Freddie Freeman led off the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-run homer over the fence in left-center field to give the Atlanta Braves an 8-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.
Freeman’s blast came on a 1-0 sinker from Red Sox left-hander Jeffrey Springs (0-2) and helped the Braves (35-23) clinch the No. 2 seed in the National League playoffs. The homer is Freeman’s 13th of the season and his fifth career walk-off blast.
Alex Verdugo hit a sacrifice fly to center in the top of the 11th inning off Braves right-hander Shane Greene (1-0) to give Boston a 7-6 lead. Jackie Bradley Jr. homered earlier in the game for the Red Sox (22-36).
Leading off the bottom of the first, Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a 495-foot, tape-measure homer, the longest in the majors this season. Teammate Marcell Ozuna reached base five times on two singles, a double and two walks.
Boston took a 6-4 lead in the 10th on run-scoring singles by Kevin Plawecki (3-for-4) and Bobby Dalbec. But the Braves tied the score in the bottom of the frame on Ozzie Albies’ run-scoring single and Dansby Swanson’s two-out tying double off the wall in right.
The Braves trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning before Ozuna lined a two-run go-ahead single. Another run scored on a throwing error by third baseman Rafael Devers.
Boston loaded the bases in the ninth inning against Atlanta right-hander Mark Melancon, and Devers came up with one out. He hit a roller that third baseman Adeiny Hechavarria went to his left to glove, but he slipped on the dirt, and his throw to first was high and wide, allowing Bradley and Plawecki to score to tie the game.
Braves right-hander Kyle Wright allowed two runs and two hits over 6 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Acuna hit his prestigious homer — his 14th of the season — to left-center field on the fifth pitch of the game from Boston right-hander Chris Mazza. It is his 19th career leadoff blast.
Wright retired the first 12 batters before Bradley led off the fifth by mashing a 2-1 fastball 447 feet over the fence in center to tie the score. The blast was Bradley’s sixth of the season.
Boston moved ahead 2-1 in the seventh inning on Devers’ infield out with the bases loaded.
Mazza gave up one run and four hits over five innings. He struck out six and walked two.