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Astros Stay Alive and Send World Series Back to Houston

2021 MLB World Series

Atlanta Braves Trying to Close Out the Houston Astros in the World Series

More than 130,000 fans packed the area around Truist Park known as The Battery, ready to celebrate the first World Series championship for the Braves since 1995, and just the second for the franchise since they moved to Atlanta in 1966.

A grand slam in the first inning certainly made it look like the celebration would be Sunday night. But these are the Astros, a team that’s been in the World Series in three of the last five years, and they do not go down without a fight.

Houston scored a pair of runs in the second inning. They scored two more in the third. They lost the lead in the bottom of the third, but three more Astros runs came across in the fifth inning, and they never looked back. The final score was 9-5, and the Astros aren’t dead yet. We’re going back to Houston for Game 6 on Tuesday.

“That was the key for us winning the game right there, bouncing back right away, those two runs [in the second inning],” explained Carlos Correa. “From the moment we scored those two runs, we said, all right, it’s time to go. Let’s go. Let’s put great at-bats together. Let’s fight. Let’s battle.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker was happy with the resiliency of his team, but was quick to point out that they still face an uphill climb. “The pressure’s still on us because they’ve got the lead. They’ve got to win one, and we’ve got to win two. But the fact is, we are going home. We didn’t want to end here, with the celebration here.”

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Zack Greinke Makes World Series History

It’s not surprising in an elimination game, even though he pitched on Saturday, that Zack Greinke might be called upon to play again on Sunday. What was unexpected is that he was called on to pinch hit for pitcher Yimi Garcia in the fourth inning.

As a pitcher, Geinke is a prideful hitter, with nine career home runs. And he promptly used the moment to hit a line drive single to right field, becoming the first pitcher to get a pinch hit in the World Series since 1923.

Greinke also had a hit while pitching in Game 4, and he is now two-for-three at the plate in the series.

The Final Game with Pitchers Hitting?

There is much speculation that Sunday’s game was the final time we will ever see pitchers batting for themselves. All remaining games this season will be played in Houston, and have a designated hitter. And a new collective bargaining agreement will be in place for next season, and most people believe that a universal DH will be included. It was used in both leagues during the shortened season in 2020, and it is especially popular with players and the player’s union, as it adds another starting player to the daily lineup.

A universal DH wouldn’t mean the end of all pitcher’s at-bats, but it would be the end of almost all of them. Shohei Ohtani will still take his swings when pitching for the Angels, and should a DH get injured during a game, a pitcher might get an at-bat.

A universal DH would make games longer since there would be fewer easy-outs. That’s not something Major League Baseball wants. But it would add more offense to the game, which baseball would like. In 2021 the average runs scored fell below the totals of 2020 and 2019, and the MLB overall batting average was just .244, the lowest that’s been since 1968.

Game 6 on Tuesday

As the series shifts back to Houston, the Braves are still in control. In MLB’s seven-game series history, when a team is leading 3-2, it goes on to win a total of 62 percent of the time. But an interesting sub-note to that number is that the team leading 3-2 only wins Game 6, 29 percent of the time. So Atlanta is still likely to win the World Series, but it is likely to take seven games.

MLB World Series odds price Atlanta as -240 favorites to ship it, while the buy-back on Houston is +190. Meanwhile MLB odds on the game itself favor the Astros at -123. The Braves are +113 to win it in six.

Scheduled to start for the Braves is Max Fried, who started Game 2 and took the loss. The Astros are scheduled to start Luis Garcia, who pitched well as the Game 3 starter, but also took the loss.

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