Freddie Freeman said his emotions were "all over the place" as he hit his first home run for his new club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, against his former team in a 7-4 win against the Atlanta Braves.

Freeman spent 12 seasons with the Braves, earning five All-Star appearances and an MVP trophy in 2020, and faced them for the first time on Monday since signing a six-year, $162million deal with the Dodgers this past offseason.

In his first at-bat, from just the second pitch he saw, he blasted a home run over the fence at left-center, and later scored a second run when he was brought home by Trea Turner's base-clearing double in the fourth inning.

"Obviously there's just a lot of emotion going on right now," Freeman said afterwards. "But a lot of good emotion.

"I’m just happy to be able to see all the guys. We won a championship together last year, so that's what we're all talking about over there.

"I love every single person on [the Braves'] side of that field – but I do hope they don’t do good for these next three games.”

When asked if the game represented some closure for Freeman, he insisted that was not the case.

"I don't know if any of us are really looking for closure," he said. 

"I had a great 12 years; I'm not trying to close anything. I'm just trying to move on, obviously. 

"But I had so many great memories with the Braves, with the guys over there. That's always going to be there, I think."

He added: "As the game went on, there were a couple smiles here and there from staff members and people I spent a lot of time with.

"It's just a special day, one I'll always remember."

Early National League Rookie of the Year favourite Seiya Suzuki continued the remarkable start to his MLB career on Monday with another two hits in the Chicago Cubs' 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Suzuki, 27, was named National League Player of the Week in his first full week in the majors, and with his first of two hits on Monday, he tied Akinori Iwamura for the longest hitting streak by a Japanese player to start their career at nine games.

He is also the first Cub to hit safely in the first nine games of their career (with an official at-bat) since 1943. He sits fifth in the majors in batting average (.429) and is tied for fourth in home runs (four).

Of the Cubs' four runs, Suzuki scored two, as he was driven in by a Patrick Wisdom two-run homer in the second inning, before getting hit by a pitch in the seventh inning, eventually coming around to score again off an Ian Happ hit.

With the Cubs up 3-2 in the eighth inning, Frank Schwindel gave Chicago a little breathing room with a solo home run for the last score of the game.

Despite the loss, it was a terrific performance on the mound for Rays Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan, striking out nine batters in six innings, allowing only four hits and no walks for one earned run.

Yelich grand slams for Brewers

Leading 2-1 in the fourth inning, Christian Yelich stepped up to the plate with bases loaded and slogged a massive 429-foot grand slam to give the Milwaukee Brewers their 6-1 final score against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Brewers starting pitcher Eric Lauer was excellent, striking out five batters in six innings, conceding only one run and six baserunners in the process.

Freeman goes deep against old friends

After spending the first 12 years of his MLB career with the Atlanta Braves, Freddie Freeman hit a home run against them in the first inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 7-4 home win against his visiting former team.

From just the second pitch he faced against his old side, Freeman hammered it for a 386-foot home run to center field for the early lead.

The Braves rallied in the sixth frame to get Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw out of the game with seven strikeouts and four earned runs through five complete innings, but it was not enough to deny the Dodgers their seventh consecutive win to move to the best record in the majors at 8-2.

National League Rookie of the Year favourite Seiya Suzuki registered a hit in the eighth consecutive start of his career after a home run in the Chicago Cubs' 6-4 away win against the Colorado Rockies.

The 27-year-old, who arrived from the Hiroshima Carp this off-season on a five-year, $85million deal made more history with his home run, becoming the second Japanese player to ever start his career with an eight-game hitting streak, and the third Cubs player in the past 100 years to start a season that way,

With a hit in his next game, Suzuki will tie Akinori Iwamura for the record for longest hitting streak to start a MLB career for a player coming from Japan, which happened in 2007 for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Suzuki's home run was his fourth of the season – trailing only C.J. Kron and Vladimir Guerrero Jr (five each) for most home runs in the entire MLB.

It came at an important time on Sunday, after the Rockies had cut the Cubs' 5-0 lead back to 5-3 going into the seventh inning, before Suzuki tacked on the extra insurance run.

Nick Madrigal was also terrific for the Cubs, going three-for-five at the plate, including a double, while the biggest hit of the game was Ryan McMahon's 447-foot two-run blast for the Rockies in the sixth inning.

