A great start from Max Fried, solid pitching from the back end of the bullpen, and just enough power from outfield sluggers Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall was the recipe that came together to give the Braves a streak-snapping 2-1 win over the division-leading Miami Marlins.
If there was one thing that the Braves badly needed at this point in the season, it was a nice long stint on the mound from a starting pitcher. After spending far too much time wandering around in a desert of short and usually ineffective starting pitching stints, the Braves finally got to reap the benefits of the oasis that is a Max Fried start. Atlanta desperately needed him to reach the latter stages of the game and he managed to do just that as he stymied the Marlins for 6.1 innings.
Results-wise, this was probably Fried’s best start of the year. He reached the seventh inning without giving up any runs, which is just as good as gold when it comes to the standard that we all currently expect from Braves starters at the moment. He made it to the seventh in some style as well — the only real trouble that Fried found himself in was in the third inning, which is when Jonathan Villar found himself at third base following a two-out double and a stolen base. He got himself out of the inning by striking out Jesus Aguilar to end the inning and keep Miami off of the scoreboard.
In fact, that strikeout was one of seven that Max Fried racked up over the course of 6.1 innings. The seventh and final strikeout came in the seventh inning, which is when Fried picked up his final out of the evening by striking out Logan Forsythe for the first out of the frame. At that point, Brian Snitker forced Fried to pass the baton to Shane Greene, who retired the next two batters in order to strand the two baserunners that the Marlins already had on the basepath. At that point, Atlanta had a 1-0 lead and there was plenty of reason to feel confident about the Braves holding onto that lead.
The seventh inning ended up being a flashpoint moment in the game from beginning to end. Daniel Castano had matched Fried pitch-for-pitch at that point, and he also went out there to start the seventh inning. Former Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna ended up being the only batter that Castano faced in the seventh inning, as Ozuna unleashed his power on a changeup and sent it into the area where the weird fish sculpture used to be in Marlins Park. The solo shot was the only run on the board after seven innings.
The Marlins may not have responded in the bottom of the seventh inning, but they eventually got themselves on the board in the bottom of the eighth frame. That was when Monte Harrison welcomed Will Smith to the game by bopping a no-doubter into the seats in right field for a game-tying solo homer. Monte Harrison had properly redeemed himself for getting picked off at first base by Max Fried earlier in the game by tying the game at one-run apiece.
As a matter of fact, the game was tied at one dinger apiece at that point. Fortunately for all of us, the Braves had just enough power to outlast the Marlins tonight. Brandon Kintzler came on for Miami in the top of the ninth inning and he faced Adam Duvall with one out. Kintzler tossed a slider to Duvall and he was able to pull the ball all the way to the left field foul pole to give the Braves a big-time go-ahead solo homer, making it 2-1 at the time.
2-1 was how the game ended. Mark Melancon didn’t have much of an issue getting through the batters that he needed to face in the bottom of the ninth. There was a moment where Lewin Diaz picked an inopportune time for the Braves to get his first career hit in the bigs, which led to the go-ahead run coming up to the plate in the form of old friend Matt Joyce. Joyce put a charge into a fly ball to dead center, but Ender Inciarte was able to get under it and comfortably record the final out of the winning effort for Atlanta.
As far as the Braves are concerned, this was a win that they desperately needed. A four-game losing streak is more than “just” a four-game losing streak during a 60-game season, so getting that streak over as quickly as possible was huge for Atlanta. While Max Fried can’t go out there and pitch everyday, tonight’s win should hopefully give the team enough confidence to go out there on Sunday and finish the road trip on a high note.