LOS ANGELES (AP) — Freddie Freeman is crafting a Hollywood beginning to his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
And it’s already a love story.
Freeman slugged his first home run in a Dodgers uniform — against his former team, no less — and Trea Turner’s bases-loaded double highlighted a five-run fourth inning as Los Angeles beat the Atlanta Braves 7-4 on Monday night for its seventh consecutive victory.
“Glad I got the first one out of the way,” Freeman said.
When he stepped into the batter’s box for the first time, Freeman and Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud looked at each other.
“We both said, ‘This is weird,’” Freeman said.
He didn’t wait to tee off against his old club, sending a solo shot into the left-field pavilion off Huascar Ynoa (0-2) in the first. That triggered chants of “Freddie! Freddie!” from the sellout crowd of 52,052 as the first baseman pointed to his family watching in a suite.
“For 50,000 people to make me feel good about myself and know they care about me, it means a lot,” Freeman said.
The crowd’s rhythmic shouting of Freeman’s name began at last week’s home opener, when fans serenaded him simply for smacking a double. Now, he’s hearing it every trip to the plate.
“Maybe they kind of sense it was a hard breakup and giving him the support he needs,” winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw said.
Before the game, an emotional Freeman spent time in the Atlanta clubhouse, reliving memories of winning last year’s World Series, the franchise’s first championship since 1995. He signed a $162 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers in March, ending a 12-year run with the Braves, the only team the Southern California native had played for.
“I wanted to see them and hug them,” he said. “I like hugs.”