Freeman and Heaney fit right in as Dodgers sweep Reds

Freddie Freeman had four hits and three RBIs as the Los Angeles Dodgers completed a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds, claiming a 9-1 win on Sunday.

Andrew Heaney struck out 11 over six innings in a scoreless home debut, while Max Muncy, Will Smith and Chris Taylor.

Heaney was dominant, posting his 15th career start with at least 10 strikeouts, while walking three and only allowing a double from Kyle Farmer in the third inning.

Darvish bounces back against Braves

Yu Darvish pitched into the seventh inning as the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 with only three hits.

Following the shortest outing of his career, not even covering two innings against the San Francisco Giants on the prior Tuesday, the 35-year-old allowed his only run against the reigning World Series champions via Marcell Ozuna's home run in the seventh.

Taylor Rogers closed out the four-hitter for San Diego, to save what was an otherwise off day at the plate for the Padres, with Jake Cronenworth particularly going zero-for-three.

Freddie Freeman vowed to never forget his winning home Los Angeles Dodgers debut, saying: "I don't think it could have gone much better than that."

Freeman joined the Dodgers in free agency after leaving the Atlanta Braves, where he won the World Series last season, the National League MVP the year before and was a five-time All-Star.

The 32-year-old first baseman had made a steady start to life as a Dodger prior to Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, batting .286/.375/.381 with six hits and two runs through five games.

But against the Reds in the first game of the year at Dodger Stadium, Freeman gave a flavour of why Los Angeles had invested $162million over six years in him.

Freeman finished with two hits and two runs, with his leadoff double at the bottom of the eighth with the game tied setting in motion a six-run inning that prompted his name to be chanted by the home crowd and sealed a 9-3 win.

"That's as special as it gets right there," Freeman said.

"You have those feelings before, coming out on the line for the intros, but usually once the game starts those feelings go away. For the fans to be able to create a moment for me in the eighth inning is something I'll never forget.

"It's definitely been nice. The last month has been pretty special, from the first game at [spring training] to tonight, they've been welcoming me with open arms.

"First game at Dodger Stadium with the Dodgers, I don't think it could have gone much better than that."

The 4-2 Dodgers have three more games against the Reds this weekend before the Braves visit LA next week in what is sure to be a big series for Freeman, who was unhappy with the nature of his exit from Atlanta.

Playing at Dodger Stadium as a Brave, Freeman batted .296/.353/.512 with seven home runs in 33 regular season games.

Five-time All-Star Freddie Freeman will leave the reigning world champion Atlanta Braves for the Los Angeles Dodgers on a bumper multi-year deal according to ESPN.

The 2020 National League (NL) MVP has agreed to a six-year, $162million deal with the Dodgers after reaching free agency for the first time in his career.

The 32-year-old has spent his whole professional career with the Braves dating back to 2007, before guiding them to their first World Series triumph since 1995 last year.

California-native Freeman hit .300 with 31 home runs, 83 RBIs and a NL-best 120 runs in their triumphant 2021 MLB season.

The Dodgers' blockbuster move for Freeman follows lucrative deals for Trevor Bauer in 2021 and Mookie Betts in 2020.

Freeman had rejected the Braves' qualifying offer after his contract expired following the World Series triumph, before becoming a free agent in November.

The Braves had signed Matt Olson earlier this week on an eight-year deal, making Freeman's exit more probable, with the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees also pursuing him.

The Dodgers are yet to confirm the deal with the move subject to Freeman completing a physical.

"Did that really happen?" Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Thursday. "Once Atlanta made that deal for Olson, it kind of came to pass. We're a much better ball club today than we were yesterday."

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker and star Freddie Freeman lauded the team's resilience in overcoming obstacles on the road to winning their first World Series since 1995.

The Braves claimed the best-of-seven World Series 4-2 thanks to a 7-0 win over the Houston Astros in Game 6, becoming the eighth side in a row to clinch the title away from home.

The triumph is Atlanta's first championship in 26 years, while it comes after they lost star outfield Ronaldo Acuna Jr. in July due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury along with starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a fractured fibula in Game 1 of the World Series.

Atlanta had off-field issues too, with two-time All-Star Marcell Ozuna placed on the commissioner's exempt list after being arrested and charged with aggravated assault in May.

