(Reuters) – Dansby Swanson said he is blessed to be playing on the team he grew up rooting for after the Atlanta native hit a game-tying home run in the Braves 3-2 victory in World Series Game Four on Saturday.
Swanson battled hard against Astros reliever Cristian Javier in the pivotal seventh inning at-bat before hitting his first home run of the postseason into the stands in right field.
He looked even more pumped up when Jorge Soler hit a go-ahead homer in the next at-bat, punching the air and yelling excitedly as the home team moved to within one win of a World Series title and the franchise’s first since 1995.
“I’m just so thankful to be here. I can’t say it enough,” said Swanson, who was selected first overall in the 2015 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks before being shipped to Atlanta later that year.
“Being traded over here, I didn’t understand it. But God’s always got a plan and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that having faith in that plan will never fail you,” he said.
“Being here is one of the best things that has ever happened to me … It’s truly a blessing to be here in this city.
“I’m a diehard Falcons fan, a diehard Hawks fan, and obviously, I’m a diehard Braves fan,” he said, referring the Atlanta’s pro football and basketball teams.
With the win, the Braves improved to 7-0 at home this postseason and will host the Astros again on Sunday.
Swanson said his club cannot afford to get complacent despite their 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“We’ve got one more,” he said.
“They’ve got a great ball club over there and we can’t take anything for granted. We need to come out tomorrow and be ready to play our game.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Robert Birsel)