The Latest: Braves take 3-1 series lead with Game 4 win

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Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Dylan Lee throws during the sixth inning in Game 2 of baseball’s World Series between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on Game 4 of the World Series (all times local):

Dansby Swanson and pinch-hitter Jorge Soler hit back-to-back homers in the seventh inning, propelling the Atlanta Braves to a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros and a three games to one lead in the World Series.

Game 5 is Sunday night.

The Braves can wrap up the title on their home field, just as they did two stadiums ago when they beat the Cleveland Indians in 1995.

Swanson’s one-out drive made it 2-all and Soler followed with a liner to left field off reliever Cristian Javier.

The Braves spilled out of the dugout when Soler connected, and the crowd erupted at Truist Park.

The Astros missed a lot of chances to score early, and it came back to cost them. Jose Altuve homered and scored both runs for Houston.

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8:37

11:50 p.m.

Eddie Rosario sparked Atlanta’s late comeback with his bat and helped preserve the Braves’ 3-2 lead with his glove.

Luke Jackson needed 10 pitches to retire pinch-hitter Aledmys Díaz on a lineout and struck out Martín Maldonado to start the eighth inning, then allowed Jose Altuve to hit a ball hard to left field.

Rosario — who doubled and scored Atlanta’s first run in the seventh — tracked the drive to the warning track and made a reaching, backhanded grab at the wall.

The NLCS MVP spun around and high-stepped toward the dugout, where teammate Jorge Soler watched with his hands on his head half an inning after delivering a pinch-hit, go-ahead homer. Jackson gave Rosario a big hug when they got back to the bench.

Houston’s Ryan Pressly walked Ozzie Albies leading off the bottom of the inning, then hit Joc Pederson with a one-out pitch. He stranded the pair by striking out Travis d’Arnaud and getting a foul out from Adam Duvall.

Braves closer Will Smith was set to try for his second straight save in the ninth, which would give Atlanta a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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11:15 p.m.

Dansby Swanson and pinch-hitter Jorge Soler connected for back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave the Atlanta Braves a 3-2 lead over the Houston Astros.

Atlanta is six outs from taking a three games to one lead in the best-of-seven Series and setting up a potential clincher in Game 5 at home Sunday night.

Swanson broke out of his postseason slump at the perfect time, driving an 0-2 fastball from reliever Cristian Javier to right for an opposite-field homer that barely cleared the high brick wall at Truist Park.

The fired-up shortstop raised his right index finger in the air as he rounded first and pumped his fist as he circled the bases.

Soler, batting for reliever Tyler Matzek, then lined a 2-1 slider from Javier just over the left-field fence to put Atlanta ahead. Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez banged hard into the fence chasing the ball and was shaken up, but stayed in the game.

It was his second homer of the Series after becoming the first player to open a Fall Classic with a home run in Game 1.

Soler began the game on the bench, with left-handed-hitting Joc Pederson starting in right field instead against right-hander Zack Greinke.

When he entered, Javier had not allowed an earned run in nine innings this postseason.

It was the first time in franchise history the Braves hit back-to-back homers in the World Series.

Matzek tossed a scoreless top of the seventh for Atlanta.

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10:49 p.m.

Red-hot Eddie Rosario has Atlanta on the board in Game 4, cutting Houston’s lead to 2-1 in the sixth inning.

The NLCS MVP doubled with one out, improving to 23 for 58 this postseason. His 23 hits are tied for second most by a Braves player in one postseason, trailing only Marquis Grissom’s 25 hits in 1995.

Rosario’s double came against left-hander Brooks Raley, who took over to start the sixth. Raley walked Freddie Freeman, then was replaced by Phil Maton, who struck out Ozzie Albies before Rosario scored on Austin Riley’s single.

Maton intentionally walked Joc Pederson to load the bases with two outs, then struck out Travis d’Arnaud looking.

Chris Martin, Atlanta’s third pitcher in this bullpen game, got through the top of the sixth on nine pitches. He allowed a two-out single to Michael Brantley but stranded him on Alex Bregman’s groundout. Bregman is 0 for 4 for the game and 1 for 13 in the World Series.

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10:15 p.m.

Ryne Stanek pitched a perfect fifth inning in relief of veteran Houston starter Zack Greinke, and the Astros took a 2-0 lead into the sixth as they looked to tie the World Series at two games each.

Houston hitters are 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and have stranded nine overall. But the Astros have kept Atlanta off the scoreboard behind Greinke, Stanek and some solid defense.

Greinke had pitched only 4 2/3 innings over the past 41 days coming in, including 2 1/3 this postseason. But he gave the Astros all they could have hoped for with four shutout innings. The 38-year-old right-hander never allowed a runner to reach second base and induced a pair of 4-6-3 double plays to end the third and fourth, the first from reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman and the second from Joc Pederson.

