For the first time since 1995, the Atlanta Braves are World Series Champions. Jorge Soler staked Atlanta to an early lead and Max Fried and the bullpen took care of the rest as the Braves closed things out with a 7-0 win in Game 6.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Braves and Max Fried. Jose Altuve reached on an infield single to shortstop. Michael Brantley then hit a bouncer to Freddie Freeman. Freeman hesitated momentarily and then couldn’t make a smooth throw to Fried, who ended up missing the bag at first. Brantley actually stepped on Fried’s ankle in awkward fashion and both players were lucky to come away without an injury. Undeterred, Fried came back and struck out Carlos Correa, got Yordan Alvarez to ground out and then struck out Yuli Gurriel looking to strand runners at second and third.
Luis Garcia sat down the first six hitters he faced before Ozzie Albies led off the third with a single. Garcia then got Travis d’Arnaud to fly out before Dansby Swanson drove one to the warning track just shy of the Crawford Boxes for the second out. Eddie Rosario worked a walk to bring up Jorge Soler. Garcia ran the count full but then left a cutter in the middle of the plate that Soler jumped all over and drove over the train tracks in left for a mammoth three-run home run.
That was the last pitch that Garcia would throw, as Dusty Baker summoned Brooks Raley from the bullpen. Raley got Freeman to ground out to end the inning. Garcia was sharp early but made the mistake to Soler. He allowed two hits, a walk and three runs over 2 2/3 innings.
Fried retired six straight hitters but was greeted with a leadoff single by Martin Maldonado in the third. He got Altuve to fly out and then Brantley to bounce into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Both teams went down in order in the fourth but the Braves added on in the fifth. Cristian Javier walked Albies to begin the inning. Albies moved up to second on a wild pitch. Javier then struck out d’Arnaud for the first out. Dansby Swanson worked the count to 2-2 and then drove a fastball out to left for a two-run bomb to extend the lead to 5-0.
Blake Taylor replaced Javier and got Rosario to ground back to the mound for the second out. He walked Soler on four pitches and Freeman made him pay with a double off the wall in left. Soler scored to extend the lead to 6-0.
Fried added two more strikeouts in the fifth and then retired the first two hitters in the sixth before Brantley reached on an infield single. However, Fried struck out Correa swinging to strand the runner.
That was it for Fried, who was greeted by his teammates as he reached the dugout. He allowed just four hits and struck out six in six shutout innings while throwing 74 pitches. Atlanta needed a big time start from Fried and he delivered.
Atlanta tacked on another run in the seventh when Freeman took Ryne Stanek deep to left center to make it 7-0.
With Fried out of the game, the Night Shift took over. Tyler Matzek allowed a leadoff single to Alvarez to begin the seventh but nothing else as he struck out Alex Bregman to end the frame. Matzek stayed in for the eighth and continued to dominate, striking out the side to cap his ridiculously great postseason.
Will Smith took over in the ninth and allowed a leadoff single to Brantley. Smith then got Correa to line out sharply to Adam Duvall in right for the first out. Smith ran the count full against Alvarez but got him to fly out for the second out. Gurriel then grounded out to Swanson for the final out.
It was a perfect ending to an imperfect season that saw the Braves overcome countless obstacles to capture the biggest prize.