The Atlanta Braves are heading back to the World Series.
The Braves defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2, in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday and will be back in contention for the championship for the first time since 1999. Atlanta has not won a World Series since 1995.
Eddie Rosario hit the clutch home run off Dodgers starter Walker Buehler in the fourth inning to break the tie and give the Braves the 4-1 lead.
Atlanta Braves’ Eddie Rosario celebrates after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning in Game 6 of baseball’s National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Braves reliever Tyler Matzek pitched in a huge inning for Atlanta in the seventh. Matzek came in for Luke Jackson after he allowed a few hits and a run to score to allow the Dodgers to cut the deficit to 4-2. Matzek was able to hold two Dodgers runners in scoring position and get Albert Pujols, Steven Souza Jr. and Mookie Betts all out on strikes to end the threat and the inning.
In the next inning, Matzek started with a strikeout of Corey Seager. At one point, he had four strikeouts on only 12 pitches.
Atlanta Braves pitcher Tyler Matzek reacts after striking out Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts to end the seventh inning in Game 6 of baseball’s National League Championship Series Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Los Angeles got the clutch RBI from A.J. Pollock in the seventh. Cody Bellinger had and RBI to score Trea Turner. But it wasn’t enough for Los Angeles to stun Atlanta for the second straight season.
Will Smith closed down the Dodgers in the final frame.
Atlanta won the series 4-2.
Rosario was hot all series long and proved to be the difference-maker. He was 12-for-21 coming into Game 6 against the Dodgers with two home runs and a slash line of .571/.609/1.000. He was acquired by the Braves in the middle of the season in a trade with the Cleveland Indians for Pablo Sandoval.
Atlanta Braves’ Eddie Rosario, center, celebrates after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning in Game 6 of baseball’s National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
He had a walk-off single in Game 2 of the series.
The last time the Braves were in the World Series, they were at the middle of a run of 11 consecutive NL East division titles. The team won the whole thing in 1995 but lost in 1996 and 1999 to the New York Yankees.
In recent years, the Dodgers made the NLDS in 2018 and 2019 and made it to the NLCS in 2020 only to blow a 3-1 series lead and lose the series altogether.
This year was totally different. The Braves have a matchup with the Houston Astros. Game 1 is set for Tuesday.