Atlanta Braves

Braves win NL pennant, heading to 1st World Series in 22 years

It’s time to party like it’s 1999, Atlanta fans. For the first time in 22 years, the Atlanta Braves are heading to the World Series.

The Braves defeated the Dodgers, 4-2, in Game 6 of the National League Championship Saturday night to win the pennant.

Atlanta will now face the American League champions Houston Astros next week as it seeks its first World Series championship since 1995.

“I think this might be the definition of pure joy. It really is. I really don’t, it hasn’t hit me at all. I don’t really know how to feel. Usually we’re sitting in our locker, you know, and just like just thinking about the whole season and getting ready for next year, and we actually did it,” Freddie Freeman said.

[World Series schedule: Here’s when the Atlanta Braves will play Houston Astros]

The Dodgers have been a thorn in the Braves side in the playoffs. Atlanta previously lost the 2013 NLDS, 2018 NLDS and 2020 NLCS to Los Angeles.

But the Braves got their revenge after last year’s loss to finally break through against the Dodgers.

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Eddie Rosario won NLCS MVP, the first Braves player to win it since Eddie Perez in 1999. Rosario finished the series with .560 batting average, 14 hits, nine RBIs and three home runs.

“It’s truly a great moment, not just in my career, but in my life as well, but I want more. I want to win the World Series,” Rosario said.

[READ: Eddie Rosario credits his lucky bat with MVP performance]

Atlanta wasn’t supposed to be here if you ask most people.

They were below .500 for the first half of the season. Ronald Acuna Jr. injured his knee before the All-Star Break and ruled out the rest of the year. Mike Soroka’s ACL rehab took a major step back.

But Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos went to work and made the trades he needed to make. That includes Rosario, who energized the Braves offense throughout the NLCS.

Rosario’s 14th hit in the NLCS tied the MLB record for most hits in a postseason series. He joined Albert Pujols (2004 NLCS), Hideki Matsui (2004 ALCS), Kevin Youkilis (2007 ALCS) and Marco Scutaro (2012 NLCS).

“We just couldn’t figure him out,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He beat us the other way. He beat us to the pull side. He got hits off lefties, off righties. We tried to spin him. We went hard. We just didn’t have an answer for him

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The Braves struck first in Game 6 when a ground rule double by Austin Riley scored Ozzie Albies. Ian Anderson started on the mound hot by retiring the first six batters he faced.

The Dodgers tied the game, 1-1, behind a single from Cody Bellinger. But Rosario, as he has done all postseason, stepped up once again for Atlanta with a 3-run rocket to right field put the Braves ahead.

In the top of the seventh, Luke Jackson and the Braves found themselves in a jam after LA scored a run and had a pair of runners on base.

Tyler Matzek showed no fear entering the game and struck out the side to keep it a 4-2 game. Matzek finished the game with four strikeouts against six batters he faced.

“Honestly, the fuel that drives me to do that is just the love I got for my teammates. I know how hard they work,” he said. “When I go out there and I have a chance to help the team go to the next level, I’m going to let it all hang out and do what I need to do.

[MORE: How much are tickets to the World Series? It’s going to cost you]

The Astros will host Game 1 and 2 of the World Series Tuesday and Wednesday. Game 3 and 4 will be held at Truist Park Friday and next Saturday. If necessary, Game 5 will also be at Truist Park a week from Sunday.

Snitker will see a familiar face in the opposite dugout during the World Series. His son Troy Snitker is the hitting coach for the Astros.

The series will also feature Snitker vs. Astros manager Dusty Baker, who started his career as a player with the Braves.