Max Fried pitched six strong innings to help lead the Braves to a series opening win over the White Sox. Tyler Flowers chipped in with a 3 run homer and his usual passed ball as Atlanta posted a 10-7 win.
The scoring started in the second when Josh Donaldson walked, advanced to second on a bunt single by Matt Joyce and scored when Dansby Swanson singled. Flowers followed that up with his 10th homer of the season for a 4-0 lead. Back to back doubles in the bottom of the 4th by Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman made it 5-0 for a working margin for Max.
And work it he did, striking out 11 through six innings. He gave up his first hit in the 5th, when Eloy Jimenez reached on a swinging bunt down the line. A walk advanced him to second and he scored on an Adam Engel single.
The Braves added on a run in the 6th after TFlo led off with a double, and went to third on a Fried ‘grounder.’ After Ronald Acuna Jr continued his recent ice cold slump by grounding to first, Ozzie picked him up with a two out infield single to score Flowers for a 6-1 lead.
That run proved to be important, as Fried came out for the 7th and gave a perfect demonstration of an Episode. A lead off single to Jimenez was followed by James McCann getting hit by a pitch. Fried was not helped out by his defense as Yolmer Sanchez grounded to Freeman who booted the ball as Jimenez scored. Snit came out and Luke Jackson was summoned to relieve Max. Flowers’ passed ball advanced the runners, but turned out to be of no importance as Wellington Castillo pinch hit and delivered a three run homer to cut the lead to 6-5. jackson settled down and struck out the next two hitters to end the inning.
The Braves did what they’ve done most of the year, adding on runs in the late innings. Donaldson and Joyce led off with walks, and two outs later Flowers walked as well to load the bases. Adeiny Hechavarria came through with the big two out pinch hit to drive in two for a 8-5 lead.
Shane Greene took care of the 8th, needing just 8 pitches to work through the heart of the Sox order. Atlanta added on two more in the bottom of the frame. Ozzie doubled to lead off (his 4th hit of the night), and FabFive Freddie singled him home, advancing to third when Leury Garcia, the leftfielder, overran the ball which rolled all the way to the wall. Donaldson worked his 4th walk of the game to put runners on the corner which set up perhaps the weirdest scoring play of the year.
Charlie Culberson pinch hit for Greene, as the pitcher’s spot had been double switched in the top of the frame. A shallow fly to right was not deep enough to score Freeman, but when Donaldson broke for second the right fielder threw behind him and he was caught in a run down. Jose Abreu chased JD to second and tagged him out. As he fell Freeman broke for the plate. Abreu threw toward home as he was falling, and the ball was cut off and the relay was late as Freddie slid in. 10-5 and things looked smooth, right?
Wrong. Anthony Swarzak came in and promptly messed the bed. He got James ‘The Lesser’ McCann to line out to Ozzie. But a walk was followed by the Braves allowing him to take second. One out later the Sox got back to back singles from Ryan Goins (with the corresponding defensive indifference) and Leury Garcia to score both the runners. Snit appeared to be a bit steamed as he summoned Mark Melancon to finish up, which he did, striking out Tim Anderson to end the game.
Atlanta looks to win the series tonight, sending Dallas Keuchel to the mound.
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