Bryse Wilson pitched five scoreless innings, Marcell Ozuna drove in five runs with four hits that included two homers and the Atlanta Braves clinched their third straight National League East title by beating the Miami Marlins 11-1 on Tuesday night.
"I think when it's all said and done, this is the most satisfying with all we had to go through this season to get to this point," said Freeman, who missed the start of the delayed season with a high fever and other symptoms after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Freeman rebounded to become an MVP candidate. He pushed his batting average to .347.
After Jorge Alfaro's game-ending lineout to Freeman, Braves players hugged on the field and exchanged high-fives in the dugout. Players wore "Respect Atlanta'' T-shirts and posed for photos on the field with the 2020 banner.
From the visitors dugout, Marlins manager Don Mattingly watched the low-key celebration with respect.
"They've been probably the class of the division over the last few years," Mattingly said. "They're the gold standard. They're the guys you have to go after."
Wilson (1-0) allowed three hits and one walk, striking out a career-high seven. It was an unexpected showing by the 22-year-old right-hander, who had a 7.04 ERA in four relief outings and had been at the team's alternate training site until Monday. He had not started since July 16 last year at Milwaukee.
Atlanta clinched its record 20th division title, one more than the New York Yankees. The Braves won 14 straight in completed seasons from 1991 to 2005 but have not won a postseason series since 2001 and have not won a championship since 1995.
"Everyone has got the taste the last couple of years and we've had a lot of heartbreak, especially last year," Freeman said. "We've been grinding this year and we're going to grind again."
Miami remained in position to earn its first playoff berth since winning the 2003 World Series.
Ozuna hit a first-inning homer off Jose Urena (0-3), who allowed four runs in six innings. Ozzie Albies homered in the second, and Ozuna added a two-run double in the fifth and drove in Freeman with a 450-foot homer to center field in the eighth.
"If you ask me, it's World Series or nothing," Ronald Acuna Jr. said through a translator, in reference to Atlanta's losses in 10 straight postseason appearances.
Manager Brian Snitker said the Braves were prepared for a low-key celebration because of social distancing rules amid the pandemic. He said Major League Baseball "pretty much restricted all that" because of space constraints in the clubhouse.
"I think we go in and air-high-five to everybody," Snitker said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.