Martin Maldonado helps Astros rally to force Game 6 vs. Braves

Marwin Gonzalez had a go-ahead two-run single in the fifth inning and Martin Maldonado drove in three runs as the Houston Astros overcame an early four-run deficit to extend the 2021 World Series with a 9-5 victory Sunday over the host Atlanta Braves.Facing elimination and trailing early after a first-inning grand slam from the Braves’ Adam Duvall, the Astros’ offense roared to life after a pair of lackluster games at Atlanta left them in a 3-1 series hole.Houston scored multiple runs in the second, third and fifth innings, with Maldonado’s bases-loaded walk in the fifth tying the score 5-all before Gonzalez dumped his two-run single to left against Atlanta left-hander A.J. Minter (1-1) for a 7-5 lead.The Astros became just the fourth team to rally from a four-run deficit and win in a World Series elimination game, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the first since the Angels did it in Game 6 in 2002 against the Giants.Freddie Freeman had a solo home run for the Braves, who have two more chances to wrap up their first World Series title since 1995 when the matchup shifts to Houston. Game 6 is Tuesday, with a potential Game 7 on Wednesday.The Astros need consecutive victories to become the first team since the 2016 Chicago Cubs to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win the championship.Duvall’s opening-inning slam came off Astros left-hander Framber Valdez, following singles from Jorge Soler and Austin Riley, as well as a walk from Eddie Rosario. It was Duvall’s second home run of the World Series and third of the postseason.The Astros scored a pair of runs in the second on an Alex Bregman double and a sacrifice fly from Maldonado. It was just the second hit for Bregman in the series and it came after he was dropped to the No. 7 spot in the lineup.