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Freeman fuels Braves' 18-hit blowout in SD

First baseman flirts with cycle as Atlanta evens series
June 5, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Freddie Freeman had an answer for everything San Diego tried against him Tuesday night.Really, everything.Freeman had four hits and finished a triple short of his second career cycle before leaving in the seventh inning, as part of an offensive assault when the Braves put up a 14-1

SAN DIEGO -- Freddie Freeman had an answer for everything San Diego tried against him Tuesday night.
Really, everything.
Freeman had four hits and finished a triple short of his second career cycle before leaving in the seventh inning, as part of an offensive assault when the Braves put up a 14-1 victory over San Diego to pull even in the three-game series at Petco Park.
He picked on the entire Padres' repertoire, an equal opportunity attacker on several levels while getting his second four-hit game of the season. (He had five hits in a 9-2 victory at Miami on May 10.)

Freeman had an RBI double into the right-field corner on a four-seam fastball from Jordan Lyles in the first inning.
He homered just to the right-field side of straightaway center on a curveball in the third inning for a 2-0 lead.
He doubled into the left-center-field gap on a changeup to lead off the game-deciding five-run fifth inning before singling to right on another fastball with two outs in the inning as the Braves batted around.
He walked in the seventh when the Padres wised up.
"That was the hardest-hit ball I've seen all year," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of Freeman's single.
"Freddies uses the whole field. They shift him a lot, and he beats the shift a lot, too. He gets a lot of hits to left field. A lot of homers to left field. I've seen him beat the shift with line drives.
"For me, they shift him to try to get him to go the other way so he is not hitting them in the seats in right field, but that's not really where his strength is."
For Freeman, losing a 16-game hitting streak Monday apparently just meant it was time to start another one.
"I'm doing nothing different," Freeman said. "Try to get a good pitch to hit, and it's falling lately."
Freeman was not alone. Dansby Swanson had three hits and a homer, Nick Markakis had two hits and a homer. Kurt Suzuki had three hits and Charlie Culberson had two hits.

All that offense helped Sean Newcomb reprise his first Major League victory.
Newcomb (7-1) gave up three singles and three walks in six scoreless innings for his seventh straight victory in the ballpark where he got the first of his career, a 3-0 victory over the Padres in which he gave up six hits in six scoreless innings in his fourth Major League start last June 27. Newcomb has a 1.31 ERA in his last seven starts.
"Every time he goes on the mound, you're pretty confident we are going to get the win that day," Freeman said. "He's been lights-out for a long time. He seems to go out there and throw shutout innings every time he is out there. What he did tonight is pretty special."

Freeman is one of seven Braves to hit for the cycle, and he was the last to do it, against Cincinnati on June 1, 2016. Mark Kotsay ('08) is the only other Brave to do it in the last 30 years.
Foul, then fair: Swanson got a good, long look at Lyles in the fourth inning, and by the time his 11-pitch at-bat was over, the Braves had another run for a 3-0 lead.
After Culberson singled to lead off the inning, Swanson fouled off a slider and swung through a slider to fall behind in the count, 1-2, before Culberson stole second on a changeup that stayed inside. From there, Swanson went to work. He fouled off three pitches -- slider, curveball, fastball -- before taking a changeup for ball three. Swanson fouled off two more pitches -- changeup, fastball -- before lining a single to center field to drive in Culberson.
"That was a really tough, good at-bat right there," Snitker said. "He's starting to hit the breaking balls. He's had trouble with it. But you want to sober him up. You need to hit them, and he has."

Getting shifty: With runners on first and second and facing a 2-0 deficit with one out in the third inning, hot-hitting Padres first baseman Eric Hosmer drilled a line drive inches to Newcomb's right, hit so hard that Newcomb did not have time to react.
Not to worry. Swanson, shifted just to the shortstop's side of the bag, took the ball on one hop and had plenty of time to step on the bag and throw Hosmer out at first for a double play to end the inning. Hosmer was 16-for-31 in his previous seven games.

Freeman had some words of advice for Swanson when he returned from the disabled list in mid-May. Basically, give it some time.
"When you come off the DL, no matter how long you stay on the DL, your timing is not going to be there," Freeeman said. "I pretty much told him your timing is not going to be there for a little bit. He kept grinding, kept going, and now we're seeing him get his timing back."
Swanson has homers in three of his last five games and four homers in 18 games since returning.
"It can be frustrating at times," Swanson said. "Coming back, you think you are on go from where you left off. It does take a little bit. Sometimes the little things get lost along the way when you are not allowed to hit."

Newcomb threw 97 pitches, 20 of which were tracked at less than 80 mph, according to data from Statcast™. Of those 18 curveballs and two sliders, none were put in play.
"It was a great response to last night. Last night they did it to us. It was nice to be able to come out and string a lot of at-bats together. It was a huge response on our end." -- Swanson, on the big win after an 11-4 loss to the Padres on Monday
Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz will follow his first career shutout with his first career start at Petco Park in the final game of a three-game series on Wednesday. Foltynewicz tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in a two-hit shutout of Washington on Friday, extending a run in which he has given up two earned runs while striking out 37 in 32 innings. First pitch is set for 9:40 a.m. ET.

Jack Magruder is a contributor to