Braves on the brink of World Series title

Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler smashed back-to-back home runs and the Atlanta Braves defeated Houston 3-2 to reach the brink of their first World Series title since 1995.

Swanson and Soler hammered solo blasts in the seventh inning to grab the lead as the Braves seized a 3-1 edge in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final, which could end with game five in Atlanta, which takes place on Monday morning Hong Kong time.

“It’s such a cool moment for this city but we’ve got one more and we can’t take anything for granted,” Swanson said. “We’ve got to be ready and come out and play our game.”

The Braves, who improved to 7-0 at home in this year’s playoffs, are playing in the World Series for the first time since 1999.

The Astros are in the World Series for the third time in five seasons, seeking their first crown since 2017.

Houston relief pitcher Cristian Javier entered in the seventh inning and the 24-year-old Dominican right-hander was tagged for back-to-back solo homers by US slugger Swanson to right field and Cuban pinch-hitter Soler to left field that gave the Braves a 3-2 advantage.

“In that moment, the ‘compete’ factor went through the roof,” Swanson said. “The real thing that matters is competing to win. Something amazing happened.”

Atlanta reliever Luke Jackson entered in the eighth and retired the Astros in order, with leftfielder Eddie Rosario making a backhanded running catch to rob Houston’s Jose Altuve of a base hit.

In the ninth, Braves left-handed closer Will Smith struck out Michael Brantley, induced a pop fly out by Alex Bregman and got Yordan Alvarez to ground out to first base to end the game.

It was the fourth comeback victory of the playoffs for the Braves, a mark bettered in MLB history only by the six victory rallies of the 1995 Braves on their way to the title. (AFP)