Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (L) celebrates with third base coach Ron Washington (R) after hitting a go-ahead solo home run against the Milwaukee Brewers during the eighth inning in Game 4 of their National League Division Series on Tuesday at Truist Park in Atlanta. Photo by Erik S. Lesser/EPA-EFE
Oct. 12 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Braves advanced to the National League Championship Series for the second year in a row after star first baseman Freddie Freeman hammered an improbable, tiebreaking home run to clinch a 5-4 comeback win over the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 4 of their NL Division Series on Tuesday at Truist Park.
The Braves won the best-of-five NLDS three games to one, and Atlanta will face either the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS.
"I've had a lot of cool moments in my career," Freeman said. "I think that's going to top them all. Hopefully it's not the last one and I've got a couple more in these playoffs."
The game was tied at four runs apiece in the eighth when the Brewers opted to bring out All-Star closer Josh Hader. The hard-throwing left-hander struck out Eddie Rosario and Dansby Swanson to set up the fateful showdown against Freeman.
On the first pitch of the at-bat, Freeman caught up with an 84-mph slider and launched the ball 428 feet into the bleachers in left-center field. It was only the fourth home run all season off Hader, who last gave up a long ball July 28.
"The first two guys went down, so I just tried to get a pitch up and he hung a slider and I put a good swing on it," Freeman said. "There was no rhyme or reason to it."
With the deep ball, Freeman became the first left-hander to hit a homer off Hader since Jason Heyward in 2020.
"When Freddie hit that ball, I mean, I lost my poise," Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies said. "Everybody in the dugout was going crazy."
The Brewers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the fourth after a pair of RBI singles from Omar Narvaez and Lorenzo Cain. Atlanta tied the game in the bottom of the inning with Rosario's two-run single to shallow center.
Brewers slugger Rowdy Tellez then broke the tie with a towering two-run homer to center, giving his club a 4-2 lead in the fifth. The Braves again answered in the same inning when Joc Pederson scored Albies on a fielder's choice and Travis d'Arnaud plated Austin Riley with a single to right.
Locked at 4-4 in the eighth, Freeman delivered his clutch home run off Hader to clinch the Braves' second straight trip to the NLCS.
"We've been feeling really good about ourselves in the second half, playing really good baseball," Freeman said. "We carried it over to the postseason."
The Braves haven't been to the World Series since 1999, and the club hasn't won a title since 1995. Atlanta lost to the eventual champion Dodgers in seven games during last year's NLCS.