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Braves get back on track with 10-3 win over the Nationals

Max Fried made his return while Ozzie Albies finished with four hits in a win over the Nationals.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Max Fried returned and the Atlanta Braves got back on track Thursday night with a 10-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

Despite a long layoff, it didn’t take Fried long to settle in. Fried retired the first six hitters he faced, including a pair of strikeouts. The Braves jumped out in front against Washington starter Jake Irvin in the third. Ronald Acuña Jr. tied a career-high with his fourth triple of the season to start the inning. Ozzie Albies followed with a double down the right field line to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead. For Albies, it was his 100th RBI of the season.

Austin Riley followed with a single back through the middle and Albies raced home to push the lead to 2-0.

The Braves continued to cook as Matt Olson singled to put runners at the corners before Marcell Ozuna hit into a force play. Riley scored to make it 3-0. The play originally called a double play, but Atlanta challenged the call at second base and it was overturned. That would be big as Michael Harris followed with a double to left to bring home another run to extend the lead to 4-0. They weren’t finished there though as Travis d’Arnaud singled to center to score Harris to make it 5-0.

Irvin got Rosario to ground out for the second out, but then walked Orlando Arcia. With his pitch count up to 80, that would end his night and Dave Martinez went to his bullpen for Andres Machado who got Acuña to ground out to finally end the inning.

Fried had to sit through the long third inning and retired the first hitter he faced in the third before giving up a solo home run to Alex Call. Fried came right back and struck out Jacob Young and then got CJ Abrams to ground out to avoid any further damage.

Fried added another strikeout in a perfect fourth and the Braves tacked on another run in the fifth. Harris singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on a walk by d’Arnaud. Rosario struck out, but Arcia singled to left to make it 6-1.

After a pitching change, Acuña reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second for his 68th steal of the season. However, Albies went down swinging to leave the runners stranded.

Fried found himself in a bit of trouble in the fifth. Luis Garcia singled with one out. Fried then struck out Drew Millas for the second out, but then allowed a single to Call and a walk to Young to load the bases. However, he got Abrams to ground a 3-2 pitch to Olson at first to end the threat.

Fried came back out for the sixth and settled back in adding two more strikeouts while retiring the side in order. The Braves tacked on another run in the seventh as Albies singled to left for his third hit of the game.

That would be it for Fried who gave way to Joe Jimenez to start the seventh. It was a great showing from him after getting eight days of rest due to a blister on his index finger. His curveball working Thursday night as he allowed just three hits, a walk and one run over six innings. He struck out seven while throwing 96 pitches.

Jimenez worked a scoreless seventh and Matt Olson made it 8-1 with his 53rd home run of the season. Olson now has 132 RBIs which is tied with Gary Sheffield for the most in a single season since the franchise moved to Atlanta.

Kirby Yates replaced Jimenez and worked a scoreless eighth. The Braves added their final two runs when Albies homered for his fourth hit of the game in the ninth.

Jackson Stephens allowed a pair of runs in the ninth, but closed things out to seal the win.

The Braves improve to 98-55 and reduce their magic number to six to clinch home field advantage in the National League. They will continue the series Friday with Charlie Morton matching up against Patrick Corbin.

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