ARLINGTON, Texas – Atlanta Braves fans were still doing tomahawk-chop chants as they filed out of the stadium, real people who replaced the cardboard cutouts players got so accustomed to this season.
One game, but a big boost for the Braves in their first National League Championship Series since 2001.
Austin Riley led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking homer that sparked a four-run rally Monday night for a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first major league game this season with fans allowed to attend.
“It was awesome — fun to play in front of fans again,” Braves slugger Freddie Freeman said. “11,000 people, really felt like 50,000 to us because we haven't had any all year.”
Riley greeted reliever Blake Treinen with a 448-foot drive to left-center, giving Atlanta a 2-1 lead and generating a familiar noise in the ballpark that only got louder.
“I didn’t feel my legs when I was running around the bases, so it was a good feeling,” said the 23-year-old Riley, left off the postseason roster last year.
And the Braves weren’t done.
Ronald Acuña Jr. followed with a double and scored on a single by Marcell Ozuna that chased Treinen. Ozzie Albies added a two-run homer off Jake McGee.