Sports The Sports Report: Freddie Freeman helps Dodgers beat his...

The Sports Report: Freddie Freeman helps Dodgers beat his old team

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Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Jack Harris: Before first pitch Monday night, Dodgers fans gave their former closer a standing ovation.

By the bottom of the first inning, their new first baseman had them in a raucous uproar.

On a night the Dodgers and Atlanta Braves renewed their budding rivalry, it was each team’s newest star member — and the other’s former franchise favorite — who commanded the brightest spotlight.

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Kenley Jansen returned to Chavez Ravine for the first time since signing with the Braves this offseason, receiving a warm reception during a pregame ceremony.

Freddie Freeman faced the Braves for the first time since coming to the Dodgers in the spring, hitting a home run in his first-ever at-bat against his old club in the Dodgers eventual 7-4 win.

“The adrenaline is definitely up today,” Jansen said pregame.

“Emotions are all over the place,” echoed Freeman.

Those sentiments had been building throughout the afternoon.

When Jansen showed up to the ballpark, he had to ask a Braves staffer how to get to the away clubhouse. After 350 saves, three All-Star selections and a World Series championship with the Dodgers, it was his first time being a visitor at Chavez Ravine.

“[It’s] weird, man’” said Jansen, who signed a one-year, $16 million contract as a free agent with the Braves this offseason. “The only thing I knew was being a Dodger.”

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Freddie Freeman expresses himself with hugs and a homer in first game vs. Braves

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UCLA BASKETBALL

From Ben Bolch: With three words, another season could be played.

With three words, a new ending could be written.

With three words, a fan base could rejoice.

“I’m coming back,” Jaime Jaquez Jr. said, uttering the three words that could also change the trajectory of a program.

The UCLA junior guard made his announcement near the end of a video heralding his return for one more college season Monday, taking his jersey out of his locker and slipping it over his shoulders.

With his decision, Jaquez prioritized the letters on the front of that jersey over those on the back, reaffirming his devotion to his school.

“When I committed here,” Jaquez said in the nearly 2½-minute video released on Twitter and Instagram, “I wanted to get this program back on the national stage, back where it belongs among the nation’s elite. I’m proud of what we accomplished the last three years, but there’s some unfinished business. I came to UCLA to win a national championship; shouldn’t that be the goal? I want to hang banner No. 12 in Pauley Pavilion.”

USC BASKETBALL

Two adults and two juveniles were injured when shots were fired after an argument at a house party, North Las Vegas police Sgt. Vince Booker said Monday.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal, citing unnamed sources, identified the most seriously injured person as Aaliyah Gayles, an 18-year-old basketball star at Spring Valley High in Las Vegas who was a McDonald’s All-American.

Gayles is originally from the Los Angeles area. She recommitted to USC after originally decommitting because of changes on the Trojans’ coaching staff.

“Aaliyah is one of the strongest, most resilient young people I have ever known,” USC coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “I have no doubt she will continue to face this unfathomable situation with courage and resolve. We will continue to support her and her parents in every way that we possibly can.”

ANGELS

Yordan Alvarez homered twice with four RBIs in his return after missing five games because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols to lead the Houston Astros to an 8-3 win over the Angels in their home opener Monday night.

But the Astros lost Jose Altuve in the eighth inning with a strained left hamstring in the eighth inning. He fell to the ground after legging out an infield single.

Max Stassi hit a solo homer for the Angels, who were without star Mike Trout. He sat with a bruised left hand after being hit by a pitch Sunday.

Angels team trainer Mike Frostad said an MRI on Monday was negative for a fracture and that Trout has a bruise. Frostad added Trout’s return to the lineup will depend on pain tolerance.

CHARGERS

From Jeff Miller: He changed teams and conferences but not languages, Troy Reeder’s new job still allowing him to speak Staley.

Familiarity has been a theme of this offseason rebuild for head coach Brandon Staley and his Chargers defense, the addition of Reeder just the latest move.

The linebacker reunited with his former defensive coordinator with the Rams by signing as a free agent last week, Reeder joining the Chargers already comfortable with the verbiage, concepts and techniques of Staley’s system.

He arrived after the Chargers added two other former Staley defenders: edge rusher Khalil Mack in a trade with Chicago and tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day via free agency from the Rams.

“You’re kind of looking for some familiarity,” Reeder said Monday of shopping for a new team. “There’s always a comfort aspect to it.”

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1897 – John J. McDermott wins the first Boston Marathon in 2 hours, 55 minutes, 10 seconds.

1930 – Clarence DeMar wins the Boston Marathon for a record seventh time, in 2:34:48.2.

1947 – The Toronto Maple Leafs post a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to take the NHL Stanley Cup in six games.

1948 – Gerard Cote of Canada wins his fourth Boston Marathon with a time of 2:31:02.

1950 – Nineteen-year-old Ham Kee Yong becomes the youngest to win the Boston Marathon with a 2:32:39 clocking.

1965 – The Boston Celtics have five players score 20 or more points in a 129-123 victory over the Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. It’s the first time in Finals history there are five 20-point scorers on one team. John Havlicek leads Boston with 24 points, Tom Sanders and Bill Russell each score 23, Tommy Heinsohn adds 22 and Sam Jones finished with 20. Jerry West leads the Lakers with 45.

1986 – Michael Spinks wins a split decision against Larry Holmes to retain the world heavyweight title in Las Vegas.

1991 – Evander Holyfield retains the heavyweight title with a unanimous 12-round decision over 42-year-old challenger George Foreman in Atlantic City, NJ

1992 – Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls wins his sixth straight NBA scoring title with a 30.1 average.

1998 – San Antonio beats Denver 96-82 to set an NBA record for the largest single-season turnaround. The Spurs improve by 36 games from 20 wins in 1997.

1998 – Chicago’s Michael Jordan scores 44 points to lead the Bulls over the Knicks, 111-109, in the final game of the regular season, securing his record 10th NBA scoring title with a 28.7-point average.

2009 – Rafael Nadal becomes the first player to win five straight Monte Carlo Masters titles by beating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-1. The top-ranked Spaniard, however, loses a set at the clay court tournament for the first time since the 2006 final against Roger Federer.

2010 – Kenya’s Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot wins the Boston Marathon, breaking the course record with a time of 2:05:52. Ethiopia’s Teyba Erkesso wins the women’s race in a time of 2:26:11, outsprinting Russia’s Tatyana Pushkareva to win by three seconds.

2017 — James Harden scores 35 points and the Houston Rockets overcome 51 points from Oklahoma’s Russell Westbrook in the highest-scoring triple-double in playoff history. The Rockets win 115-111 to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series. Westbrook sets a franchise playoff scoring record and adds 13 assists and 10 rebounds. It’s the sixth career playoff triple-double for Westbrook, who had an NBA-record 42 in the regular season. But he shoots just 4 for 18 in the fourth quarter as the Rockets clawed back from a double-digit deficit to surge ahead before holding on.

And finally

Freddie Freeman homers in his first at-bat against Atlanta. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.



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