Freddie Freeman’s HR sends Braves past Brewers into NLCS

Freddie Freeman hammered a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the eighth inning to propel the Atlanta Braves to a clinching 5-4 victory over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday.

Freeman’s 428-foot blast to left-center off a slider from Brewers left-hander Josh Hader (0-1) helped the Braves win the series three games to one and reach the NL Championship Series for the second straight season. Atlanta lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in 2020.

Freeman went 3-for-5 and Eddie Rosario contributed a two-run single for the Braves, who will face either the Giants or the Dodgers in the NLCS. San Francisco holds a 2-1 edge in its series entering Game 4 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run homer for the Brewers, who were eliminated in the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

Tyler Matzek (1-0) pitched a flawless eighth for the Braves and fellow left-hander Will Smith worked the ninth for this third save of the series.

Milwaukee’s Eduardo Escobar led off the ninth with a pinch-hit single to center. Kolten Wong popped up on a bunt attempt before Smith struck out Willy Adames and Christian Yelich to end it.

The Braves played without Jorge Soler, who tested positive for COVID-19. He was replaced on the roster prior to the game by fellow outfielder Cristian Pache.

Yelich led off the fifth inning with a single to right against Atlanta right-hander Huascar Ynoa. One out later, Tellez clobbered a first-pitch slider, and the 448-foot blast landed well beyond the center field fence to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead.

The Braves knotted the score in the bottom of the frame. Joc Pederson’s fielder’s-choice grounder with the bases loaded drove in the first run, and Travis d’Arnaud followed with an RBI ground single to right.

Braves right-hander Charlie Morton was charged with two runs and four hits over 3 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Milwaukee left-hander Eric Lauer gave up two runs and four hits over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out two and walked two.

The game was scoreless through three innings before both teams tallied twice in the fourth.

Omar Narvaez came up with runners on first and second with one out for the Brewers and delivered a run-scoring single to center to score Avisail Garcia. Right-hander Jesse Chavez replaced Morton and was greeted by Lorenzo Cain’s RBI single to center.

Atlanta loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Immediately after right-hander Hunter Strickland replaced Lauer, Rosario came up as a pinch hitter and lined a tying two-run single to center.

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