Freeman's hit streak at 29, ties longest in '16

Freeman's hit streak at 29, ties longest in '16

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman understands he is in the midst of a special stretch. But instead of allowing himself to focus on the potential records he is approaching, the Braves first baseman is attempting to maintain the same simple approach that has enabled him to spend the past few months producing MVP-caliber credentials.

Freeman delivered a leadoff single during the decisive two-run eighth inning in Tuesday night's 7-6 comeback win over the Phillies. He also matched MLB's season-best 29-game hitting streak when he ended Jerad Eickhoff's perfect bid with a fourth-inning solo homer that helped the Braves begin whittling away at an early six-run deficit.

"It's just nice to see a professional do his thing," Braves outfielder Mallex Smith said. "It's the same thing every day. He carries himself the same way. He doesn't get too high, and he doesn't get too low. He just takes care of his business."

Freeman has batted .382/.477/.673 with seven homers during this hitting streak, which matched Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 29-game streak earlier this season. The Braves slugger will have a chance to pass Bradley on Wednesday and could match Dan Uggla's Atlanta record 33-game streak on Saturday.  

There's no doubt Freeman understands how close he is to snapping this record held by his close friend. At the same time, he knows he now has 82 extra-base hits, which puts him five shy of an Atlanta record held by Chipper Jones, who also happens to be one of his best friends.  

But for now, he plans to allow his bat to do all of the talking.  

"I'm doing nothing different," Freeman said. "Things are just going through and I'm hitting pitches I was missing earlier in the season. There's really nothing to it. I'm just trying to get a pitch to hit and put a good swing on it."  

Truth be told, many might have a hard time remembering what transpired "earlier in the season," back when Freeman hit .242 with a .750 OPS through his first 61 games. He has made it easy to forget that stretch as he has batted .350 with a 1.130 OPS over the 92 games that have followed.  

Eickhoff had retired each of the 11 batters he faced before Freeman drilled a 2-0 slider over the right-field wall to account for his 33rd homer of the season and extend MLB's longest active on-base streak to 45 games. The only players in Atlanta history with a longer streak are Gary Sheffield (52 games in 2002) and Dale Murphy (48 games in 1987).

Freeman joined Rico Carty (31 games in 1970) and Rowland Office (29 in '76) as the only players in Atlanta history, other than Uggla, to record a hitting streak that spans at least 28 games.  

"He's amazing," Smith said. "He's a very professional hitter. He's the man. You just kind of stay out of the way and watch."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.