The Braves traded in Alex Duvall and acquired Joc Pederson in July, with both hitting three home runs during the postseason, along with 10 and nine RBIs respectively.

"These guys never gave up on themselves. We used a lot of guys," Snitker said during the post-game ceremony.

"We lost a lot of pieces over the course of the summer. It was just the next man up. These guys never stopped believing in themselves.

"They never stopped working. I've got a rock star coaching staff that make sure these guys stay consistent every day. They always played the game the way you're supposed to play it."

Freeman, who has been with the Braves since 2010 and won last season's National League (NL) MVP, hailed the side's resilience.

"I think the most gratifying thing is this team, we hit every pothole, every bump that could've happened this year," Freeman said. "Injuries, everything that could've gone wrong. We overcame every single one of those things.

"This group came very single day, prepared and worked and worked and worked and ended up world champions."

Freeman, who padded the lead with a seventh-inning solo home run, added: "This is what you dream about every single year. You come to spring training wanting this to happen and it happened this year.

"It means everything. We've been waiting for a championship in this city for a long time. I'm glad we delivered it."

Snitker has spent all of his 45 seasons in professional baseball with the Braves, including the past six years as manager.

"It takes a lot to make this happen," Snitker said. "I'm very proud of our organisation and this club. There's nothing better. We're world champions."

Jorge Soler was named World Series MVP after hitting three go-ahead home runs across the six games. He becomes the second Cuban to claim the honour, behind Livan Hernandez with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

Soler also becomes the sixth player to hit three or more go-ahead home runs in a World Series, joining Babe Ruth (1926), Lou Gehrig (1928), Gene Tenace (1972), Curtis Granderson (2015) and George Springer (2017).

"I was just really focused during that at-bat," Soler said about his third-inning go-ahead three-run blast. "I feel like he'd thrown my every pitch he had in his arsenal so I just kept fouling the pitchers off and eventually got to that 3-2 count and he hung the slider and I was able to drive it."

The Atlanta Braves returned to the summit of MLB, claiming their first World Series crown in 26 years after blitzing the Houston Astros 7-0 on Tuesday.

Atlanta had the chance to clinch on home soil on Sunday but were denied by a desperate Astros franchise, who overturned a four-run deficit to prolong the best-of-seven series.

But the Braves were not to be denied in Game 6 as home runs from Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman secured a 4-2 series victory and their first World Series since 1995.

The drought-ending success delivered a fourth World Series title to the Braves, with all four championships being clinched in different cities – Boston, Milwaukee, Atlanta and Houston.

After two scoreless innings in Houston, the Braves seized control thanks to a three-run third inning at Minute Maid Park, where the bats of Astros stars Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez fell silent.

Soler was the instigator, his 446-foot three-run homer off Luis Garcia seeing him become the fourth player in Braves history to hit a three-run homer in a World Series after Hank Aaron (1957), Lonnie Smith (1991) and Ryan Klesko (1995).

 

The red-hot Braves did not let up in the fifth as Swanson delivered a two-run homer after Freeman's double had allowed Soler to score earlier in the inning.

Entering the game, Freeman had eight career postseason home runs, with half of them coming in 2021 and the Braves star tied a franchise record.

Freeman matched Fred McGriff with his fifth homer of the playoffs – a joint Braves record for most home runs in one postseason after going long in the seventh inning.

Braves ace Max Fried became the first starter in history to have six-plus strikeouts, zero walks and no runs in a potential World Series-clinching game.

Chris Taylor made history by homering three times to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers alive in the National League Championship Series (NLCS) with an 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

Facing elimination at 3-1 down in the NLCS, the World Series champions trailed 2-0 early before 11 unanswered runs headlined by Taylor's trio of home runs, going four-from-five for the game with six RBIs.

Taylor joined Enrique Hernandez as the only Dodgers player to ever have a three-homer postseason game. The 31-year-old moves to an equal-postseason high 12 RBIs, along with four home runs and 12 hits. All four of Taylor's home runs have come in games when the Dodgers were facing elimination.

A.J. Pollock also finished the game with two home runs, including an eighth-inning three-run blast, going three-from-five.

The Dodgers become the third team in postseason history to have two players with a multi-home run game in the same postseason game. They also set a new franchise record for hits in a postseason game with 17, tying their postseason home-run record of five.

