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Turner homers, Dodgers stop Braves 4-1 in Freeman's return

Los Angeles Dodgers' Trea Turner celebrates with Freddie Freeman (5) after Turner hit a home run, as Atlanta Braves catcher William Contreras watches during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

ATLANTA (AP) — Freddie Freeman was smiling after his long, emotional day.

At the end of a night that included a lot of tears, Freeman was happy because he felt good about showing his appreciation to Atlanta fans — and playing well for his new Los Angeles team.

Trea Turner had three hits, including a home run, Freeman reached base three times in his return to Atlanta and the Dodgers beat the Braves 4-1 on Friday in a rematch of the past two NL Championship Series.

“I’m exhausted, emotionally exhausted, but what a wonderful evening for my family,” Freeman said.

Dodgers reliever Daniel Hudson exited in the eighth with what manager Dave Roberts said is a season-ending left knee injury. Roberts said Hudson tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

The loss of Hudson takes away a top setup man. Hudson, who has five saves and a 2.22 ERA, fell to the ground while attempting to react to a dribbler hit by Ronald Acuña Jr., who reached on the infield hit.

The Dodgers got more bad news before the game when left-hander Andrew Heaney was placed on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation.

Freeman received standing ovations from the sellout crowd of 42,105 before the game and before his first at-bat. The longtime Braves star had one hit, a sixth-inning single. He walked twice and scored two runs.

“It’s hard to describe how I felt in that moment,” Freeman said of receiving his first ovation. “Just a lot of love.”

Freeman was presented his 2021 World Series ring by Braves manager Brian Snitker in a pregame ceremony. The slugger tipped his cap and raised his arms to the crowd and said he was also careful to spend as much time as possible signing autographs before the game.

Julio Urías (5-6) handed the Braves just their fourth loss in June, allowing one run on three hits with nine strikeouts in six innings.

“We know how good they are,” Urías said through a translator. “We know how potent their offense can be. We went out with a plan and executed it.”

Snitker said he was impressed Urías “never quit pitching” even when he began to tire in the sixth.

The Braves, who remained four games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East, fell to 18-4 this month.

Turner led off the game with a single and scored on Will Smith’s single. Freeman walked and scored on Justin Turner’s sacrifice fly.

Trea Turner hit his 10th homer in the fifth, giving him three hits for the second consecutive game.

Freeman, the 2020 NL MVP, was overcome with emotion in a pregame news conference as he said, “I love the Braves organization with all my heart. That will never change.”

The first baseman signed a $162 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers in the offseason after he was unable to reach an agreement with the Braves.

The Braves loaded the bases against Urías in the sixth. Acuña reached on an infield hit, moved to third on Dansby Swanson’s bloop single and scored on Matt Olson’s sacrifice fly. Urías struck out Marcell Ozuna to end the inning.

Right-hander Brusdar Graterol, who replaced Hudson in the eighth, stranded Acuña on third base when Austin Riley hit into a double play.

WALKS LEAD TO LOSS

Braves right-hander Ian Anderson (6-4) struggled with his control as he allowed four runs in four-plus innings and was handed his first loss since May 22. Anderson had six strikeouts with four walks, and 40 of his 88 pitches were balls.

Snitker said Anderson was “just a little scattered” while giving up two runs on two hits and two walks in the first. “I was just hoping to get another inning out of him,” Snitker said.

NO COMEBACK

Olson, Atlanta’s replacement for Freeman, led off the ninth with his second hit, a single. Dodgers closer Craig Kimbrel recovered with three quick outs to earn his 13th save in 14 chances.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Reyes Moronta was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City after Heaney was placed on the injured list. RHP Mitch White will be recalled to start Saturday night’s game. Roberts said Heaney felt soreness in his shoulder while throwing in the bullpen Thursday and will be shut down for a few days. “I don’t foresee it being long,” Roberts said.

UP NEXT

Braves LHP Max Fried (7-2, 2.77 ERA) will start against White (1-1, 3.86). White has appeared in nine games, including four starts, for Los Angeles. Fried is 2-2 with a 3.30 ERA in six career regular-season starts against the Dodgers.