Fried pitches a 3-hitter and Ozuna homers to help the Braves beat the Cubs 9-2

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Thursday, May 23, 2024

CHICAGO -- - Max Fried struck out nine while throwing a three-hitter for his second complete game of the season, and the Atlanta Braves beat Justin Steele and the Chicago Cubs 9-2 on Wednesday night.

Marcell Ozuna, Matt Olson and Adam Duvall homered for Atlanta, which had dropped five of six. The Braves were 2 for 7 with runners in scoring position one night after they went 0 for 14 in those situations in a 10-inning loss in the series opener.

Fried (4-2) retired his first 15 batters before Ian Happ hit a leadoff double in the sixth. Happ and Dansby Swanson singled in the eighth for Chicago's other two hits.

"Tonight I wanted to make a point of emphasis to go after hitters, get early contact and be a little bit more of the aggressor rather than trying to make a perfect pitch on the corners," Fried said.

Fried improved to 6-0 with a 1.18 ERA in six career starts against the Cubs. The left-hander got his first major league win when he pitched five innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 victory at Wrigley Field on Sept. 3, 2017.

The 30-year-old Fried also finished a 5-0 victory over Miami on April 23, striking out six in a three-hitter.

"It's something I pride myself in, on going to deep into games," Fried said.

Steele was charged with five runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in four starts since returning from a left hamstring injury.

Steele (0-2) retired his first six batters before Michael Harris II hit a leadoff single in the third. Duvall then connected for his third homer, a 423-foot drive to center.

"Definitely could throw that pitch again and get popped up or something and it shows up a little different in the box score," Steele said. "But there's guys that are over there just as good as I am. He did a good job with it."

The Braves broke it open with six runs in the seventh. Ozuna hit a three-run shot off Jose Cuas with two out, and Olson followed with a drive to right for an 8-1 lead.

Ozuna's 15th homer on the eighth pitch of his at-bat extended his hitting streak to 15 games. It was Olson's seventh homer on the year. The duo also hit back-to-back homers off Dylan Cease during a 6-5 loss to San Diego on Monday.

Atlanta had scored a total of 14 runs in its previous six games.

"We get a few of those guys going, I think it will relax everyone else," manager Brian Snitker said, "and have a chance to, I think, look more like us."


Braves: Following an off day, C Sean Murphy (strained left oblique) is expected to serve as the designated hitter in his second rehab game with Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. ... 3B Austin Riley (left side tightness) did some more work in an indoor batting cage.

Cubs: RHP Adbert Alzolay (right flexor strain) saw a doctor, and he is shut down from throwing for at least two weeks most likely. Alzolay missed part of September while he was on the IL with a right forearm strain. "It's essentially the same injury," manager Craig Counsell said, "a degree of the same injury." ... LHP Drew Smyly (right hip impingement) could make another rehab appearance after he pitched three hitless innings for High-A South Bend on Tuesday. But the plan was still being discussed. Counsell said Smyly is expected to be activated at the latest by next week.


Atlanta right-hander AJ Smith-Shawver (1-0, 4.26 ERA) and Chicago right-hander Ben Brown (1-1, 3.57 ERA) will start the series finale Thursday.



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