. There's nothing better. We're world champions."

Jorge Soler was named World Series MVP after hitting three go-ahead home runs across the six games. He becomes the second Cuban to claim the honour, behind Livan Hernandez with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

Soler also becomes the sixth player to hit three or more go-ahead home runs in a World Series, joining Babe Ruth (1926), Lou Gehrig (1928), Gene Tenace (1972), Curtis Granderson (2015) and George Springer (2017).

"I was just really focused during that at-bat," Soler said about his third-inning go-ahead three-run blast. "I feel like he'd thrown my every pitch he had in his arsenal so I just kept fouling the pitchers off and eventually got to that 3-2 count and he hung the slider and I was able to drive it."

The Atlanta Braves returned to the summit of MLB, claiming their first World Series crown in 26 years after blitzing the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday.

Atlanta had the chance to clinch on home soil on Sunday but were denied by a desperate Astros franchise, who overturned a four-run deficit to prolong the best-of-seven series.

But the Braves were not to be denied in Game 6 as home runs from Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman secured a 4-2 series victory and their first World Series since 1995.

The drought-ending success delivered a fourth World Series title to the Braves, with all four championships being clinched in different cities – Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Houston.

After two scoreless innings in Houston, the Braves seized control thanks to a three-run third inning at Minute Maid Park, where the bats of Astros stars Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez fell silent.

Soler was the instigator, his 446-foot three-run homer off Luis Garcia seeing him become the fourth player in Braves history to hit a three-run homer in a World Series after Hank Aaron (1957), Lonnie Smith (1991) and Ryan Klesko (1995).

 

The red-hot Braves did not let up in the fifth as Swanson delivered a two-run homer after Freeman's double had allowed Soler to score earlier in the inning.

Entering the game, Freeman had eight career postseason home runs, with half of them coming in 2021 and the Braves star tied a franchise record.

Freeman matched Fred McGriff with his fifth homer of the playoffs – a joint Braves record for most home runs in one postseason after going long in the seventh inning.

Braves ace Max Fried became the first starter in history to have six-plus strikeouts, zero walks and no runs in a potential World Series-clinching game.

The Atlanta Braves won their first World Series title since 1995 after defeating the Houston Astros in six games in MLB's showpiece.

After missing out on their first chance to close out the World Series against the Houston Astros on Sunday, the Atlanta Braves are confident heading into Game 6. 

As the teams prepare to reconvene at Houston's Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, Braves manager Brian Snitker said his side are not feeling any ill effects from their 9-5 home defeat in Game 5. 

Atlanta need just one more victory to win their first World Series since 1995, and Snitker insists the players are showing no signs of letting the pressure affect them. 

"We're in the World Series right now. There's no pressure," Snitker told a news conference Monday. "Like I say, it's pressure in the NLCS when you're trying to get here. We all want to finish this off, but there's no pressure.

"We're one of two teams remaining in our sport, and [I haven't] sensed any kind of pressure out of these guys internally. The only time I hear about that is in this [press conference] room. In that room out there, I never hear it."

Six teams have blown a 3-1 World Series lead in a seven-game series, but it has only happened once in the last 36 years: the 2016 Cleveland Indians against the Chicago Cubs. 

The Braves will feel good about their chances of avoiding a similar fate primarily because they can expect to get significant innings out of their starting pitchers in Game 6 and, if needed, the decisive Game 7. 

Thanks to a lack of depth in their rotation exacerbated by the loss of veteran Charlie Morton to a broken leg suffered in Game 1, the Braves have had to start relief pitchers each of the last two games. 

Dylan Lee faced just four batters in Game 4 before Kyle Wright picked up the slack with an impressive 4.2 innings of relief work, while Tucker Davidson recorded only six outs on Sunday. 

The Braves will send Max Fried to the mound Tuesday, giving him another chance against the Astros after a rough start in Atlanta's Game 2 defeat.

"I expect to see Max on top of his game tomorrow," Snitker said. "I expect that every time he goes out. I mean, this guy probably, since the All-Star break, is one of the best pitchers in the game. So that's kind of the version of Max that I expect to see tomorrow."

Fried also got knocked around in his NLCS Game 5 start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the 27-year-old said he views what will be his final start of the season as a chance at redemption. 

"Any time that you go out there and you don't perform the way that you want, you don't win, you want to go back out there and redeem yourself," Fried said.

"I'm ready to go out there and leave it all on the field. It's probably going to be my last outing of the year, so there's nothing to hold back."

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker says his side "don't know how to quit" after fighting back from conceding a first-inning grand slam to force a Game 6 in the World Series against the Atlanta Braves.

