MLB

World Series 2021: Snitker not getting ahead of himself as Braves stand on brink

By Sports Desk October 31, 2021

The Atlanta Braves are one win away from clinching the World Series, but manager Brian Snitker insisted "I've been around too long to get ahead of myself".

Atlanta can claim their first MLB championship since 1995 by winning on Sunday thanks to Saturday's rallying 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Dansby Swanson and Jorge Soler hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning as the Braves overturned a 2-0 deficit at home to Houston in Game 4.

Snitker – the 2018 National League Manager of the Year – is remaining grounded, despite the Braves standing on the cusp of a drought-ending title.

"I just want to win tomorrow," Snitker said post-game. "I'd rather be up three than down three, I guess. But I've been around too long to get ahead of myself."

 

Jose Altuve put the Astros 2-0 ahead after scoring in the opening inning and homering in the fourth before Swanson and Soler took centre stage.

After Eddie Rosario scored in the sixth inning, Swanson levelled the contest with a solo homer in the seventh and Soler put the Braves ahead one batter later as Atlanta hit back-to-back home runs in a World Series for the first time in franchise history.

Soler became the fourth pinch-hitter to launch a go-ahead homer in the World Series and first since Ed Sprague in 1992, after Swanson became just the second Braves shortstop to hit a home run in the World Series after Johnny Logan in 1957.

"At the beginning of the year, I wasn't part of this team," Soler, who was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in July, said. "The organisation traded for me.

"Obviously, I'm grateful to be here. It truly means a lot to be able to be here with this group of guys."

Swanson added: "I feel like we were just kind of -- not dead all day, but I feel like they did such a good job of keeping us at bay for so long and we didn’t have too many opportunities.

"Then we were able to make something happen there in that inning. Man, just tremendous."

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Swiatek 'pretty overwhelmed' to see Serena back in SW19 Wimbledon: Swiatek 'pretty overwhelmed' to see Serena back in SW19

    Serena Williams' presence at Wimbledon has left world number one Iga Swiatek "pretty overwhelmed".

    Williams is making her long-awaited return to action at the All England Club, as the 40-year-old takes another shot at matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam victories.

    The American has played only two competitive matches – both alongside Ons Jabeur in the doubles at the Eastbourne International – since she sustained a hamstring tear at last year's Wimbledon, but is back on a wildcard.

    Three years ago, Williams became the oldest player to reach Wimbledon's women's singles final when she lost to Simona Halep. Six years ago, she was the oldest champion when she beat Angelique Kerber, although it seems a long shot for her to be challenging for honours this time around.

    That is in part due to the remarkable form of top seed Swiatek, who heads to SW19 on the back of a 35-match winning streak that she is aiming to extend.

    The Pole was not born when Williams made her Wimbledon debut in 1998, but she was the junior champion at the All England Club in 2018 and has since won the French Open twice. She is aiming to become the first woman since Kerber in 2016 to win two singles slams in the same season.

    Yet Swiatek remains in awe of Williams.

    "I saw her yesterday, I was pretty overwhelmed," said Swiatek in a news conference on Saturday.

    "I didn't know how to react. I wanted to meet her. I saw that she had so many people around her. I don't know her team. It was pretty weird.

    "But just seeing her around is great because she's such a legend, there's nobody that has done so much in tennis.

    "I'm pretty sure that she's going to be in good shape because she has so much experience coming back from breaks or just playing in grand slams. I think she can use it."

    Swiatek has never progressed past the fourth round of the singles at Wimbledon and will be making her first appearance of the season on grass when she takes on Jana Fett on Tuesday.

    "Honestly I still feel like I need to figure out grass," she said. "Last year for sure, it was that kind of tournament where I didn't know what to expect.

    "Then match by match I realised maybe I can do more and more.

    "I didn't have a lot of time to prepare. But I'm just trying to stay open-minded and kind of take positives from the situation and realise that I can play without any expectations."

  • Mark Appel in line for MLB debut nine years after first overall pick Mark Appel in line for MLB debut nine years after first overall pick

    Mark Appel could be about to end his long, long wait to play in the major leagues after being called up by the Philadelphia Phillies.

    Appel is joining the Phillies after the team put Connor Brogdon on the COVID injured list, according to MLB.com and The Athletic.

    The 30-year-old pitcher is yet to make a single MLB appearance, despite being taken with the first overall draft pick by the Houston Astros in 2013.

    That was the third time Appel had been selected – and second time in the first round – but the first time he was signed.

    However, Appel never played for the Astros and was traded to the Phillies after the 2015 season, having struggled in the minor leagues.

    He was designated for assignment in 2017 and announced his retirement in 2018, admitting he could "probably" be considered "the biggest draft bust".

    Yet Appel returned to the Phillies last year and could now get his opportunity in place of Brogdon. The team are in the middle of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres.

    Appel is one of four first overall picks never to have made it to MLB, along with Steve Chilcott, Brien Taylor and Brady Aiken.

    The Astros also selected Aiken – in 2014, when Appel was still a part of the organisation – but a bonus dispute saw him become the first number one pick to be left unsigned since Tim Belcher in 1983.

    Aiken was drafted again in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians, this time 17th overall, yet he still did not play and was released last year.

  • Kvitova eases past Ostapenko to claim Eastbourne International crown Kvitova eases past Ostapenko to claim Eastbourne International crown

    A tremendous performance from Petra Kvitova saw her ease past Jelena Ostapenko in straight sets 6-3 6-2 to win the Eastbourne International on Saturday.

    Reigning champion Ostapenko had not dropped a set on the way to the final, but could not halt Kvitova, who was making her first appearance in a final in 2022.

    The former world number two – and two-time Wimbledon champion – made a strong start, breaking Ostapenko early on and racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

    Ostapenko, the Latvian number eight seed, faced eight break points in the opening set, saving seven, but she was unable to force any of her own as Kvitova comfortably served out to move ahead.

    Kvitova was hitting the ball with immense power, particularly on returns, but Ostapenko showed initial improvement in the second set with her first serve accuracy, which had been down at 55.9 per cent in the first.

    However, it was not enough to keep her opponent at bay as some more fierce returning from Kvitova saw her break in the third game of the second set.

    Ostapenko finally threatened to break the Czech's serve, but was unable to take any of the five break points she earned in a game that lasted more than 12 minutes.

    Her first serve dropped off again, which allowed the relentless Kvitova to take full advantage, breaking for a second time before serving for the championship and sealing her first-ever Eastbourne title.

    It was Kvitova's 29th triumph on the WTA Tour, but her first since March 2021. Her last success on grass had come in Birmingham four years ago.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.