Fried, Harris led Braves over Mets to win 3 of 4 straight games
Published 11:41 p.m. Thursday 18 August 2022
By GEORGE HENRY
AP sports writer
ATLANTA — Max Fried likes where the Atlanta Braves are during this final hot period — and how they lined up against Jacob deGrom, the New York Mets.
“I think that’s a really good team over there,” Fried said. “They play baseball really consistently, night after night, and we as a club know we have to do our best every night if we have a chance of winning the league.”
Fried easily beat deGrom in a matchup of aces, and rookie Michael Harris II rebounded in the seventh inning with a go-ahead double that sent Atlanta 3-2 to New York on Thursday night.
Braves rookie Vaughn Grissom rushed all the way from first base to score on Harris’ grounder to flat midfield. In the ninth, Mets star Francisco Lindor was caught in no man’s land on the bases and kicked out.
The Braves won three of four in the series and moved away from the NL East-leading Mets within 3 1/2 games. Atlanta won nine out of ten.
New York had won 17 of 20 before being cooled in Atlanta.
Fried (11-4) lasted seven innings and gave up two runs and four hits with no walks and six strikeouts.
DeGrom (2-1) allowed five hits and three runs with no walks and nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.
Grissom hit an infield single with two outs in the seventh, finishing deGrom and getting Seth Lugo out of the bullpen. Harris followed up with a grounder down the middle that separated two New York infielders, and Grissom, running hard the entire time, hit the throw on the plate with a head-first slide.
“I thought this was going to be a close game,” Grissom said. “But it was just exciting to be in that position and for Mike to hit that ball and for me to score was a big moment in the game where we just needed one run.”
Avoiding big problems, Kenley Jansen made his 27th save from 31 chances.
Lindor singled to start the ninth and tried to steal when Pete Alonso hit a blooper into right midfield. Lindor had already slipped headfirst into second place when he saw the ball and, thinking he was about to be caught, hastily backed up to first place.
But the ball fell between three fielders and most of the way Lindor could only watch as right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. picked it up and threw it at second for an easy forceout.
Jansen beat Daniel Vogelbach and pinch runner Deven Marrero stole second place with Jeff McNeil. McNeil went to Jansen to finish it.
The Mets went all 2 in the fifth when Mark Canha hit his eighth homer, a two-run drive. Canha, who doubled twice in Wednesday’s 9-7 win, snagged Fried’s streak of 69 1/3 innings without allowing a homer, the longest stretch in the majors. Fried gave up his previous homer on June 9 against Pittsburgh.
Fried, who was left off the injury list after missing the last nine games with a concussion, allowed his first goal when Canha doubled to start the third. Canha moved up to third with rookie Brett Baty’s single with no out, but Fried escaped the jam with two strikeouts and a groundout.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ll be away longer than normal, but when you’re up against a guy like Jake deGrom, you bring everything you’ve got,” Fried said. “I felt pretty sharp.”
DeGrom, in his fourth start since injuries missed him nearly 13 months, yielded a two-off singles against Austin Riley in the first and a one-off singles against Robbie Grossman in the third. Dansby Swanson doubled up on Grossman for a 1-0 lead. Riley then drove into Swanson with a single.
DeGrom retired his next 12 batters before Grissom reached seventh.
“I felt like it was pretty good in the first moment and then it comes down to two pitches for Dansby, just a bad slide over the middle and then that for Riley,” deGrom said. “Those are two mistakes I would have liked but they capitalized on and it was frustrating but it is what it is.”
DeGrom, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, threw 95 pitches, his most since a 109-pitch shutout by Washington on April 23, 2021.
Since becoming a full-time starter in 2019, Fried has 49 wins to his name, the second most in the majors behind the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole with 52 in that span. The left-hander improved to 6-5 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 career starts and five relief appearances against the Mets.
DeGrom started the game leading the majors with a 1.93 ERA since early 2018 with at least 400 innings. He fell to 10-8 with a 2.08 ERA in 27 career starts against the Braves.
“Definitely disappointing,” deGrom said. “Wanted to come in here and win all four games. Once they won a pair, the goal was separation. And we haven’t been able to get it.”
Mets RHP Taijuan Walker (back spasms) played catch and will pitch Sunday if he is fully recovered. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken foot) ran into the field but has no timeline for his return yet.
Mets: RHP Chris Bassitt (10-7, 3.27 ERA) meets Aaron Nola (8-9, 3.07) as New York opens a four-game series in Philadelphia.
Braves: RHP Kyle Wright (14-5, 3.14 ERA) meets Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 0.00) as Atlanta begins a three-game home series against Houston in a repeat of last year’s World Series.
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