The Atlanta Braves are going to the National League Championship Series after a high-drama 5-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of the Division Series at Truist Park on Tuesday night.
With two outs and the score tied 4-4 in the bottom of the eighth, Freddie Freeman did what very few left-handed hitters do: hit a home run off Josh Hader.
Freeman cranked a Hader pitch over the left-center field wall for a go-ahead blast that would serve as the game-winner.
Freddie Freeman takes Josh Hader deep to give the Braves a 5-4 lead in the 8th! 💣
The Braves would advance to the NLCS with a win. ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/T1UYUCiOYw
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 13, 2021
Hader last allowed a homer on July 28, and didn’t allow a homer *all season* to left-handed hitters. Quite a feat from the 2020 NL MVP, and especially considering the moment.
Josh Hader had faced 231 batters this season giving up only 3 HR, and none to lefties.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) October 13, 2021
The Braves trailed 2-0 and 4-2 in this game (with each team scoring two runs in the fourth and fifth innings). In the bottom of the fifth, Travis d’Arnaud hit a two-out RBI single to tie the game 4-4.
Back and forth we go in Brewers-Braves Game 4.
The Braves have scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th to tie it back up, 4-4. pic.twitter.com/DsuXOXHhFa
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 12, 2021
Atlanta followed that with four scoreless innings from the bullpen, and Will Smith closed it out by striking out Christian Yelich. Milwaukee’s Eduardo Escobar led off the single with a single, but was stranded at first base.
The Braves were NL East champions with 88 wins, while the Brewers won the NL Central with 95 wins. It’s a disappointing exit for a Milwaukee team that looked like a sneaky title contender due to a terrific rotation and Hader in the back of the bullpen.
Atlanta will be underdogs in the best-of-seven NLCS against the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers (Five Thirty Eight currently gives the Braves a 36% chance to reach the World Series), but they’re playing great baseball at the right time.