Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman hit his first home run of the season in a win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday in Los Angeles. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
April 19 (UPI) -- New Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman hit the second pitch he saw over the wall for a home run in his first-ever at-bat against his former Atlanta Braves team, sparking a 7-4 victory in Los Angeles.
Freeman went 1 for 3 with two runs scored, two walks and an RBI in the win Monday at Dodger Stadium. His first-inning solo shot also was his first home run in a Dodgers uniform.
"I love the Atlanta Braves," Freeman told reporters. "I will always love the Atlanta Braves. I'm just happy I was able to help the Dodgers win a game."
Freeman, who spent 14 years in the Braves organization, joined the Dodgers in March when he signed a six-year, $162 million contract in free agency. The five-time All-Star and 2020 National League MVP hit .295 with 271 home runs over 12 seasons with the Braves at the MLB level.
"A lot of people that know me, know that it's emotional for me," Freeman said. "I'm just happy to be able to see all the guys. We won a championship together last year."
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw did not allow a run until the fifth inning. Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts flew out to center field to lead off the bottom of the first. Freeman then stepped into the box to face Braves starter Huascar Ynoa.
Freeman fouled off the first offering of the exchange. The right-handed pitcher then tossed in a high-and-outside fastball. Freeman smashed the 97.1-mph pitch over the left field wall for a 386-foot homer. The blast traveled 104 mph off his bat and left the field in 4.5 seconds, according to Stacast.
The Dodgers went on to add five runs in the fourth to take a 6-0 edge. The Braves then rallied in the fifth and sixth, but couldn't close the gap.
Right fielder Guillermo Heredia hit a 390-foot solo homer off Kershaw in the top of the fifth. Second baseman Ozzie Albies led off the next inning with a 421-foot solo shot to left field. Kershaw allowed back-to-back singles after that at-bat and then left the game. Center fielder Adam Duvall and catcher Travis d'Arnaud drove in the final two Braves runs later in the inning.
Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger hit a 402-foot solo home run to center field in the bottom of the eighth for the final run of the night.
Bellinger went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner went 1 for 4 with three RBIs. Kershaw allowed six hits and four runs over five innings to move to 2-0 this season. He also totaled seven strikeouts.
Ynoa allowed four hits and five runs over 3 2/3 innings to drop to 0-2. He issued four strikeouts and four walks. Braves first baseman Matt Olson went 3 for 4 with a run scored. Braves third baseman Austin Riley and d'Arnaud each went 2 for 4 in the loss.
The Dodgers (8-2) host the Braves (5-7) in the second game of the series at 10:10 p.m. EDT Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.