Freddie Freeman making himself at home in new digs

Pop quiz: Who is the National League's top home run hitter?

Bryce Harper? Yoenis Cespedes? Nolan Arenado? Clearly it is Milwaukee's Eric Thames. (I kid, I kid. For now.) But what about Atlanta's Freddie Freeman?

Consider this: According to ESPN Stats & Information research, going back to June 15 of last season, Freeman's 29 homers are the most of anyone in the senior circuit. With a two-homer outburst in Monday's thrill-a-minute, 5-4 walk-off win over San Diego, Freeman has now homered five times in 12 games, after needing 30 games to get there a season ago.

"I feel good," Freeman said. "I've felt good pretty much since spring training. Hopefully I can keep this going."

Then there is SunTrust Park, the venue that -- four games in -- still has that new ballpark smell, and where the Braves seem intent to never lose. After completing a park-opening four-game sweep of the Padres, Atlanta has climbed back to .500 for the first time since, well, it was 1-1 this season. But before that, it was July 7, 2015. Atlanta lost its first nine games a season ago, but it is creating a whole new vibe in its new digs.

"It's neat," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We've had some great ballgames and good weather, in a venue like this. And guys feed off that, too. They're coming out in droves and these guys enjoy that and appreciate playing in front of that."

And these very friendly confines promise to be particularly friendly for Freeman. He added a pair of doubles to his pair of homers during his 4-for-4 performance, giving him a career-best 12 total bases. It's the first time a Braves player has done that since Adam LaRoche on Sept. 15, 2009.

"He's going to like this park," Snitker said. "He's just been swinging the bat so good since day one. He's an elite hitter."

Freeman's first homer settled into the right-field seats, a section that is likely to get very well acquainted with Freeman home run balls. Based on a small sample size, it appears the ball will carry very well at STP, and the porch in right is tantalizingly close. They may have to name that section after him. Freddie Fence?

"It's a great place to play," Freeman said. "On a Monday night, fans came out and supported us, and we played good the whole game."

Another tricky aspect of that right-field portion is the brick facing that tops the wall. Freeman crushed his second double off the brick and it caromed wildly past scrambling San Diego right fielder Hunter Renfroe. Had the Padres not been in the shift, putting second baseman Yangervis Solarte in position to back up Renfroe, Freeman would have had a triple in his sights. And it's easy to envision some craziness on balls like that.

"I was thinking three until I saw Solarte get out there," Freeman said. "They played that one pretty well. But the ball really ricochets around over there."

Nineteen of Freeman's career-best 34 homers last season came on the road. Given the more friendly environs at STP and his quick start, that number could be in jeopardy. And it's not just the short porch, either, it's the carry that well-struck fly balls seem to have in all directions at the park. Freeman, who is a spray home run hitter if such a thing can be said to exist, hit his second homer to opposite field in left. And with his big night, Freeman's 1.347 OPS now ranks second in the majors to the aforementioned Mr. Thames.

"It's almost like I'm getting used to it," Snitker said. "He's such a good hitter, and his swing is just so short. Everything is just so simple. But it's not simple. Hitting is pretty hard."

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the Braves became the first team to open a new stadium with a four-game sweep since the 1972 Texas Rangers. If Freeman's dominance put them in position to do that, it was rookie Dansby Swanson who put Atlanta over the top. Freeman's second dinger tied the game 4-4 in the eighth. Swanson's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth was the game winner.

It was a much-needed boost for the touted rookie, who entered the game hitting .146, though he had more than a bit of tough luck on well-struck balls and played good defense through it all. Swanson grew up in the Atlanta area and, as a high schooler, admired Freeman's work from not so far away.

"He's amazing," Swanson said. "He's one of the best baseball players I've ever played with, for sure. The fact that he does it so consistently -- and you just watch him prepare and how precise he is with everything he does -- you can learn so much just from watching him. It's a joy playing with him."

Everything is fresh and new in Atlanta, and while the preseason forecasts suggest these kinds of high points might be few and far between, the Braves have rejuvenated their early season with this surge.

For Freeman, who doesn't like patting himself on the back all that much, the best thing about the night was that it got the Braves back to break-even. It's not time to calculate magic numbers just yet, but with division rival Washington arriving Tuesday, it's a start.

"It's a huge win for us right there," Freeman said. "Especially with a big series starting tomorrow. We don't give up. We had a big hit from Dansby and that was huge. We don't want anybody up there in that situation but him."

Swanson probably would have said the same thing about Freeman.