Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Braves sweep Phillies, Astros edge Rays to win division title

October 1 (WNN) — The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros became the latest teams to win a division title, as the MLB regular season enters its final weekend.

The Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies and the Astros beat the Tampa Bay Rays to take the crown on Thursday.

The Braves, who started Ian Anderson, conceded just three hits and two runs in six innings in a 5-3 win at Atlanta. The victory gave the Braves (86–72) a fourth consecutive National League East Division title.

“Four in a row is tough,” Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman told reporters. “I can’t imagine those 1990s teams and how they did it all.

“It’s a great feeling. … There were so many ups and downs this year and so many things that could have derailed this season.”

The Astros (93-66) beat the Rays 3-2 on Thursday in Houston. Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr improved to 13-5 in 2021 conceding three hits and two runs in six innings. Carlos Correa led the Astros to victory with a three-run homer in the fourth.

“He’s never out of big hits or big moments in this team,” McCullers told reporters, when asked about Correa.

“We’re going to trust [Correa]”We’re going to rely on a lot of these guys, but especially him to get us through October.”

The Astros finished second in the American League Central last season. They have won the division in four of the last five seasons.

The Astros will face the Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of an American League Division Series next week in Houston or Chicago. The Astros could earn a home field advantage in the series with a win or a White Sox loss in the final three games.

The Astros are the fifth different team manager Dusty Baker has held a division title.

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“It’s very special, especially when I was called back from retirement and I found a great group of people and a great team,” Baker told reporters. “These people are so together. That’s what I love more than anything.”

The Rays would finish the season with the most wins in the American League and be the top seed throughout the playoffs.

They host the winner of a one-game American League wild card matchup. The New York Yankees are in the top spot in the American League wild card chase. The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are tied for second place entering the weekend.

The Toronto Blue Jays are a game behind the final American League playoff slot.

The Braves will face the Milwaukee Brewers in a National League Division Series next week. The Brewers, who won the National League Central, had a home-ground advantage in that series.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are in a fight for the National League West title. One of those teams will earn the top wild card slot in the National League. The second would earn the No. 1 seed in the National League and host the winner of the wild card game in the NLDS.

The two winners of the NLDS progressed to the National League Championship Series. The winners of the ALDS advance to the American League Championship Series.

The winners of those respective series meet in the World Series, which starts on 26 October.

The Braves host the New York Mets in their final series of the regular season. The first pitch is scheduled for Friday at 7:20 p.m. EDT in Atlanta. The Astros hosted the Oakland Athletics in their final series. The first pitch is Friday night at 8:10 p.m. EDT in Houston.

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