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Braves swept at home for the first time since May 2021 as bullpen falters again

Braves give away yet another lead and suffer their first sweep of the season

Cincinnati Reds v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Looking to avoid their first home sweep since May 2021, the Braves sent Max Fried to the mound in his second start since coming off the injured list. The Astros sent out talented right hander Cristian Javier, and early on it was a pitching duel, with Fried and Javier cruising.

Through the first four innings neither team provided much of a threat offensively, with baserunners being hard to come by. The Braves provided a bit of a threat in the first inning with Ronald Acuna Jr getting a leadoff walk, a stolen base and tagging up to get to third base with two outs. That would be as far as he would get with Ozzie Albies flying out to end the inning.

The Astros best chance would come in the second inning after two well placed singles from Jose Abreu and Kyle Tucker. However, Fried would work around the early trouble, getting a double play and a strikeout to get out of the inning unscathed.

Houston looked to take advantage of a leadoff walk by Jake Meyers, but Max Fried took care of that in creative fashion. Fried ran down the pitch clock, which led to him being able to pick off an overly zealous Meyers.

While Fried was dealing, the Braves lineup were unable to solve the puzzle that was Cristian Javier. At one point Javier struck out seven Braves in a row. With two outs in the fifth inning, it looked like Javier was in complete cruise control, but Kevin Pillar changed things in one swing, sending a fastball into the left field bullpen giving him his first Braves home run.

After getting his first bit of run support, Fried responded by having a shutdown inning to keep the game 1-0. This included a nice play where Fried threw out Jake Meyers at third base following a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Martin Maldonado.

The Braves would add to their lead in the sixth with Acuna and Olson starting things off with a double and walk respectively. Austin Riley hit a ball on the ground that looked to be a double play, but Olson broke it up with a hard, clean slide that led to Mauricio Dubon airmailing the throw making the game 2-0.

Fried gave up a leadoff walk to open up the seventh, but then got two straight strikeouts of Yordan Alvarez and Jose Abreu. However, after walking Kyle Tucker his day was done with Nick Anderson replacing him.

Anderson got Pena to strikeout looking, painting the corner with a fastball. That would be the last of the good times for the Braves though, with the Astros once again taking the game in the late innings.

Anderson got himself in trouble in the eight with two hits and a four pitch walk to Alex Bregman, who it looked like he wanted nothing to do with. AJ Minter would replace him with the bases loaded and Yordan Alvarez at the plate. Like the other two games of the series, Alvarez delivered, this time with a base hit to right field to tie the game.

After the Braves went down in order in the bottom half of the inning, the game was tied headed into the ninth. After a hit and a walk sandwiched between two strikeouts, Corey Julks came to the plate with the game on the line. Minter, who had been throwing a lot of changeups, threw one too many and Julks sent it up the middle to give the Astros the lead.

Danny Young came in to replace Minter, being tasked to limit the damage, but he failed to so, hitting Mauricio Dubon and giving up a single to Alex Bregman which brought home two runs.

The Bregman single felt like the dagger in a series where the Astros bullpen was almost perfect and the Braves bullpen were far from it.

Bryan Abreu’s control problems made the bottom of the ninth interesting, with the right hander letting on the first two baserunners. However, an Eddie Rosario double play took the life out of the rally and a Sam Hilliard strikeout ended the game with the Astros winning 5-2.

The Braves will look to bounce back from their four game losing streak and first home sweep in nearly two years with a four game series against the Miami Marlins.

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