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Braves rally for Game 4 win over Astros, take 3-1 lead in World Series

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Braves rally for Game 4 win over Astros, take 3-1 lead in World Series
The dugout erupts after Atlanta Braves pinch-hitter Jorge Soler (12) hits a go-ahead home run against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday at Truist Park in Atlanta. Photo by Kate Awtrey-King/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Braves rallied for a 3-2 win over the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night at Truist Park, moving just one win away from their second championship in franchise history since relocating to Atlanta.

Dansby Swanson and pinch-hitter Jorge Soler bashed back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning off Astros reliever Cristian Javier, propelling the Braves to a commanding 3-1 lead and putting the Astros on the brink of elimination.

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Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Sunday night. The Braves have a chance to wrap up the World Series in Atlanta, just as they did when the club beat the Cleveland Indians in 1995.

That championship -- captured at the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium -- remains the team's only World Series title since moving to Atlanta in 1966.

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"It's just such a cool moment for this city," Swanson said. "But we've got one more. They've got a great ballclub over there and we can't take anything for granted."

Former first-round draft pick Kyle Wright also played a key part in pushing the Braves one step closer to their first championship in 26 years. The right-hander turned in a gritty performance out of the bullpen, pitching 4 2/3 innings after surprise starter Dylan Lee retired only one batter.

Wright issued three walks and allowed five hits, including a home run to Jose Altuve that gave the Astros a 2-0 lead in the fourth. The 26-year-old pitcher, however, continually got out of trouble and provided the Braves a glimmer of hope until the offense produced.

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NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario woke up the Braves' offense with a one-out double off Brooks Raley in the sixth, with Rosario becoming the first Atlanta batter to advance past first base in the contest.

Rosario came around to score on another clutch hit by Braves third baseman Austin Riley, who lined a two-out single to left field against Astros reliever Phil Maton.

Trailing 2-1 in the seventh, Swanson smashed an opposite-field homer off Javier that tied the game at two runs apiece. The sold-out crowd at Truist Park -- which included former President Donald Trump in a private box down the right-field line -- had hardly quieted before Soler stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter.

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Facing a 2-1 count, Soler crushed a hanging slider into the Astros' bullpen in left, putting the Braves in front for the first time in Game 4.

With the pair of homers, the Braves became the first team to hit a game-tying home run and a go-ahead homer on back-to-back plate appearances in the World Series since the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1981 Fall Classic against the New York Yankees, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Luke Jackson then worked a spotless eighth, and closer Will Smith pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his sixth save in six chances this postseason.

The Astros went hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base overall in the loss.

"They've been playing us tough. They've been playing us real tough," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "We've had our backs to the wall before. Our guys know what to do."

Houston starter Zack Greinke, who had last pitched in the Fall Classic in 2019, threw four scoreless innings against the Braves. He gave up just four hits and recorded three strikeouts.

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The Astros are expected to go with Game 1 starter Framber Valdez in Game 5 against Atlanta. The Braves will counter with their second straight bullpen game due to Charlie Morton's broken leg that ended his postseason.

Moments from Game 3 of 2021 World Series

Atlanta Braves players celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros 2-0 in Game 3 of the World Series at Truist Park in Atlanta on Friday. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

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