The Braves threatened to run away with the series after Freddie Freeman's first-inning two-run blast with Dodgers starting pitcher Joe Kelly withdrawn soon after.

But LA responded with home runs from Pollock and Taylor in the third inning from Max Fried to claim the lead.

Taylor extended the Dodgers lead with a two-run home run in the sixth inning, adding a third homer in the seventh inning to open up a 7-2 lead.

Pollock put the icing on the cake in the eighth inning, before Kenley Jansen closed it out.

The Dodgers had trailed the Braves 3-1 in last season's NLCS, before triumphing in the next three games and ultimately winning the World Series.

 

Red Sox at Astros

The Houston Astros can secure their spot in the World Series for the third time in five years when they host the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series leading 3-2.

Eddie Rosario starred as the Atlanta Braves moved within one win of the World Series thanks to a 9-2 victory over defending champions the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Rosario delivered four hits, four RBIs and three runs in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS), including a ninth-inning three-run homer to ice the victory, giving the Braves a commanding 3-1 series lead in the MLB playoffs.

Atlanta raced to a 4-0 lead after three innings via solo home runs from Rosario, Adam Duvall and Freddie Freeman, before Joc Pederson drove in Rosario.

A.J. Pollock hit a two-run single in the fifth inning to offer hope of another Dodgers fightback following Tuesday's 6-5 win, but the Braves pulled away again led by Rosario – who became the first-ever player with two four-hit NLCS games. The 30-year-old is hitting at .600 with nine-for-15 in the NLCS.

Rosario needed a double from his ninth inning at-bat to complete a cycle and become the second player in MLB history to achieve the feat, but instead settled for a game-sealing three-run blast. 

According to Stats Perform, Rosario is the first player in major league playoff history to have two four-hit games in a three-game span in a single postseason.

Teams with a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series have won 75 of 89 times. To make matters worse for the Dodgers – who are on the brink of elimination and being dethroned, Justin Turner limped out of the game with an apparent hamstring injury.

The Houston Astros shut down the Boston Red Sox behind Framber Valdez as they delivered a five-run sixth-inning rally to cruise to a 9-1 triumph and a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series (ALCS).

Valdez pitched eight innings, allowing only three hits and one earned run with five strikeouts, with the Red Sox only managing three hits for the game at Fenway Park in Boston.

Yordan Alvarez, who had a second-inning homer and finished with three hits, drove in two during the fifth inning, along with Jose Siri with a fly ball to open a 6-0 lead.

The Astros had won 9-2 in Game 4, meaning the Red Sox have allowed nine or more runs and been held to five or fewer hits in back-to-back wins for the first time ever at Fenway Park.

Houston, meanwhile, are the first team in MLB postseason history to be trailing in a series and then win back-to-back games on the road by seven-plus runs, according to Stats Perform.

 

Braves at Dodgers

The Braves can secure their first World Series appearance since 1999 when they face the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS on Thursday.

The Atlanta Braves came through in the bottom of the ninth inning for the second consecutive night as Eddie Rosario's two-out single secured a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS). 

After winning 18 fewer games than reigning World Series champions the Dodgers during the regular season, the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the NLCS with two wins at home by the slimmest of margins. 

Rosario hit the first pitch from Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen back up the middle, driving home Dansby Swanson from second with the winning run on Sunday.

It was the fourth hit of the night for Rosario, making him the fifth player in postseason history to record at least four hits in a game, including a walkoff. 

The dramatic finish was appropriate for a game that was tight throughout. 

The Dodgers wasted no time getting their offence started, as Mookie Betts singled to lead off the game and Corey Seager followed with a home run. 

A man who performed most of his October heroics for the Dodgers had an answer, though, as Joc Pederson hit yet another postseason home run – his 12th – to tie it up in the fourth. 

The Dodgers jumped back on top in the seventh when Chris Taylor dumped a sinking fly ball in front of onrushing Atlanta centerfielder Guillermo Heredia, who had just entered the game as part of a double switch. 

Even worse for the Braves, the ball got by Heredia, allowing an additional run to score as the Dodgers went up 4-2. 

Some aggressive base-running levelled up the game in the eighth, as Rosario manufactured a run by tagging up on a Freddie Freeman fly out to left field, then came around to score with an acrobatic slide after Ozzie Albies singled. 

Atlanta's Game 1 hero, Austin Riley, then drove a double to the wall in deep left centre to score Albies and make it 4-4. 