Kyle Wright had thrown 4 2/3 effective innings in relief for the Braves, giving up only Jose Altuve’s solo homer in the fourth that made it 2-0.

Wright retired the first two batters in the top of the fifth before Kyle Tucker singled. Tucker stole second, his fifth steal of this postseason, and continued to third on another throwing error by catcher Travis d’Arnaud. AL batting champion Yuli Gurriel was intentionally walked before pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez flied out.

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9:45 p.m.

Jose Altuve led off the fourth inning with a long homer to boost the Houston Astros’ lead to 2-0.

After the Astros stranded seven baserunners in the first three innings, Altuve hit a sinker from Kyle Wright 437 feet over the center field wall. It was Altuve’s second homer of the World Series and helped the Astros move closer to tying the Series at two games apiece.

Altuve’s homer was an answer to Braves stadium organist Matthew Kaminski, who played “It’s a Small World” as the 5-foot-6 second baseman walked to the plate.

The homer was the first run allowed by Wright, who has pitched 3 2/3 innings in relief of Dylan Lee.

Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke gave up a one-out single to Austin Riley. It was the fourth consecutive inning the right-hander has allowed a single. Joc Pederson then grounded into a double play to end the inning. Greinke still hasn’t allowed a baserunner to reach second.

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9:22 p.m.

The Houston Astros keep missing chances to pad their lead, and cling to a 1-0 edge over Atlanta after three innings.

Desperate for a big hit, the Astros already are 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. If they fail to hold on and tie the series, they’ll rue their blown opportunities.

Kyle Tucker grounded into a forceout that left runners at the corners with two outs in the third. The Braves intentionally walked AL batting champion Yuli Gurriel when the count went to 2-0 and pitcher Zack Greinke, who singled in his first at-bat, grounded out to end the inning.

Greinke has given up a single in each of the first three innings, but no Braves runner has reached second.

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9:05 p.m.

Zack Greinke has worked around a couple of hits in two innings and the Houston Astros have a 1-0 lead over Atlanta heading into the third as they try to even the World Series at two games apiece.

Grunting loudly on nearly every pitch, the 38-year-old Greinke has struck out two and walked none. He gave up a two-out single to Adam Duvall on a 3-0 pitch in the second, then retired Dansby Swanson on a line drive to left field.

Braves reliever Kyle Wright allowed consecutive singles to Greinke and light-hitting catcher Martin Maldonado with one out in the top of the second.

Wright escaped unscathed when Jose Altuve lined out to third on a diving grab by Austin Riley, and Michael Brantley grounded out softly to second.

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8:42 p.m.

Carlos Correa’s run-scoring groundout gave the Houston Astros a 1-0 first-inning lead against the Atlanta Braves as they tried to even the World Series at two games apiece.

Dylan Lee, a 27-year-old left-hander, became the first pitcher to make his first big league start in the World Series. Lee, whose big league debut was Oct. 1, had only pitched four big league games previously, two on the final weekend of the regular season and two in the postseason after he was added to the roster in the middle of the NL Championship Series.

Jose Altuve reached on an infield single on his first pitch, and Lee walked Michael Brantley and Yordan Álvarez around a strikeout of Alex Bregman.

Kyle Wright started warming up after Lee’s second pitch and entered with the bases loaded after the walk to Bregman.

Correa followed with a grounder to shortstop, and Wright struck out Kyle Tucker.

Lee threw just five of 15 pitches for strikes.

Zack Greinke, a 38-year-old veteran of 530 regular season appearances, started for Houston. He gave up Freddie Freeman’s one-out single, struck out Ozzie Albies and retired Austin Riley on a flyout.

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8:08 p.m.

Truist Park is filled and Braves fans are ready to rock for Game 4 of the World Series.

The rain that kept the tarp on the field and canceled batting practice is gone, and the temperature is in the low 50s. All in all, a good night to play.

Dylan Lee starts for Atlanta. It’s an amazing story — a 27-year-old rookie, he didn’t make his big league debut until Oct. 1 on the final weekend of the regular season. He’s pitched only four times in the majors, including twice in the postseason.

Former President Donald Trump is in Atlanta, too, doing the chop from a suite down the right field line.

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6:50 p.m.

Backup catcher Jason Castro was dropped from the Houston Astros’ World Series roster before Game 4 because of Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocols.

He was replaced by Garrett Stubbs.

Castro was placed on the COVID-19 related injured list Saturday. Unlike a player replaced due to injury, Castro is eligible to return if he is cleared.

Castro, 34, was 0 for 2 in Game 1 against Atlanta and 0 for 1 in Game 2. He hit a go-ahead single in the ninth inning off Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi to help the Astros win Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

Castro is a member of the players’ association’s eight-man executive subcommittee supervising collective bargaining with MLB.

