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Braves beat Dodgers in Game 6 of NLCS, advance to World Series

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Braves beat Dodgers in Game 6 of NLCS, advance to World Series
The Atlanta Braves celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS on Saturday at Truist Park in Atlanta. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Braves advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1999 with a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday night at Truist Park.

The Braves, who entered the postseason with the worst record (88-73) among qualifying teams, closed out the best-of-seven series four games to two and earned redemption against the 106-win Dodgers. Los Angeles rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS last year against the Braves en route to a championship.

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Behind Eddie Rosario -- who was named NLCS Most Valuable Player -- and a rock-solid bullpen, Atlanta made sure that a similar rally wouldn't happen and prevented a decisive Game 7 in the series. In doing so, the Braves move on and will attempt to capture their first World Series title since 1995, when they defeated the Cleveland Indians.

The Braves will challenge the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox in six games in the AL Championship Series to reach the Fall Classic for the second time in the past three years.

Austin Riley pushed the Braves in front with an RBI double in the first inning. The Dodgers didn't respond until the top of the fourth, when Cody Bellinger scored Trea Turner on an RBI single to tie the game at one run apiece.

Rosario, who was acquired right before the July 30 trade deadline after a flurry of issues in the Braves' outfield, broke the 1-1 tie with a three-run home run to right field.

The 30-year-old Rosario finished the series 14 of 25 (.560), with three homers and nine RBIs. He set a Braves franchise record and became only the fifth player in MLB history to record 14 hits in one postseason series.

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"Since I was a little kid, I've dreamed of this moment," Rosario said through an interpreter. "Look at me now."

A.J. Pollock pulled the Dodgers within two runs after scoring Chris Taylor on a double down the left-field line against Braves reliever Luke Jackson in the seventh. Jackson failed to get an out in the inning and was eventually yanked for Tyler Matzek.

Matzek stranded runners at second and third with three consecutive strikeouts, capped by sitting down former AL MVP Mookie Betts on three pitches. Matzek returned to the mound for a spotless eighth before handing the ball off to closer Will Smith.

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Needing just three outs to reach the World Series for the first time in 22 years, Smith worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the Braves and earned his fourth save of the playoffs.

"It's been a long time since we've been to the World Series," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "This is absolutely incredible. I'm speechless."

With the loss, the Dodgers' streak of seven straight wins in elimination games was snapped. Los Angeles won't play another game that counts until its 2022 season opener against the Colorado Rockies.

The Braves, meanwhile, continue their improbable postseason run. Atlanta is expected to start Charlie Morton against his former team in the World Series opener.

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