M-V-Free! Freeman HR Sends Braves To NLCS, 5-4 Over Brewers

ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman and the Atlanta Braves will get one other probability to complete the job they got here agonizingly near reaching a yr in the past.

It doesn’t matter in any respect that they’d fewer wins than every other playoff workforce.

Freeman hit an unbelievable, tiebreaking homer off Milwaukee nearer Josh Hader with two outs within the eighth inning and the Braves superior to the NL Championship Collection for the second yr in a row, ending off the Brewers 5-4 on Tuesday night time.

The Braves gained the best-of-five Division Collection three video games to at least one, advancing to face both the 107-win San Francisco Giants or the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers with a visit to the World Collection on the road.

“I’ve had a whole lot of cool moments in my profession,” Freeman mentioned. ‘I believe that’s gonna high ’em all. Hopefully it’s not the final one and I’ve acquired a pair extra in these playoffs.”

The sport was tied at 4 when the Brewers introduced on Hader to verify it stayed that means. The hard-throwing lefty struck out Eddie Rosario and Dansby Swanson, however he couldn’t get previous the 2020 NL MVP.

Freeman caught up with an 84-mph slider, launching a 428-foot drive into the seats in left-center — solely the fourth homer all season off Hader, and first since July 28.

Freeman grew to become the primary left-hander to homer off Hader since Jason Heyward in 2020.

“The primary two guys went down, so I simply tried to get a pitch up and he hung a slider and I put an excellent swing on it,” Freeman mentioned. “There was no rhyme or motive to it.”

Freeman celebrated wildly on his means across the bases, and popped again out of the dugout for a curtain name as the group of 40,195 roared. He grew to become the primary participant in franchise historical past to hit a go-ahead residence run within the eighth inning or later in a series-clinching win, ESPN Stats & Data mentioned.

“When Freddie hit that ball, I imply, I misplaced my poise. All people within the dugout was going loopy,” teammate Ozzie Albies mentioned.

Will Smith pitched a scoreless ninth for his third straight save within the sequence, getting Christian Yelich to have a look at strike three with a runner on first for the ultimate out. Tyler Matzek claimed the win with an ideal eighth.

“Freddie! Freddie! Freddie!” the group chanted because the Braves celebrated within the heart of the sphere.

Regardless of having fewer wins (88) than every other playoff workforce — and even two groups that didn’t make the postseason — the NL East champion Braves are headed again to the NLCS for the second season in a row.

A yr in the past, supervisor Brian Snitker’s workforce had a 3-1 sequence lead, solely to lose three straight video games to the eventual World Collection champion Dodgers.

Atlanta hasn’t been to the World Collection since 1999, and hasn’t gained all of it since 1995.

However this workforce, which floundered beneath .500 till Aug. 6, overcame a lot adversity to clinch its fourth straight division title within the ultimate week.

A season-ending damage to star Ronald Acuña Jr. and authorized points that sidelined Marcell Ozuna compelled the Braves to accumulate an entire new outfield earlier than the commerce deadline.

It paid off.

“We’ve been feeling actually good about ourselves within the second half, taking part in actually good baseball,” Freeman mentioned. ”We carried it over to the postseason.”

After the Braves and the Brewers mixed for simply 9 runs by means of the primary 30 innings of the sequence, the offenses immediately got here to life within the fourth.

The NL Central champ Brewers touched residence for the primary time since Recreation 1, getting RBI singles from Omar Narváez and Lorenzo Cain to snap a 22-inning scoreless streak. Narváez’s hit additionally broke an 0-for-20 efficiency by 95-win Milwaukee with runners in scoring place within the sequence.

However the Braves bounced again within the backside half, despite the fact that Milwaukee could have caught an enormous break on a deflected foul popup that was dominated a catch even by means of it appeared to hit the grime. Pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario came through with a two-out, two-run single to heart.

Milwaukee surged forward once more within the fifth, this time on Rowdy Tellez’s second two-run homer of the sequence. His first, means again within the seventh inning of Recreation 1, had produced the Brewers’ solely runs of the sequence till Tuesday. This second one off Huascar Ynoa was a large shot, plopping into the fountain past the center-field wall.

Again got here the Braves, who put up one other two-spot of their half. Joc Pederson drove in a single with a forceout and Travis d’Arnaud delivered a two-out single to proper to convey residence one other.

Pitching on three days’ relaxation, Charlie Morton lasted simply 3 1/3 innings for the Braves. He surrendered 4 hits and was charged with Milwaukee’s first two runs.

The Brewers determined to not use ace Corbin Burnes, who had gotten the win over Morton in Recreation 1. He was all set to go in Recreation 5 in Milwaukee.

Sadly for the Brewers, they don’t play once more till 2022.

“We’re all actually upset,” supervisor Craig Counsell mentioned. “In the long run, we had large targets. We didn’t fairly get there. However we did win 95 video games. It’s a particular group. They did accomplish some particular issues.”

Milwaukee starter Eric Lauer made his first look of the sequence, however didn’t get a lot farther than Morton. He went 3 2/3 innings, additionally charged with two runs on 4 hits.


The Braves could have had a much bigger inning within the fourth if not for what seemed to be a blown name on Adam Duvall’s popup.

Snitker tried to problem, however the umpires advised him that solely fly balls and line drives to an outfielder are topic to a video evaluation.

Issues actually acquired complicated when the scoreboard proclaimed the decision was “Overturned,” however that was an error on the operator.

The decision stood, even by means of a replay appeared to point out the ball bouncing off Narváez’s catcher’s mitt and barely putting the grime simply earlier than third baseman Luis Urias grabbed the deflection.


Braves proper fielder and leadoff hitter Jorge Soler was faraway from the lineup shortly earlier than the sport after testing constructive for COVID-19.

Outfielder Cristian Pache took Soler’s spot on the 26-man roster.

Soler was changed on the high of the order by Swanson. Pederson, slated to start out in left discipline, shifted to proper. Guillermo Heredia was inserted in heart discipline, batting eighth, and Duvall switched from heart to left.

Soler was among the many gamers acquired earlier than the commerce deadline because the Braves completely rebuilt their beginning outfield. He hit a mixed .223 with 27 homers and 70 RBIs with Kansas Metropolis and Atlanta in the course of the common season.

Soler had only one hit in 11 at-bats by means of the primary three video games in opposition to the Brewers.


Brewers: Start the 2022 season at residence in opposition to the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 31.

Braves: Open the NLCS on Saturday, with Max Fried set to make the beginning. If the Giants beat the Dodgers, the sequence would open in San Francisco. If Los Angeles prevails, the primary two video games can be in Atlanta. | M-V-Free! Freeman HR Sends Braves To NLCS, 5-4 Over Brewers

Huynh Nguyen

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