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Max Fried’s dominance, Ronald Acuna’s power, and spectacular defense a winning formula for Atlanta

This was an extremely fun game and the Braves won!

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

This game on paper looked like a fantastic pitchers duel between Max Fried for Atlanta and Corbin Burnes for Milwaukee. The game started out just like you would expect in terms of results, although with a few more low-level surprises. Each pitcher worked a scoreless first four innings, so that fit the expected results. Max Fried was absolutely dominant, despite the fact that he walked a batter, which is only his second this season, but Travis d’Arnaud threw that runner out at second (!!!), which is also a rare occurrence. The Braves offense, to their credit, actually got some hard contact on Burnes early, with the hits coming in the form of a scalded single off the wall from Ronald Acuna, a double from Travis d’Arnaud, and a hard hit ground ball single from Ozzie Albies. The Braves offense also had some hard hit outs that had bad launch angles from Matt Olson, Adam Duvall, and Austin Riley (although his was a .580 xBA grounder), with a walk from Olson as well.

I almost changed the previous paragraph from four innings to five innings, because there weren’t any baserunners in the fifth...until Ronald Acuna Jr. CRUSHED a solo homer off of Burnes with two outs, homering in his second game in a row. Kolton Wong absolutely botched a routine grounder (which, to be fair, was hit extremely hard) to allow Matt Olson on base after Acuna’s homer, but Austin Riley grounded out on a 109.6 MPH grounder to end the inning there.

Dansby made a web gem defensive play for the first out of the sixth. Unfortunately, Fried gave up two very bleh hits with xBAs of .160 and .380 with two outs in the sixth, and looked to give the lead away on a brutal bloop to Christian Yelich, but Travis Demeritte went full superman on a diving catch to preserve the lead and give Max the scoreless inning he deserved.

In stark contrast to the defense in the top of the inning by the Braves, the Brewers handed Atlanta a run as Lorenzo Cain missed the ball with his glove and kicked the ball into the corner off of an Ozuna line drive single, putting Marcell on third to lead off the inning, and Rowdy Tellez misplayed a ball hit right to him by Ozzie Albies to hand Albies first base and allow Ozuna to score. Ozzie got thrown out trying to steal second for the first out of the inning before d’Arnaud and Duvall struck out.

Fried did give up a leadoff homer to Hunter Renfroe in the seventh, but he escaped the inning with that being the only baserunner. Corbin Burnes was pulled at the start of the seventh and Ronald Acuna walked with two outs and promptly stole second before Matt Olson grounded out (although he almost reached on an error from Tellez).

Minter relieved Fried in the seventh and worked around a single for a scoreless eighth. Fried’s final line was 7.0 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 1 BB, and 8 Ks. The Braves got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, courtesy of an Austin Riley walk, a scalded single from d’Arnaud, and a bloop single from Adam Duvall. Kenley Jansen came in to close the game out in the top of the ninth and allowed a leadoff double to Christian Yelich. Yelich came home on a ground ball single from Tyrone Taylor. Jansen struck out Tellez and d’Arnaud threw out Taylor at second (!!!) to end the game in exciting fashion.

This was an incredibly high quality overall game and a ton of fun to watch. Now let’s do it again tomorrow at 1:35 PM for the rubbermatch.

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