Josh Hader usually saves his All-Star stuff for the ninth inning as one of baseball’s best closers. Thanks to an unfortunate hand injury to bullpen mate Devin Williams, he got eighth-inning duty in a tie game in the NLDS on Tuesday. Freddie Freeman was ready. The reigning NL MVP launched a two-out, first-pitch solo home run over the center field wall to secure a 5-4 lead in Game 4 of the NLDS.
Braves closer Will Smith did his job in the ninth as Atlanta finished off a 3-1 series win to book a trip to the NLCS, where they’ll face either the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
The victory means a second straight NLCS appearance for the Braves, who lost in seven games to the eventual World Series champion Dodgers in 2020. For the Brewers, the result marks a bitter end to a 95-win season that carried hopes of a World Series title.