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Braves close out Astros in six games, win first World Series title in 26 years

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Braves close out Astros in six games, win first World Series title in 26 years
Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker (C) holds the Commissioner's Trophy after Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Photo by Johnny Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Braves captured their first championship since 1995 after a 7-0 win over the Astros in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Max Fried had a historic effort on the mound and the trio of World Series MVP Jorge Soler, Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson each homered as the Braves completed their improbable postseason run and secured their second title in franchise history since relocating to Atlanta in 1966.

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The Braves closed out the Astros four games to two in the best-of-seven series. Houston was attempting to win its second World Series crown in the past five seasons.

"We hit every problem, every bump you could possibly hit this year," Freeman said. "Injuries, every single kind of thing that could have happened, that could go wrong, went wrong. And we overcame every single one of those things."

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Winners of just 88 games in the regular season and stuck below .500 in August, the Braves overcame numerous hurdles en route to a World Series crown that included series wins over the Milwaukee Brewers and defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Braves' win total was the lowest for a World Series champion since the St. Louis Cardinals' 83 victories in 2006.

Undaunted by star outfielder and MVP candidate Ronald Acuna Jr.'s season-ending knee injury and the legal issues surrounding Marcell Ozuna, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos rebuilt the club's outfield. The executive added NL Championship Series MVP Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson and Soler in a flurry of July trades.

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In addition to the team's outfield woes, Braves ace Mike Soroka never made his way back from a major Achilles injury. Atlanta starter Charlie Morton then sustained a broken leg in the World Series opener, an injury that most thought would derail the club's title hopes.

Steadied by 66-year-old manager Brian Snitker, though, the underdog Braves continued to fight and came up with their fourth championship in team history.

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"They never gave up on themselves," Snitker said. "We lost a lot of pieces over the course of the summer and it was just the next man up."

In what was the signature pitching performance of this World Series, Fried gave up only four hits with no runs or walks across six innings to earn the win. He became the first starter ever to record at least six strikeouts and allow zero walks and runs in a potential World Series-clinching game.

Soler backed Fried early with a mammoth three-run homer over the train tracks above left field at Minute Maid Park to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the top of the third. It was Soler's third homer against the Astros in the series.

Swanson followed up Soler's long ball with a two-run shot to left that extended the Braves' lead to 5-0 in the fifth. Freeman's run-scoring double in the fifth and his solo home run in the seventh capped the Braves' remarkable run to the Commissioner's Trophy.

"Yeah, it's tough," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "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."

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The World Series victory gave the city of Atlanta its first title in the four major professional sports since 1995, when the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic. Atlanta's Major League Soccer franchise, Atlanta United FC, won a title in 2018.

The Braves' triumph also comes in the same year that franchise legend Hank Aaron died. The Hall of Fame slugger, who guided the club to a championship in 1957, died Jan. 22 at age 86.

In celebration of the title that was 26 years in the making, the Braves plan to stage a victory parade Friday. For the Astros, the spring training schedule begins Feb. 26 against St. Louis.

Moments from Game 5 of 2021 World Series

The Houston Astros' Michael Brantley gestures after defeating the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the World Series at Truist Park in Atlanta on Sunday. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

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