Atlanta's Dansby Swanson had only four hits in all six games of this year's World Series against Houston, but he made the most of them.
Three days after hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning to spark a game-winning rally in Game 4 of the World Series, Swanson swatted a two-run shot in the fifth inning Tuesday to give the Braves some much-needed cushion in Game 6.
Swanson's two-run homer put the visiting Braves up 5-0, helping quiet the home crowd and propelling Atlanta to a 7-0 Series-clinching victory.
The Braves won the best-of-seven series four games to two to claim their first World Series championship in 26 years.
During a national TV interview on Fox, Swanson credited his Christian faith for giving him peace during the postseason.
"The good Lord – he's blessed me so much," Swanson said. "I wouldn't be here without Him. Just the peace that He gives me is remarkable – especially in moments like this, you can never go wrong trusting in that. ... I'm just so thankful to be here."
Swanson, who is one of the league's best shortstops, finished the series batting only .200 (4 of 20) but had a more impressive .304 on-base percentage thanks to three walks.
His hits, though, were timely. With Houston leading 2-1 in Game 4, Swanson tied the game with a solo home run, which was followed by another solo shot by teammate Jorge Soler. The win gave the Braves a commanding three-games-to-one Series lead.
Swanson's two-run blast on Tuesday deflated a raucous crowd at Minute Maid Park.
His heroics led to national television interviews after both games. Each time, he discussed his faith.
Swanson's homers also helped cap an amazing three-month stretch for the Braves, who were 55-55 on Aug. 5 but finished the regular season 88-73. The stretch included a franchise-record 13-game road-winning streak.
Swanson said he never lost confidence the Braves could get hot and win the Series.
"There were times where it seemed bleak. And there were times where you couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we knew that if we kept working and if we were able to kind of put together a team – which we did after some of the injuries – that this would be possible," he said. "… This is the toughest team I've ever been a part of."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Carmen Mandato/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.