Juan Soto had already seen the devastating curveball.— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) September 6, 2019
Max Fried just introduced him to the high heater. pic.twitter.com/RoYw503WrS
The Braves were facing one of the best pitchers in baseball, and needed Max Fried to deliver an ace-like performance himself. Fried responded with the best performance of his career, as he and the Braves were in complete control from the beginning in a 4-2 victory over Washington.
The Braves wasted no time getting the scoring started. Ronald Acuna Jr. singled and stole his 34th base of the year. Ozzie Albies followed that up with an RBI double, and then Freddie Freeman rounded out the successful start with an RBI single. At the end of one inning, Atlanta was up 2-0.
Following the two run first, both Strasburg and Fried settled in and cruised. Fried got some help from the stellar defense of Josh Donaldson, an underrated but consistent part of Donaldson’s season. Neither pitcher seemed close to getting into trouble.
That stayed true until the top of the 5th when Ronald Acuna Jr. connected with his 37th home run of the year. Another step closer to 40-40, Acuna Jr. came alive at just the right time. He was the source of offense the Braves needed to succeed in a playoff type atmosphere.
The game would continue along as smoothly as possible with Fried, who dominated the Nationals through seven innings. He finished with nine strikeouts and only gave up one hit. It was the best performance of his career, and an amazing performance in one of the biggest games of the year for Atlanta.
The Braves would add on a run in the eighth to make the score 4-0. In the ninth, Mark Melancon would allow things to get interesting. Victor Robles would hit a two run home run to make the score 4-2. Despite a Juan Soto single, Melancon would secure the victory.
An amazing performance by Fried and the resurgence of Acuna Jr. have made it an eight game lead for Atlanta. The tone has been set, and the end is in sight. The Braves are in a prime position to make things a lot more certain by Sunday.