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Ozuna Bashes, Fried shines in Braves 5-3 victory over Nationals

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The Braves enjoyed some positive developments from a few needed sources as they earn a series win.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The hope for a while has been that once April turned into May, the Big Bear would be ready to emerge from hibernation and seize the day.

That is exactly what Marcell Ozuna decided he would do tonight.

With Max Fried returning to the mound and last night’s much needed victory, the Braves had plenty of positive momentum heading into tonight’s game. Facing Erick Fedde for the second time this season, the Braves were also facing a pitcher they had succeeded against multiple times in the past. However, the start of the game went by both quickly and quietly.

Through the first two innings, both Fried and Fedde looked effective. The only baserunner in either inning was Yan Gomes via a single. Both pitchers were working their pitches and finding success keeping hitters off balance, a stark contrast from the last game between Fried and Fedde.

However, in the top of the third, the Braves decided it was time to make a little noise.

Actually, make that a lot of noise. With the bases loaded and two outs, Marcell Ozuna connected with his third home run of the season for a big grand slam, the Braves second in as many nights and third in their past four games. It allowed Atlanta to take a 4-0 lead, and provided another example that the Braves offense as a whole is starting to come to life.

After the Nationals went down quietly again in the bottom of the third, the Braves decided to add a bit of insurance in the form of William Contreras first home run as a Brave. With Travis d’Arnaud out for the foreseeable future, the hope is that Contreras will be able to deliver as the Braves primary catcher. The Nationals decided to generate a bit of offense of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Yan Gomes connected for his third home run to make the score 5-1.

After the Braves were kept scoreless in the fifth inning, Trea Turner stepped to the plate with two on and one out against Fried. In what some may consider a miracle, Fried ended his excellent return to play with an inning-ending double play. On the night, Fried completed five innings, allowing four hits and one walk while producing six strikeouts. His only blemish was allowing the home run to Gomes. Fried threw only 72 pitches, 45 of which were strikes. It certainly was an encouraging outing for Fried and the Braves.

Neither the Braves nor the Nationals had much success in the sixth and seventh innings. However, the Nationals were ready to attempt a comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning. Turner got a bit of revenge against Josh Tomlin with a two run home run to make the score 5-3. The Nationals then loaded the bases with two outs as Victor Robles stepped to the plate. While Tomlin and A.J. Minter decided to make things interesting, Minter made Victor Robles pop out to end the threat. The ninth inning was kept quiet as Will Smith earned his sixth save of the season and the Braves earned a much needed 5-3 victory.

The Braves success came in much needed form, as Ozuna provided the offense while Fried shined in his start. If the Braves can continue finding success with runners on base, that will be a very encouraging development as May progresses. In support of their ace, Atlanta earned a series win against an NL East opponent to start May. That is a much better start than they had in April and hopefully will lead to a very successful month overall.