Braves hit six homers, win Fried’s return

After a quiet series in Baltimore, the Braves offense unleashed its frustrations in Queens.

The Braves slugged six homers and dismantled the Mets, 15-2, in the series opener Friday night. The run support supplemented Max Fried, who returned from the injured list to allow one run over five innings.

Friday again proved the Braves' bats might be the most menacing in the majors. The Braves were held to seven combined runs while dropping two of three to the Orioles. They doubled that total in one night against the Mets.

“There was some energy in the air tonight,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It was a nice, cool night. … It was good to see the guys come out and swing the bats like that.”

The Braves ambushed Mets starter Steven Matz, who allowed six runs on eight hits in 2-2/3 innings. They tagged the next pitcher, Franklyn Kilome, for another half dozen. They scored in each of the first four frames, which included a four-run second and six-run fourth.

Marcell Ozuna, Austin Riley, Travis d’Arnaud, Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna each homered. Albies did so twice to bring their total to six. It was the second time in nine games the Braves reached that mark – they homered seven times in their 29-run onslaught against the Marlins.

The Braves lead the majors with 42 homers this month and would be on pace to shatter the franchise record (set last season) in a normal season. Their lineup itself makes them World Series-caliber. And it helps lessen the pressure on their pitchers.

“They have a tendency to do that,” Fried said of the offensive outbursts. “As long as you can just go out there and get us back in the dugout as quickly as possible, and have those guys keep swinging the bat, that’s kind of where my head is at.”

Notes from Friday:

- While Fried’s velocity sat around 92 mph, which was still a tick below his average, he was effective. He held the Mets to one run on three hits. The run came in his final inning, when Amed Rosario led off with a single and scored on Jeff McNeil’s double.

“I’m not looking at my velocity all that much,” Fried said. “I’m looking at it more for my off-speed stuff to see if there’s a good enough separation. It felt like I was getting some uncomfortable swings and I was able to keep get some soft contact. I haven’t looked to see how my velocity was throughout the game, but if I go out there and keep guys off balance, execute my pitches, I know that’s where I need to be.”

D’Arnaud added: “He was able to locate his fastball, inside, outside, up, down. Both his breaking balls were there. He even had his change-up today, which I think is his secret weapon and definitely an equalizer.”

It’s paramount that Fried is fully healthy for the postseason, when he’ll be relied upon as the team’s No. 1 starter. In his breakout season, Fried is 7-0 and owns a 1.96 ERA with 50 strikeouts against 19 walks across 10 starts (55 innings).

- Consider the Acuna slump snapped. The Braves' All-Star outfielder entered the night on a 1-for-21 run across his past six games. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs scored Friday, looking much more like his dynamic self.

“The off day (Thursday) was really good for him,” Snitker said. “Just let his mind rest a little bit. From the first at-bat, he was a lot more aggressive and on the attack. That was good to see.”

- There was only one Brave who didn’t record a hit or walk: the slumping shortstop Dansby Swanson, who went 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. Swanson’s promising season has been in a lull over the past week.

In his last seven games, Swanson is 1-for-30 with nine strikeouts. Before this skid, Swanson was 13-for-38 (.342) with four extra-base hits and five RBIs in September.

- “I really like Ozzie down there,” Snitker said of Albies hitting ninth. It worked well for the player and club, with Albies homered twice and knocking in three runs. Albies has hit .378 with four homers and eight RBIs in nine games since returning from a wrist injury.

Snitker also singled out Riley for his at-bats. The third baseman went 2-for-5 with a home run.

- First baseman Freddie Freeman didn’t join the homer parade, but he did strengthen his MVP candidacy with three hits, including two doubles. One of his doubles scored two runs, extending his league-leading RBI total to 48. He’s reached base in 33 consecutive games.

- Ozuna and Adam Duvall have 15 homers, tying them with San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. for the second most in the National League. The Dodgers' Mookie Betts homered Friday for his league-leading 16th.

- Ian Anderson will make his fifth start Saturday against Mets lefty David Peterson. The Braves are 6-2 against the Mets, clinching the season series with Friday’s win.

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