Dodgers force World Series Game 7 with 3-1 victory over the Astros

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Game 6 of the World Series didn’t feature nearly as much offense as Game 5, but it was riveting nonetheless. The Dodgers emerged victorious 3-1 to send the World Series to Game 7.

Astros starter Justin Verlander was dealing through five and was staked to a 1-0 lead thanks to George Springer‘s solo home run off of Rich Hill in the top of the third inning.

The Dodgers got to Verlander in the bottom of the sixth, however. Austin Barnes singled to lead off the inning, then Verlander hit Chase Utley with a 1-2 change-up. Chris Taylor, who has come up with many a clutch hit for his team throughout the postseason, poked a double down the right field line to plate Barnes, tying the game at 1-1. Corey Seager then lifted a fly ball to deep right-center, about as deep as one can go without hitting a home run. Josh Reddick caught the ball but Utley was able to scamper home easily to score the go-ahead run. Verlander saw his way out of the inning by getting Justin Turner to pop out and Cody Bellinger to strike out.

That was it for Verlander, who ended the night giving up just the two runs on three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts across 73 pitches. Hill, meanwhile, went 4 2/3 innings and give up one run on four hits and a walk with five strikeouts on 58 pitches.

Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers some insurance, lifting a one-out solo home run to the opposite field off of Joe Musgrove.

Kenley Jansen entered in the eighth, despite talk that manager Dave Roberts wouldn’t use him for more than three outs. Jansen worked a 1-2-3 frame, getting Carlos Correa to fly out, Yuli Gurriel to pop out, and Brian McCann to strike out. Jansen returned to the mound in the ninth to attempt a six-out save. Marwin Gonzalez popped up, Reddick struck out, and pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran struck out as well. Six up, six down for Jansen.

For the second year in a row, the World Series will go to a seventh and final game. The last time the World Series went seven games in back-to-back years was 2001-02 (Diamondbacks/Yankees, Angels/Giants). This year’s Game 7 will take place at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night at 8 PM ET.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).