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Sweet revenge: Atlanta Braves knock off Los Angeles Dodgers to advance to World Series

  • October 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES — Atlanta is still seething that Major League Baseball stripped the All-Star Game away from their beloved city this summer.

Well, politics or not, there’s absolutely nothing MLB can do to stop Atlanta now.

Atlanta will host the World Series for the first time since 1999.

The Braves knocked off the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2, winning the National League pennant Saturday night.

It was sweet revenge, Southern style, with a sellout crowd of 43,060 at Truist Park loving every minute.

Atlanta won the National League Championship Series 4 games to 2, and will face the Houston Astros in the World Series beginning Tuesday night [8:09 ET, FOX] at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Whoever wins the World Series, it promises to be quite the World Series trophy presentation.

If it’s Atlanta, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is going to be booed from Cobb County to Savanah for moving the All-Star Game to Denver in protest of Georgia’s voting laws.

And if it’s Houston, Manfred will be booed from the Astrodome to the Alamo for exposing the Astros’ cheating scandal, which led to the firing of GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch, and national embarrassment.

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Rosario, acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline, hit .560 (14-for-25) with three homers and nine RBI, with a franchise-record 14 hits in a postseason series.

There was no bigger hit than Rosario’s three-run homer in the fourth, breaking a 1-1 tie, and sending the crowd into hysteria, with the party starting early in the surrounding Battery.

Dodgers starter Walker Buehler, who had never pitched on short rest in his career, but was now doing it for the second time in nine days with Max Scherzer unable to pitch, opened the fourth with two quick outs. He then walked No. 8 hitter Travis d’Arnaud with Atlanta starter Ian Anderson on-deck. Braves manager Brian Snitker decided to gamble. He yanked Anderson and sent up pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza.

It was the move of the series, with Adrianza hitting a double into the right-field corner, fielded clearly by Mookie Betts. Third base coach Ron Washington thought about sending d’Arnaud, but with Rosario standing on deck, it was no time to be ultra-aggressive.

It was the matchup of the night.

Rosario swung and missed at a 93-mph cutter. Strike 1.

He fouled of a 93-mph cutter. Strike 2.

He fouled off a 93-mph cutter, took a 96-mph slider, and then fouled off another 92-mph cutter and another 96-mph slider.

The crowd on its feet, screaming, Buehler tried to throw a 94-mph cutter past Rosario.

He turned on it, and sent it deep into the Georgia night, a 3-run homer into the right-field seats.

He skipped, jumped, pumped his fist, and danced across home plate. He entered the dugout, but soon was shoved out, with the crowd demanding a curtain call.

He stepped out of the dugout, someone took off his hat, quickly thrust his right arm into the air, and disappeared.

“I’m still dreaming for bigger things,” said Rosario, who missed the first month after the trade with an abdominal strain. “I kind of want more at this point, and I’m just dreaming for the next thing.’’

That, of course, is a World Series championship.

The Dodgers, the defending World Series champions who won their last seven elimination games, refused to roll over.

They escaped a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth when Blake Treinen struck out Austin Jackson, looking at a 99-mph fastball, keeping the game in check.

The Dodgers, who had only three hits the first six innings, came storming back in the seventh off reliever Luke Jackson. It began with a Chris Taylor double, then a Cody Bellinger walk, and an A.J Pollock run-scoring double.

Snitker immediately yanked Jackson and brought in left-hander Tyler Matzek, who has pitched in all but one game this postseason.

He trotted in from the bullpen, looked around, and there was a runner on third base, a runner on second base, no outs, and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols at the plate.


He struck out Pujols for the first out.

He struck out pinch-hitter Steven Souza for the second out.

And he struck out former MVP Mookie Betts for the third out.

He danced off the mound, thrust his arm into the air, and screamed in jubilation, as the crowd wildly celebrated, smelling the pennant.

Matzek came out with another 1-2-3 eighth innings, and one inning later, it was all over.

Atlanta, who had a 3-games-to 1 lead a year ago before losing to the Dodgers in the NLCS, certainly got their sweet revenge, with the crowd chanting Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!

The Dodgers, who scored two or fewer runs in six of their 12 postseason games, with their top four hitters going 0-for-11 with five strikeouts, are done for the season.

Atlanta finally, after all of these years, slayed the Giant.

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