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Max Fried stellar as Braves defeat Dodgers, 4-2

Fried outperformed Trevor Bauer in their head-to-head matchup.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Max Fried outdueled Trevor Bauer as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Sunday afternoon at Truist Park.

The Braves struck first against Bauer as Dansby Swanson led off the second inning with a single and then came around to score on a double by Abraham Almonte.

Atlanta continued to keep the pressure on in the third as Freddie Freeman worked a two-out walk and then scored from first on a double by Ozzie Albies to push the lead to 2-0.

Fried retired 10 straight to begin the game before Justin Turner doubled to left with one out in the fourth. Fried worked the count to 2-2 against Chris Taylor and struck him out on what appeared to be a generous strike call. That would bring Albert Pujols to the plate who got jammed on a fastball in but was able to muscle it into right field for a single. Turner scored on the play to cut the lead to 2-1.

The Braves continued to make Bauer work but couldn’t blow the game open in the fourth despite loading the bases. With runners at the corners, Ender Inciarte chased ball four for the second out. Bauer then walked Fried but got Ronald Acuña Jr. to foul out to the catcher to end the threat.

Fried pitched into and out of trouble in the sixth as Mookie Betts and Turner both singled with one out. The runners moved up on a slow ground out by Chris Taylor to Ehire Adrianza at third. Fried then got Pujols to fly out on a nice running catch by Almonte in foul territory down the line in left for the final out.

Atlanta again threatened to blow the game open in the bottom half of the frame. Bauer walked Almonte to begin the inning. Adrianza followed with a single to center. The Braves tried their best to let Bauer off the hook as William Contreras popped up a bunt attempt for the first out. Inciarte bailed them out though with a single to center that scored Almonte to push the lead to 3-1.

After a Fried sacrifice, Bauer struck out Acuña with runners at second and third to end the inning. It wasn’t the knockout punch they were looking for, but the Braves were able to grab an insurance run.

Fried came back out to start the seventh but was greeted by back-to-back singles from Pollack and Bellinger. That was the end of the line for Fried as Brian Snitker would summon A.J. Minter from the bullpen.

Atlanta’s bullpen pitched well on Saturday and that success continued in the seventh. Minter got Will Smith to pop out to Freeman in short right for the first out. Gavin Lux then flew out to Almonte before pinch-hitter Max Muncy flew out to right for the final out of the inning.

Fried was excellent in the game and bounced back in a big way after a rough outing in his last start. He allowed just six hits and one run over six innings. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter. Bauer had to work a bit harder, but the Braves were never able to really deliver the knockout punch. He was tagged for six hits and three runs over six innings. Bauer struck out seven and walked four.

After Chris Martin worked a perfect eighth, Atlanta went back to work against David Price in the bottom half of the inning. Guillermo Heredia singled to get things started before back-to-back walks to Adrianza and Contreras loaded the bases. Inciarte then lifted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Heredia to extend the lead to 4-1. Former Braves reliever Nate Jones replaced Price and retired pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and Acuña to escape with no further damage.

Will Smith took over for Martin in the ninth and was greeted by Pujols who leveled off on a 2-0 fastball and drove it out to left for a solo home run. Smith then struck out Pollock and got Bellinger and Will Smith to fly out to end the game.

So after an ugly loss on Friday, the Braves come back and defeat Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer on back-to-back days just like we all figured they would. Atlanta improves to 28-29 on the season. They will enjoy an off day on Monday before opening a three-game series in Phillies on Tuesday.

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