The Braves started a three game home series against the Cubs on Tuesday night, needing to rack up some wins.
Max Fried took the mound for Atlanta, with Marcus Stroman on the mound for Chicago and both pitched a perfect first. Willson Contreras squeezed a softly hit ball down the first base line for a double in the second, but Fried battled back and escaped the inning with no runs. On to the bottom of the second and it was Atlanta’s turn to threaten, as Ozuna and d’Arnaud started the inning with back to back singles (that were hit very hard). Two hard hit sac flies from Alex Dickerson and Adam Duvall scored Ozuna before Travis Demeritte grounded out to end the inning. Ian Happ tied the game as he led off the third with a homer. Nico Hoerner singled after the homer, but Max got a strikeout and a double play to end the inning.
Following a Dansby flyout, Ozzie, Olson, and Austin all hit balls at 99 MPH or harder, but only one resulted in a single and the Braves settled for a scoreless third. The fourth inning flew by as both pitchers cruised until Travis Demeritte (who also made an incredible play in the outfield) scalded an opposite field homer to give Atlanta the lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Dansby served a ball just between two infielders for a single and Ozzie laced a single of his own into center as Dansby tried to steal second, but the center fielder missed the ball on the bounce and Dansby just kept running all the way to home, as Ozzie ended up on third. Matt Olson struck out and Austin Riley barreled a ball to dead center with a .940 xBA for an out to end the inning with an Atlanta lead of 3-1. Fried continued to dominate in the top of the sixth and in the bottom of the frame, the most exciting moment was Travis d’Arnaud (stop me if this sounds familiar) barreling a ball to deep center for an out. Alex Dickerson also obliterated a ball right to Seiya Suzuki in right field.
Will Smith came in for Fried, who again was dominant tonight, in the seventh. Smith got three straight groundouts for a clean inning. After the bottom of the Braves order struck out in order in the seventh, Tyler Matzek came in from the eighth. he induced a flyout for the first out and then hit Michael Hermosillo (who Max Fried hit earlier in the game). He then allowed a well hit ball to the gap from Seiya Suzuki that Adam Duvall got a fantastic jump on to catch and got the ball in quick to Dansby who threw the ball to Olson to make it a double play on Hermosillo, who had been on his way to third base thinking that the ball was going to drop.
The top three of the Braves’ order put the ball in play for outs in the bottom of the eighth and it was then time for Kenley Jansen to come in to close the game out with a 3-1 lead. Jansen struck out two in a clean ninth.
All things considered, this was a good win and a relatively calm one for Atlanta. Join us tomorrow at the same time for game 2.