Swanson, Soler hit electrifying HRs in G4 win

November 1st, 2021

ATLANTA -- Braves fans have long celebrated the night Sid slid and the night David Justice teamed with Tom Glavine to clinch a World Series title. Decades from now, they’ll also likely be talking about the night Dansby and Jorge went back to back.

and combined to create the latest great moment in Atlanta’s sports history when they drilled back-to-back homers to give the Braves a seventh-inning lead they would not relinquish in a 3-2 win over the Astros in Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night at Truist Park.

“I cherish every moment here, whether it's now or a random day in July,” Swanson said. “So I'm just thankful to be here. But there's still a lot left to be written, and I think that we need to go out and continue to compete to put ourselves in that position to give this city what it's been longing for.”

Thanks to the back-to-back homers and Kyle Wright’s splendid relief appearance, the Braves are a win away from their first World Series title since 1995. They own a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven Series and will play Game 5 on Sunday night at Truist Park, where they have won 12 of their past 13 games.

The Braves join the 2017 Astros and 2008 Phillies as the only teams to go 7-0 at home in the postseason. Both of those previous squads won the World Series. No team has reached 8-0, which the Braves will attempt to do in Game 5 on Sunday.

“I’d rather be up [3-1] than down [3-1], I guess,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “But I have been around too long to get ahead of myself.”

Snitker said this game wouldn’t have been won without Wright, who allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings after Dylan Lee recorded just one out as an opener. But Wright’s effort would have gone for naught had Swanson and Soler not produced the third game-tying and go-ahead back-to-back home runs in World Series history.

According to Elias, the other duos to do this were Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig (1928 Game 4, Yankees at Cardinals) and Pedro Guerrero/Steve Yeager (1981 Game 5, Dodgers vs. Yankees).

“Throughout the entire postseason, going all the way back to Milwaukee, we’ve had these hits that have electrified and surprised the entire dugout,” Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario said through an interpreter. “We’ve all had some success.”

Actually, Swanson was one of the few guys who hadn’t had much offensive success throughout the postseason, producing just a .535 OPS through the 13 games played entering Saturday. But the suburban Atlanta native electrified a raucous home crowd by drilling Cristian Javier’s middle-middle, 0-2 fastball just over the brick wall in right-center field.

“It's like I've been waiting for Dansby to do a Dansby-esque type thing ... the kid likes the moment,” Snitker said. “I know that. He has for as long as he's been here.”

Going back to his basketball days at Marietta High School, which is located about 10 minutes north of Truist Park, Swanson was the guy who wanted the ball in the last minute. His ability to deliver in the clutch at Vanderbilt University influenced the D-backs’ decision to take him with the first overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.

And now Swanson has a World Series moment to treasure forever. His opposite-field homer off Javier tied the game -- momentarily. Soler looked at a fastball out of the zone and then connected with the third consecutive slider thrown by Javier.

Soler’s 372-foot, decisive home run barely cleared the top of the left-field wall as Yordan Alvarez violently crashed into the wall while reaching for the ball. The solo shot was just the fourth go-ahead, pinch-hit homer in World Series history and the first since the Blue Jays’ Ed Sprague hit one against the Braves in Game 2 of the 1992 World Series.

“I’m grateful to be here,” Soler said. “I’m truly thankful to be here with this group of guys.”

Soler is one of the primary reasons the Braves are one win away from winning the World Series. He has hit 16 homers in the 63 games played since being acquired from the Royals on July 30. But none of them were bigger than this one.

“I think I went more nuts for that than I did for my own,” Swanson said. “Just a huge at-bat and so tough to do that coming off the bench in that big of a situation.”

According to Elias, Swanson and Soler became the first Nos. 8 and 9 hitters to hit back-to-back home runs in the World Series. They also teamed to create just the sixth instance of back-to-back homers in the seventh inning or later in World Series history.

Decades from now, Braves fans will likely still be talking about the Back-to-Back Game.

“I don't know,” Swanson said. “Maybe we can have this chat in about 10 years when I'm getting old and I have kids and stuff like that. I feel like in that moment -- in the moment right now, I'm so thankful that we won.”