Stubbs hit .176 in 34 at-bats during the regular season. He has not appeared in a big league game since Sept. 16 and last played at any level on Sept. 30 for the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters

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5:05 p.m.

Zack Greinke is batting eighth for the Houston Astros against the Atlanta Braves in Game 4, the first pitcher not to bat ninth in the World Series since Babe Ruth of Boston Red Sox hit sixth in Game 4 in 1918.

Greinke, a 38-year-old right-hander, has a .225 career average with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 521 at-bats.

“He’s a good hitter, but he thinks he’s Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron if you talk to him,” teammate Carlos Correa said. “He thinks he has a 1,000 career OPS. So I always mess with him. He’s like, `Oh, I’m a great hitter.’ I’m like, yeah, you’re a 600 career OPS guy (.598). What are you talking about? But when it comes to the pitchers, he’s a really good hitter. So I’m looking forward to seeing him swing the bat today once again. He sounds like he’s really excited about it.”

Catcher Martín Maldonado, 1 for 8 in the Series and 3 for 37 (.081) in the postseason, hits ninth for Houston.

Ruth in that 1918 game was the only previous pitcher not to bat ninth. Then 23, he went 1 for 2 with a two-run triple and a sacrifice, and he got his second win of the Series by allowing two runs over eight innings against the Chicago Cubs.

Houston stayed with the same position players from its 2-0 Game 3 loss.

Second baseman Jose Altuve hit leadoff, followed by right fielder Michael Brantley, third baseman Alex Bregman, right fielder Yordan Álvarez, Correa at shortstop, center fielder Kyle Tucker, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, Greinke and Maldonado.

4:15 p.m.

Joc Pederson took over from Jorge Soler in right field and Travis d’Arnaud was moved up to sixth ahead of Adam Duvall in the Atlanta Braves’ batting order for Game 4 of the World Series against Houston behind rookie left-hander Dylan Lee.

Left fielder Eddie Rosario, 3 for 12 with no RBIs in the Series, remained in the leadoff spot, followed by first baseman Freddie Freeman, second baseman Ozzie Albies, third baseman Austi Riley, Pederson in right, d’Arnaud behind the plate, Duvall in center and shortstop Danby Swanson.

Lee, 27, was set to make his first major league start, Lee entered with two regular-season appearances and two postseason appearances in his big league career. He had not made a start since July 2017 in Class A.

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3:55 p.m.

Dylan Lee, a 27-year-old Atlanta Braves lefty who made his major league debut on the final weekend of the regular season, will become the first pitcher to make his first major league start in the World Series when he faces the Houston Astros in Game 4.

His two major league regular season appearances are the fewest for a Series starting pitcher, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous low was six by Philadelphia’s Marty Bystom, who allowed three runs over five innings in a no-decision against Kansas City in Game 5 of 1980, a 4-3 Phillies win; and the Mets’ Steven Matz, who gave up two runs over five innings against the Royals in Game 4 of 2015, a 5-3 Kansas City win.

The start will be the first in more four years for Lee, since July 23, 2017, when he pitched five innings for Class A Greensboro against Asheville in a no-decision.

Ahead 2-1 in the Series, the Braves were short on starting pitchers even before Charlie Morton broke a leg in Tuesday’s Game 1. Atlanta is planning to string together relievers in Games 4 and 5 and has Max Fried and Ian Anderson available for possible Games 6 and 7.

Veteran Zack Greinke was set to start for the Astros.

Lee, a 10th-round pick by Miami in the 2016 amateur draft from Fresno State, was 5-1 with a 1.54 ERA in 34 relief appearances this year for Triple-A Gwinnett. He made his big league debut on Oct. 1 at the New York Mets, allowing one hit in a scoreless eighth inning with the Braves trailing by two runs.

Lee then entered in the eighth the next day with the Braves ahead by five runs and gave up Francisco Lindor’s triple and Michael Conforto’s home run.

The rookie has pitched twice in the postseason. Lee relieved with Atlanta trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 after five innings of NL Championship Series Game 5, and allowed one run in two innings, a solo homer by Chris Taylor.

Lee relieved with two on and no outs in the sixth inning of World Series Game 2 on Wednesday and threw 13 pitches to five batters. One inherited runner scored, on Yuli Gurriel’s grounder.

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3:20 p.m.

The tarp is on the field at Truist Park as a light rain falls before Game 4 of the World Series.

The forecast calls for the wet weather to clear out before gametime.

A few Astros players are loosening up down the left field line in foul territory.

Batting practice was wiped out by rain for Game 3 on Friday, and it was a dreary night as the Atlanta Braves beat Houston 2-0.

The Braves lead two games to one.

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