The Braves raced to a 4-0 lead from Adam Duvall's first-inning grand slam as they looked to clinch the World Series on home soil at Truist Park leading the series 3-1.

The Astros, who were world champions in 2017, American League (AL) winners in 2019 and fought back from a 3-0 deficit in last year's AL Championship Series against the Tampa Bay Rays to force a Game 7, responded with back-to-back two-run inning, before a three-run rally in the fifth inning to take the lead.

"We've been through many of these battles," Baker said at the post-game news conference. "They don't know how to quit.

"They're always looking for an edge or an opening. Fortunately tonight we took advantage of some."

Carlos Correa, who was part of the title-winning 2017 team, had three hits and two RBIs for the game, while Martin Maldonado came up with three RBIs. The Astros catcher was the first player in history to drive in runs with a hit, walk and sacrifice fly in a postseason game.

Maldonado's improbable contribution came after the Braves appeared on their way to securing their first World Series since 1995 after Duvall's first-inning grand slam.

"I always say, if it's going to happen, let it happen early," Baker said about the grand slam. "You don't want it to happen in the middle of the game or toward the end of the game."

The home crowd was electric after Duvall's grand slam, demanding a curtain call, but he insisted they did not get carried away.

"We celebrated it, we got excited and that's what you do when you hit home runs, but it's a long game," Duvall said.

"That happened in the bottom of the first. It's a nine-inning game, and they didn't quit."

Braves manager Brian Snitker added: "We knew we had a long, long way to go in that game and anything could happen. It would have been great if we could have kept adding on. We just weren't able to do that."

The Houston Astros delayed the Atlanta Braves' World Series celebrations after flexing their muscles in Game 5, winning 9-5 in come-from-behind fashion.

Atlanta had the chance to clinch their first World Series title since 1995 on home soil, but the Astros spoiled the party to stay alive in MLB's showpiece.

The Braves led 4-0 after the opening-inning grand slam before the desperate Astros – led by Martin Maldonado's three RBIs – rallied to put Atlanta's celebrations on ice.

Atlanta still lead the best-of-seven matchup 3-2 and can claim their fourth World Series away to the Astros in Game 6 in Houston on Tuesday.

 

In MLB history, teams ahead 3-1 in a best-of-seven World Series have a 40-6 record. According to Stats Perform, clubs in that situation are 11-1, with the 2016 Cleveland Indians (against the Chicago Cubs) the only franchise to lose the series having held a 3-1 advantage.

Adam Duvall of the Braves became the first player in World Series history to hit a go-ahead slam in a potential clinching game.

But Houston's offence came up big with two runs apiece in the second and third innings before a three-run fifth-inning helped the Astros move 7-5 clear.

The Astros – also fuelled by a resolute bullpen – made sure of the win via runs from Kyle Tucker and Jose Altuve in the final two innings as Houston became the first ever team to trail by four-plus runs on the road in the World Series and win by four-plus runs, per Stats Perform.

The Atlanta Braves are one win away from clinching the World Series, but manager Brian Snitker insisted "I've been around too long to get ahead of myself".

Atlanta can claim their first MLB championship since 1995 by winning on Sunday thanks to Saturday's rallying 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning as the Braves overturned a 2-0 deficit at home to Houston in Game 4.

Snitker – the 2018 National League Manager of the Year – is remaining grounded, despite the Braves standing on the cusp of a drought-ending title.

"I just want to win tomorrow," Snitker said post-game. "I'd rather be up three than down three, I guess. But I've been around too long to get ahead of myself."

 

Jose Altuve put the Astros 2-0 ahead after scoring in the opening inning and homering in the fourth before Swanson and Soler took centre stage.

After Eddie Rosario scored in the sixth inning, Swanson levelled the contest with a solo homer in the seventh and Soler put the Braves ahead one batter later as Atlanta hit back-to-back home runs in a World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Soler became the fourth pinch-hitter to launch a go-ahead homer in the World Series and first since Ed Sprague in 1992, after Swanson became just the second Braves shortstop to hit a home run in the World Series after Johnny Logan in 1957.

"At the beginning of the year, I wasn't part of this team," Soler, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in July, said. "The organisation traded for me.

"Obviously, I'm grateful to be here. It truly means a lot to be able to be here with this group of guys."

Swanson added: "I feel like we were just kind of -- not dead all day, but I feel like they did such a good job of keeping us at bay for so long and we didn’t have too many opportunities.

"Then we were able to make something happen there in that inning. Man, just tremendous."

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