For the majority of Monday night, there were two dominant storylines on display at Turner Field. First, the game began at the late hour of 10:53 after a nearly four-hour rain delay. Secondly (and more importantly on the field), Dillon Gee was dominant for the better part of 8.1 innings, as he mowed through the Braves lineup.
Then, Freddie Freeman came to the plate with 1 out in the ninth inning, and, with one swing, changed everything.
Freeman blasted a walk-off, 2-run home run over the right field wall, and in the process, carried the Braves to an unexpected victory. It was the perfect ending to the long and winding road that was Monday night, but it was also the cherry on top of a tremendous day at the plate for Freeman. In total, Freeman finished 3-for-4 (the Braves only generated 5 total hits) and he was the lone offensive star for Atlanta.
Tim Hudson was also tremendous in the game for Atlanta. He gutted through 7 quality innings, allowing just 6 hits and 1 earned run, and while his control was lacking (3 walks), he pitched out of trouble all night. The lone blemish for Hudson came from the most unlikely source, as the aforementioned Dillon Gee added to his impressive pitching line with the Mets’ only RBI on a single in the 7th inning. However, Hudson finished the inning by stranding Gee on the basepaths, and the combination of Anthony Varvaro and David Carpenter held New York to just the 1 run.
That set the stage for the 9th-inning heroics, and while Freeman played the “hero” card, Justin Upton started the rally with a single to left off of the previously unhittable Gee. Before the 9th inning, Gee was on track for an ultra-efficient complete game shutout (he entered the inning with just 88 pitches), but it wasn’t meant to be for the Mets right-hander.
Instead, the Braves began the long, 5-game series with New York in grand fashion, and despite the post-1:00 am finish, things are just getting started. Freeman’s majestic home run (which, coincidentally, gave him his MLB-leading 3rd walk-off hit of the season) could bring some fantastic momentum for Atlanta, and frankly, they will need it, as the two teams will reconvene in less than 10 hours when Tuesday’s scheduled doubleheader begins at 1:10 PM ET.
What an incredible win.