For only the second time since the franchise relocated to Atlanta in 1966, the Braves are World Series champions.
Paced by three home runs, and backed by six shutout innings from starter Max Fried, the Braves defeat the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6, in the process capturing the crown that had eluded them since 1995.
Designated hitter Jorge Soler, acquired from the Kansas City Royals on July 30, started the scoring off with a bang in the 3rd, launching a towering, 446-foot 3-run homer over the train tracks in left field. Two frames later, shortstop Dansby Swanson followed with a 2-run shot of his own, staking Fried to a comfortable five-run cushion that he'd never relinquish.
Touched up by the Astros for six runs in a Game 2 start, the 27-year-old southpaw rebounded in dramatic fashion for Game 6, scattering four hits over six innings, striking out six Astros, and walking none while failing to allow a single run. Fried's outing marked the longest by a starter, for either team, in the 2021 World Series.
The World Series title is a surprising one for a team that lost its best position player on July 10 when All-Star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. went down with a season-ending knee injury. Atlanta finished the regular season with only 88 wins, fewer than 11 other teams in baseball. And the odds further stacked up against the Braves when Game 1 starting pitcher Charlie Morton broke his leg in just the second inning, ending his World Series. One man who the Braves were never without, however, is Freddie Freeman. And now Freeman's long wait for a title is over.
Drafted by the Braves in 2007, and called up in September of 2010, Freeman has spent more than a decade with the franchise, a run that included a handful of lean years. But Freeman stayed true to the team that chose him, and in Game 6 the Atlanta veteran chipped in with a 5th inning RBI double. Two frames later, Freeman put a stamp on what is likely a Hall of Fame resume, belting the Braves' third homer of the game, and extending Atlanta's lead to 7-0.
A pair of Atlanta relief pitchers — in the form of Tyler Matzek and Will Smith — combined to work a scoreless final three frames, clinching the 7-0 victory and ending a title drought that stretched back more than a quarter-century.
Soler, who launched three World Series home runs — all of which gave the Braves the lead — earned MVP honors, while outfielder Joc Pederson — who was with the world champion LA Dodgers a year ago — wins back-to-back World Series.