Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Los Angeles Dodgers are not disappointing their fans, nor the analysts who consider that their lineup could be the most powerful in memory in the Major Leagues. The Los Angeles team won its seventh straight game on Monday, this time with an authentic Hollywood script.
Freddie Freeman, the star first baseman acquired in the winter, faced the Atlanta Braves for the first time in his career, with whom he played for 12 seasons before arriving in Los Angeles. In his first at bat against his former teammates, with whom he won the 2021 World Series, Freeman blew the fence left-center field in the first inning to lead the Dodgers to a 7-4 win.
It was Freeman’s debut as a home run hitter with his new team. In an Atlanta uniform, he hit 271 home runs in a brilliant career that included the MVP trophy in 2020.
The Dodgers (8-2), who matched MLB’s best record this season opener on Sunday, reached 20 straight regular-season wins at home as they opened a series that tasted of revenge after Atlanta edged LA in the Championship Series last October, when injuries blew up the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw (2-0), who pitched a perfect 7 innings in his first start of the year, took the win to reach 100 for life at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers’ starting pitching rotation entered the game with a 0.56 ERA during the current winning streak.
Day of emotions and ovations for Freddie Freeman
Before the game, Freeman visited the visitors’ dugout to greet all of his former teammates. He then received his Silver Slugger as the best hitting first baseman in the National League the previous year. He did it in the company of his family and Brian Snitker, the manager of the Braves.
But once the game got underway, Freeman put emotions and friendships aside with his smash that exploded with cries of “Fre-ddie, Fre-ddie, Fre-ddie!” in the stands, the same songs that began to be heard since his debut at Dodger Stadium. In addition to his home run he reached base twice with walks.
The Dodgers increased their lead with a five-run fourth-inning rally that was capped by Trea Turner’s bases-loaded double that drove in three runs.
Clayton Kershaw opened the season with 11 shutout innings.
Kershaw’s first run of the season came in the fifth inning – after 11 scoreless innings – on a home run by Cuban Guillermo Heredia. An inning later, Ozzie Albies also homered to make it 5-2, and Kershaw came out after the next two batters hit him. Both would score to adjust the score (6-4).
The left-hander’s performance was 5 innings, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 7 strikeouts and 0 walks. Huascar Ynoa (0-2) was the losing pitcher.
Cody Bellinger added a solo homer in the eighth to make it 7-4., giving a little more cushion to new Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel, another who had a great career with Atlanta. The right-hand closer retired in order for his third save.
To add to the thrills of encounters against old friends, Kenley Jansen returned to Los Angeles for the first time as a visiting playerWell, the Curaçao big man is now Atlanta’s closer. Los Angeles’ all-time saves leader sat out Monday but received a tribute from the Dodgers before the game.
– Julio Urías looked unhittable in his debut at home; a day before he met actor Denzel Washington