One night after winning a thriller, the Braves delivered a dud to open their six-game road trip. They lost to the Pirates 11-1 Monday in Pittsburgh.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
1. The sixth inning completely unraveled for Max Fried and the Braves, who already trailed 2-1 entering the inning. The Pirates opened the frame with four consecutive hits, including two doubles, to end Fried’s outing.
“Coming out of my hand, it didn’t feel like I was throwing pitches that were really sharp or executed as well, maybe fell into some similar patterns that they were able to see and they made some good swings, hit the ball and it’s just one of those things where maybe if the ball finds someone, it’s different,” Fried said. “But that’s the way it shook out.”
Reliever Edgar Santana was erratic, resulting in both of Fried’s stranded runners scoring. Santana issued two walks (one intentionally), threw a wild pitch that scored a run and surrendered an RBI single to Ke’Bryan Hayes that slipped between two Braves defenders to make it 6-1.
2. Fried was charged six earned runs on seven hits over five innings. He threw 91 pitches (59 strikes). It was Fried’s worst outing since he allowed seven runs in a loss to the Marlins April 13. After that game, Fried was placed on the injured list with a hamstring strain.
In his nine starts since returning from the IL, Fried had a 2.61 ERA. He looked much more like the pitcher that finished fifth in Cy Young voting last season. But Monday was a bump in the road, with Fried losing command of the zone in what became a big sixth inning for one of MLB’s worst teams.
3. Fried didn’t have any room for error. The Braves’ offense, once again, was ineffective with runners in scoring position. They went 0-for-9 in such situations.
The game started well for the Braves, with outfielder Ronald Acuna’s single and first baseman Freddie Freeman’s double giving the Braves an immediate lead. But that was all they managed against Pirates starter Chase De Jong, who held the Braves to one run on four hits in earning his first win since 2018. De Jong had a 5.65 ERA over six starts entering the day.
“We just couldn’t do anything with him,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I thought starting out we were getting off on a good foot in that first inning. He elevated his fastball and mixed in the breaking ball, we just couldn’t do anything with him.”
4. It’s rare the Pirates find the offensive success they did Monday. They entered the night 27th in average (.226) and last in OPS (.648) and runs (285). Their 11 runs tied a season high.
Pirates outfielder Ben Gamel, hitting .224 with four homers and nine doubles coming in, homered twice (off Fried and Josh Tomlin) and doubled. He had six RBIs. It only counts as one loss, but Monday’s game was a disappointing way for the Braves to follow a 4-2 homestand.
“It’d be nice to bounce back tomorrow,” Snitker said. “Get a good night’s sleep tonight and come back and win tomorrow.”
5. Despite the rough night, the Braves will still have an opportunity for their third straight series win if they take the next two. They just took two of three from the Mets and Marlins during the last homestand.
Pirates 11, Braves 1 (box score)
Stat to know
10 (The Braves lost by 10 runs Monday, tying their second-worst loss this season behind only a 13-2 loss to the Mets May 29.)
“I think it would’ve been a different story if we could’ve kept building on that first inning, put a crooked number up there. I think that would’ve set a better tone. We just weren’t able to do it.” – Snitker
Brave righty Ian Anderson (5-4, 3.35) starts Tuesday against Pirates right-hander Chad Kuhl (2-5, 5.16).
About the Author