In Freddie Freeman’s return to Atlanta, the Braves lost to the Dodgers, 4-1, on Friday at Truist Park.

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Here are five observations on the Braves (41-31):

1. Moments after Freddie Freeman entered the interview room hours before the game, he stopped before reaching the table. He put his hands on his head and turned around, then asked for a moment. Overcome with emotion, he walked right back out.

He returned a few minutes later, tears in his eyes, a towel in his hand to wipe them away. He reminisced on his memories with the Braves, including the World Series run and the sacrifices that went into it. He expected the emotions to keep flowing.

“I don’t even know how I’m going to get through this weekend guys, to be honest,” he said.

Combined ShapeCaption
Former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman smiles at the Braves dugout after drawing a walk against the Braves during the first inning of a MLB baseball game on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman smiles at the Braves dugout after drawing a walk against the Braves during the first inning of a MLB baseball game on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta.  “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Combined ShapeCaption
Former Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman smiles at the Braves dugout after drawing a walk against the Braves during the first inning of a MLB baseball game on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Well, Friday was a good start for him.

Freeman went 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. His hit was a sixth-inning single through the shift.

“I was just trying to get through it,” Freeman said after the game. “I didn’t really feel pressure tonight. I think everybody here would’ve understood if I went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and all that. Just trying to keep my feet on the ground tonight.”

ExploreCunningham: Freddie Freeman left Braves over business. His return is all love.

2. In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Braves loaded the bases on Dodgers starter Julio Urias. Most of the 42,105 fans on hand got louder and louder as their team seemed ready to grab the momentum for the first time all night.

Matt Olson lifted a sacrifice fly to score one run. Then Marcell Ozuna struck out to end the inning.

In the eighth, the Braves had runners on the corners against reliever Brusdar Graterol before Austin Riley hit into a double play in which the Dodgers showcased strong infield defense. And in the ninth, versus former Brave Craig Kimbrel, the Braves couldn’t take advantage of a leadoff single.

They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base. Urias allowed a run over six innings.

“All you can ask for is opportunities,” Ian Anderson said. “We gave ourselves a bunch of opportunities and that’s what you have to do, especially against teams with good bullpens like these guys. Just keep giving ourselves the opportunities and eventually they’re going to get the hit or we’ll put the pressure on them and they’ll make a mistake.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker felt like Riley would get a hit in the eighth. When the Braves led off the ninth with a single, he thought: Well, here we go.

“We can lay dead in the weeds with the best of them and then all of the sudden come alive and make a run or pull a game,” Snitker said.

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson reacts after walking Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman (not pictured) during the first inning at Truist Park Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson reacts after walking Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman (not pictured) during the first inning at Truist Park Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Combined ShapeCaption
Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson reacts after walking Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman (not pictured) during the first inning at Truist Park Friday, June 24, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

3. The Dodgers began the game against Anderson like this: Single, Freeman’s walk, single. Just like that, they plated a run.

“I kind of felt like I was underwater a little bit,” Anderson said. “Just moving a little slow, couldn’t figure it out.”

Anderson allowed four runs on six hits, with four walks and six strikeouts, over four innings. He held the Dodgers scoreless until the fifth, when he was charged with two earned runs. One came when Trea Turner took a fastball up and away and put it into the right-field seats. The ball seemed like it carried, which left Anderson surprised that it went out.

“I thought he hit it really high,” Anderson said. “There were two other pitches in that at-bat that I thought I executed pretty well, and that one was supposed to be the third one of the sequence. It happens.”

4. Anderson also was part of a special moment. In the top of the first, he stepped off the mound as Freeman walked to the plate and received a long ovation.

“You knew it was going to be a big moment,” Anderson said. “That’s part of the reason why we all love playing here. We knew the fans were going to give him a great reception, and he deserved every second of it. It’s tough to kind of focus back in.”

5. Collin McHugh allowed an inherited runner to score – a run charged to Anderson – but shut out the Dodgers over three innings in his longest outing of the season. (His previous high was 2 1/3 innings on April 10).

McHugh, Dylan Lee and Darren O’Day held the Dodgers scoreless from the fifth inning through the end of the game. They kept Atlanta within striking distance.

Dodgers 4, Braves 1

Stat to know

4 in 21 - Urias has only allowed four earned runs in 21 innings versus the Braves in his career.

Quotable

“Obviously I’ve been thinking about this weekend for a long time, just because I wanted to get my ring. It’s been a lot. It’s been a long three months. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I’m just glad the first night is over and we have two more.” - Freeman on his return

Up next

Braves ace Max Fried takes the hill to face Dodgers left-hander Andrew Heaney for Saturday’s game, which begins at 7:15 p.m. and will be televised on FOX.