Rallying from a four-run deficit in an elimination game, the Houston Astros on Sunday kept their World Series hopes alive by defeating the Atlanta Braves 9-5.
Martin Maldonado drove in three runs, while Carlos Correa went three-for-five and drove in two runs as the Astros rallied to 3-2 in Major League Baseball’s best-of-seven final, which continues with Game 6 today in Houston, Texas.
“I’m just glad we get to go back to Houston,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “One game at a time now. Still alive.”
Maldonado, a 35-year-old Puerto Rican catcher, became the first player in a World Series game to plate runs with a single, walk and sacrifice fly, while the Houston pitchers silenced the Atlanta Braves batters, allowing only one run after the first inning.
“The bullpen was great for us,” Maldonado said. “They got beaten yesterday, but came back stronger today. It was a must-win game. Now we’re going back to Houston.”
Atlanta’s Adam Duvall smashed a grand slam home run in the first inning, but the Braves squandered the 4-0 lead as the Astros matched the 1919 Chicago White Sox for the largest deficit overcome to win a World Series game when facing elimination.
“I was trying to figure out how we could chip away at that, just trying to figure out how we could keep them from running away on us,” Baker said.
Baker had already done what he needed as the Astros, trying to solve their hitting woes, shuffled their batting lineup and it paid off.
“We got punched in the mouth and came back to win,” Astros slugger Alex Bregman said. “Just wanted to go out and play hard. Nothing to lose.”
The Braves, who had won their first seven home games in this year’s playoffs, remain one win shy of their first World Series title since 1995.
“We’re all right,” Braves pitcher A.J. Minter said. “We’re right where we want to be. We’re in a really good spot.”
The Astros are in their third World Series in five seasons, having won the 2017 title and lost to Washington in 2019.
The Braves jumped on Houston starting left-hander Framber Valdez in the first inning when Jorge Soler singled, advanced on a groundout and reached third on Austin Riley’s single, before Eddie Rosario walked to load the bases.
Duvall followed by smashing a grand slam home run into the right-field stands to give Atlanta a 4-0 lead as a sellout crowd roared with delight.
“We celebrated it. We got excited. That’s what you do when you hit home runs, but it’s a long game. They didn’t quit. They kept fighting,” Duvall said. “We weren’t able to get it going again and keep the pressure on. Hats off to their pitchers.”
It was the first World Series grand slam in an opening inning since Bobby Richardson of the New York Yankees hit one in 1960.
Yuli Gurriel, who moved up the order, singled and took second when Kyle Tucker walked. Bregman, who moved down in the lineup, doubled off the center-field wall to score Gurriel and Tucker scored on a sacrifice fly by Maldonado as Houston pulled within 4-2.
In the third, Correa doubled to score one run and another scored on a Gurriel groundout pulled Houston level.
Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman answered in the third by smashing a solo homer to give the Braves a 5-4 edge.
The 140.2m blast was the longest of this year’s playoffs and matched the longest Freeman ever hit, but in the fifth, left-hander Minter walked Maldonado with the bases loaded to tie the game and Marwin Gonzalez followed with a two-run single to give Houston a 7-5 advantage.
Maldonado added an RBI single in the seventh inning and Correa singled in a run in the eighth to create the final margin.
A British skier crashes through wooden fencing on a downhill corner and slams into a pole, breaking his leg. An American hits an icy patch at the bottom of a hill and crashes into a fence, breaking one ski and twisting the other, also breaking his leg. Another American, training before a biathlon race, slides out on an icy corner and flies off the trail into a tree, breaking ribs and a shoulder blade, and punctures a lung. These were not scenes from high-speed Alpine or ski cross events. They happened on cross-country ski and biathlon tracks made with artificial snow.
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