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Braves cut magic number to 1 with 7-2 win over Phillies

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Dansby Swanson had three hits and drove in a pair of runs in the win.

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images

Max Fried turned in another solid performance and the Atlanta Braves beat up the Philadelphia Phillies’ bullpen in a 7-2 win Wednesday night at Truist Park.

The Braves started quickly as Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman led off with back-to-back singles off of Aaron Nola. After a fly out by Ozzie Albies, Austin Riley plated the first run by dumping a bloop single to right to make it 1-0.

Adam Duvall then grounded to Jean Segura who flipped to Didi Gregorius at second. Duvall beat the relay throw and Freeman scored to make it 2-0.

Max Fried struck out J.T. Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen to begin the second but then allowed three straight singles. The last was of the infield variety off the bat of Ronald Torreyes that scored Matt Vierling to make it 2-1. That snapped Fried’s scoreless inning streak at 17.

Atlanta threatened in the third but was unable to cash in. Dansby Swanson doubled off the wall in right center and then moved to third on a ground out by Fried. Soler worked a walk to put runners at the corners but Nola struck out Freeman to leave them stranded.

Fried started to settle in as he worked a perfect third striking out Bryce Harper to end the inning with a beautiful 3-2 curveball.

The Braves extended the lead in the home half as Albies singled to lead off the inning. Nola struck out Austin Riley and then got Adam Duvall to fly out for the second out. However, he couldn’t put Eddie Rosario away who lined a 1-2 pitch to the wall in right for a double. Albies was running on the play and scored from first to make it 3-1.

Fried retired 10 straight hitters before Odubel Herrera led off the sixth with a double off the right field wall. He moved over to third on a passed ball and then came home on a ground out by Segura to cut the lead to 3-2. Fried then struck out Harper again and got Realmuto to pop out on a nice over the shoulder catch by Albies to end the inning.

After being on the ropes for a couple of innings, Nola settled down and retired eight straight Braves hitters between the fourth and sixth innings. He exited having allowed seven hits, two walks and three runs over six innings and finished with four strikeouts.

Fried retired the side in order in the seventh. It was another masterful performance where he allowed four hits and two runs although only one was earned. He struck out six while throwing 98 pitches. It was the third straight game where he has pitched at least seven innings.

Jose Alvarado came on to pitch the seventh for the Phillies and was greeted by Soler who reached on an infield single. Freeman struck out again for the first out but Albies followed with a single to center. Soler advanced to third as Herrera booted the ball in center to give Atlanta runners at second and third with just one out. Joe Girardi would go to the bullpen and bring in Hector Neris to face Riley who doubled down the line in left to extend the lead to 5-2.

Neris struck out Duvall for the second out but then issued back-to-back walks to Rosario and d’Arnaud to load the bases. He was then replaced by Sam Coonrad who allowed a broken bat single to Swanson that brought home two more runs to make it 7-2.

Coonrad then walked pinch-hitter Joc Pederson to load the bases but got Soler to ground out to bring the inning to a merciful end. The Braves sent 10 men to the plate in the inning and added on four more runs.

Tyler Matzek allowed a pair of baserunners in the eighth but struck out Segura and then got Harper to pop harmlessly on the infield to escape. Atlanta’s pitching staff has done a good job on Harper through the first two games of the series where he is 0-for-7 with a walk and four strikeouts.

Richard Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth to seal the win.

With the win, the Braves move to a season-best 13 games above .500 at 85-72. They have now won five straight games and have a 4.5 game lead in the division. More importantly, they cut their magic number to one.

Atlanta can clinch a fourth straight division title on Wednesday when Ian Anderson matches up against Kyle Gibson.