Max Fried had yet another fantastic start on the mound for the Braves. His six strong innings held the Brewers completely in check and helped give the lineup and the bullpen the opportunity to bring home a 3-0 shutout win that evened up the NLDS.
As expected, this was another game where starting pitching mostly took over and runs were at a premium for both teams. The Braves had baserunners in each of the first two innings, but couldn’t do much after getting one guy on. That changed in the third inning, which is when the Braves made Brandon Woodruff blink.
After Max Fried led off the inning with a strikeout, Jorge Soler continued his good run of form against Woodruff by hitting a double down the line to give the Braves a scoring chance. Freddie Freeman promptly cashed in the scoring chance with a single out to right field, plating Soler and putting the Braves in front early.
Then we had a weird moment, which is when Ozzie Albies absolutely crushed one 381 feet — for a double. If the ball had gone just a foot further, it would’ve been a 3-0 game at that point. Instead, it was just a 2-0 game and the Braves had to settle for just the two-run lead heading into the bottom of the third inning.
Fortunately, Max Fried appeared to be locked in once again. He’s been pitching as well as anybody you can think of in baseball for the past couple of months and he continued that strong run right into the Postseason while making a start on the road. Fried lived up to all expectations and then some, as he pitched six extremely strong innings while striking out nine, giving up only three hits, walking nobody and giving up zero runs. It wasn’t another Complete Game masterclass that we’ve seen from Fried, but we will absolutely take an outing like that during the Postseason.
Max Fried, Beautiful 77mph Curveball. pic.twitter.com/BI286g02Vj— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 9, 2021
Before Fried left the game, the Braves gave him one last insurance run as a gift. It came from none other than Austin Riley, who has been tearing the cover off of the ball for as long as Fried’s been cooking on the mound. This time, Riley hit a fly ball that just kept on soaring and soaring until it landed well past the fence in right-center field for a solo homer. Austin’s stunner made it 3-0 Braves and the sixth inning was also the end of the line for Brandon Woodruff. We had another pitcher’s duel this evening, but Max Fried came out the winner in this particular battle.
From the sixth inning onwards, it was on the bullpen in order to take this thing on home. Luke Jackson and Tyler Matzek both came on and Matzek in particular was nails. Matzek entered in the seventh with two men on and two out and after the Brewers played a game of pinch-hitter shuffle, Matzek struck out Tyrone Taylor to clean up that mess and then found himself in a situation in the eighth with two men on and nobody out. It almost seemed as if Matzek just needed those runners on base to lock back in, because he proceeded to go strikeout-flyout-strikeout to end the eighth inning with the Brewers still scoreless.
Then the ninth inning came in and it was Will Smith Time. As is customary during Will Smith Time, the tying run came to the plate with nobody out after Smith walked Christian Yelich and then got BABIP’d by Luis Urias on a broken bat single. Then Will Smith got Lorenzo Cain to fly out harmlessly before getting the customary game-ending Will Smith double play to finish things off and give the Braves their first win in this Divisional Series.
After two games in Milwaukee, the Braves are basically in the position that every road team asks for in a Postseason series. They’re heading back home with the series tied and to be honest, they haven’t looked bad at all. Charlie Morton and Max Fried went blow-for-blow with Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff and it also wasn’t all that surprising to see it happen in real time. Thanks to the aforementioned excellent pitching from everybody involved and some timely hitting from the likes of Jorge Soler, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley, the Braves are alive and well in this series as it switches venues.