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Fried’s 8 strikeouts, Olson’s 3 hits lead Braves to 7-3 win over Giants

Austin Riley and Orlando Arcia also contributed solo homers as the Braves reached 40 games over .500 on Saturday.

Atlanta Braves v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

While it may have felt a little precarious until a three-run rally in the eighth, the Braves ultimately handed the Giants a 7-3 loss at Oracle Park on Saturday, starting off their last west coast stint with a series win. Perhaps more notably, with the win, the now 84-44 Braves move to 40 games over .500 for the first time this year, while the Giants fall one game closer to .500 at 66-63.

San Francisco starter Ryan Walker got off to a good start against the Atlanta offense in the first inning, striking out Ronald Acuña Jr. and Michael Harris II for the game’s first two outs, but his momentum was short-lived, as he got a little wild and walked Austin Riley before giving up a first-pitch double off the right field wall to Matt Olson.

Riley scored on the laser with an assist from the bricks, and a Marcell Ozuna groundout ended the frame with the Braves leading 1-0.

Max Fried made short work of the Giants in his half of the first, retiring the side in order with a pair of groundouts bookending a punchout in just 10 pitches.

Walker and Sean Manaea, who entered the game with two outs, combined to work around a leadoff walk and stolen base for Eddie Rosario in the second inning.

Fried kept the Giants off the board in the second despite giving up a somewhat bloop leadoff double down the left field line to JD Davis and walking Heliot Ramos to put two on with two outs.

The Braves broke through against Manaea in the third, with an Acuña Jr. leadoff single, Riley walk, Acuña Jr. stolen base—his 59th of the year—and Olson single yielding a run.

Atlanta continued to threaten, as Rosario walked with two outs to load the bases, but Sean Murphy struck out to conclude the frame.

The stranded runners came back to haunt the Braves a bit in the third, as the Giants tied the game on a two-out, two-run homer to straightaway centerfield off the bat of Wilmer Flores after Fried walked Slater with one out.

Manaea retired the Braves in quick succession in the top half of the fourth, and Fried was poised to do the same in the bottom before giving up a two-out single to Casey Schmitt and double to Luis Matos, but he struck out Slater to keep the score at 2-2.

It didn’t stay 2-2 for long, though, as Riley sent the first pitch he saw in the fifth 402 feet for a solo shot—his 30th homer of the year—to put the Braves back in the lead.

Fried responded with a 1-2-3 inning that included a pair of strikeouts.

Gabe Kapler let Manaea retire Rosario in the top of the sixth before turning to the bullpen for the second time and bringing in old friend Luke Jackson, and Jackson very nicely gave up a solo homer, this one to Orlando Arcia, to bring the score to 4-2.

Fried pitched around another baserunner in the sixth, and it proved to be his last inning, bringing his final line to: 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 8 K on 98 pitches, 58 of which were strikes.

The Giants followed a similar rhythm with pitching in the seventh, as Acuña Jr. flied out to centerfield against Jackson for the inning’s first out, and Kapler then brought in Taylor Rogers. Harris II welcomed him to the game with a standup double, but Rogers got the better of him when he caught him stealing a few pitches later, and he struck out Riley to end the frame.

Kirby Yates relieved Fried in the seventh, and he fared much better than he did in his last outing against the Giants in a game that Fried started, sitting down two pinch hitters in Wade Meckler and Joc Pederson as well as Thairo Estrada thanks to a great play by Riley.

Olson led off the eighth with a single, his third hit of the day, and for the third straight inning, Kapler went to the bullpen after the first hitter, this time bringing in Jakob Junis. The strategy did not prove effective, as the Braves went on one of their patented “blink and they’ve scored” rallies against Junis. Ozuna singled, Rosario singled two pitches later and scored Olson, and Murphy was hit by the first pitch he saw to load the bases—still without an out in the frame. Arcia and Nicky Lopez then hit back-to-back sacrifice flies that scored Ozuna and, though it was close, Rosario to put the Braves up 7-2. Acuña Jr. lined out to end the inning, but the damage was done.

Pierce Johnson entered in the eighth for the Braves and tossed a clean frame, and Junis settled in to do the same for the Giants in the top of the ninth. San Francisco did plate an additional run in the ninth on AJ Minter, who allowed a one-out single to Ramos, let him advance to second on a wild pitch, and watched him score on an RBI single from Meckler.

The Braves will look for the series sweep on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 7PM on ESPN, and as of the time of this recap, neither team has announced their starting pitcher.

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