After the Braves held the Dodgers scoreless in the top of the ninth, Atlanta's offence came through once again in the end. 

Game 3 is in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

 

Astros at Red Sox

The American League Championship Series (ALCS), tied 1-1, shifts to Fenway Park on Monday as the Houston Astros send Jose Urquidy to the mound against Eduardo Rodriguez and the Boston Red Sox. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers fought back on Saturday, getting to San Francisco Giants starter Kevin Gausman early and knocking him out later in the game as the reigning World Series champions evened their National League Division Series (NLDS) with a 9-2 road victory. 

The Dodgers got their offence back on track after being blanked by Giants starter Logan Webb in Game 1, pounding out 11 hits at Oracle Park before heading home for Monday's Game 3 in the MLB playoffs. 

Oddly enough, it was Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias who got everything going with a run-scoring single in the second inning as Los Angeles earned a 2-0 lead that the Giants answered with one in the bottom of that inning. 

Both teams' bats stayed quiet until the sixth, when the Dodgers drove Gausman from the game and broke it open with two-run doubles from Cody Bellinger and AJ Pollock. 

They piled on three more against the Giants' bullpen in the eighth thanks to a Will Smith solo homer and RBI singles from Matt Beaty and Corey Seager. 

Urias did his job on the mound, too, limiting NL West champions San Francisco to one run in his five innings of work before four Dodgers relievers finished it off. 

Urias lowered his postseason ERA to 2.68 in 19 career appearances while improving his record to 7-2. The seven wins equal former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner for the most postseason victories by a pitcher aged 25 or younger. 

In the other NLDS matchup, Max Fried was brilliant on the mound as the Atlanta Braves evened the series with a 3-0 defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Fried allowed just three hits and did not walk a batter while striking out nine in his six innings of work before three Atlanta relievers finished off the shutout. 

The Braves scored twice in the third inning on an RBI single by Freddie Freeman and a double by Ozzie Albies, and Austin Riley added a home run in the sixth for insurance. 

The series moves to Atlanta on Monday for Game 3.

 

Rays at Red Sox

After pounding out 20 hits in a 14-6 Game 2 rout to even the series, the Boston Red Sox will look to keep it going as they return to Fenway Park for Monday's Game 3, with Nathan Eovaldi set to start against the Tampa Bay Rays' Drew Rasmussen. 

Toronto Blue Jays sensation Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres headline the starters for the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

The starters for the upcoming All-Star Game, scheduled for July 13 at Coors Field – home of the Colorado Rockies, were revealed after two rounds of fan voting on Thursday.

Guerrero (aged 22 years and 119 days) will be the youngest Blue Jays player to start an All-Star Game, while he is also the youngest player to start at first base since George Scott in 1966.

Son of an MLB Hall of Famer, Guerrero is only second to Ohtani (28) for home runs this season with 26, while he leads the majors in RBI (66), on-base percentage (.442), OPS (1.117) and three-plus hit games (11 – level with Trea Turner).

Ohtani, 26, is set to become the first Japanese-born player to start an All-Star Game since Ichiro Suzuki in 2010.

The Angels' Ohtani has the most homers this season, while he owns a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts across 60 innings on the mound.

As for Tatis, the 22-year-old shortstop will be the youngest player to start for the Padres in an All-Star Game.

Tatis entered Thursday's action leading MLB with an incredible .705 slugging percentage, while leading the National League (NL) in homers.

Elsewhere, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers will become the first shortstop/third base combo in Boston Red Sox history to start the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. will join Eddie Matthews as the player in franchise history to start multiple All-Star Games before turning 24, while Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker will give the Cincinnati Reds multiple outfield starters for the first time since 1956.

 

All-Star Game starters:

American League

C: Salvador Perez (Kansas City Royals)
2B: Marcus Semien (Toronto Blue Jays)
3B: Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
SS: Xander Bogaerts (Boston Red Sox)
OF: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels) 
OF: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees)
OF: Teoscar Hernandez (Toronto Blue Jays) 

National League

C: Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants)
1B: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
2B: Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh Pirates)
3B: Nolan Arenado (St Louis Cardinals)
OF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)
OF: Nick Castellanos (Cincinnati Reds)
OF: Jesse Winker (Cincinnati Reds)

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