BOSTON – As Max Fried dealt (again), his offense came to life and backed the effort. The result: A complete victory for Atlanta to begin a three-city road trip.

The Braves on Tuesday defeated Boston, 8-3, at Fenway Park.

Five observations:

1. In his insane run, Max Fried has done it all. No-hit bids. Complete games. A shutout.

He accomplished something else this time: He set a career high with 13 strikeouts.

This is Fried’s fifth career double-digit strikeout game – the last one coming last September at Dodger Stadium, where he struck out 10 batters. But he’d never punched out more than 12.

Until Tuesday.

“I felt like I had a really good feel of the slider, and my curveball was probably the best that it’s been all year,” Fried said.

That second part – about his curveball – is something everyone echoed.

“I just think he had a really good curveball tonight,” catcher Sean Murphy said. “I mean, he does every night, but I thought tonight was exceptional for him.”

“That curveball was really, really good tonight,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Really good.”

Fried threw his curveball 26 times. Boston hitters swung at it 13 times, and whiffed on seven of those swings.

Fried completed seven innings – the sixth time he’s gone at least seven frames in 12 starts this season. This time, he surrendered three runs, and only two earned, on four hits, including one home run. He issued one walk.

Fried struck out the side in the first inning, then fanned two in the third, three in the fourth, one in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Yes, you read that correctly: He struck out three batters in three separate innings.

“Today, instead of ground balls, it was swings and misses, which was nice to have,” Fried said. “But there were a couple times where I really needed it, especially when there (was) some traffic on the bases.”

2. As they’ve struggled for weeks, the Braves have said that one game, or even one big hit, could begin to turn their fortunes.

Could this be that game, and Ozzie Albies’ three-run homer be that hit?

The Braves have scuffled for too long for this to be an automatic “yes.” But perhaps this victory – in which Atlanta looked like its old self – could push the Braves toward their turnaround.

“A lot. It can help a lot,” Albies said. “It’s all about getting the confidence back and having great (at-bats). That’s what brings a team back together, and hopefully it stays forever until the season is over, until we win the World Series, right?”

At the very least, they appear to be heating up.

The huge moment: In the sixth inning, Albies launched a go-ahead, three-run homer that gave the Braves the lead for good. This was the massive hit for which they’ve searched during their droughts this season. This was nice for Albies, but more so for the team.

“Oh, the spot was even bigger, to take the lead and help the team win,” Albies said. “That’s more important than anything, but it felt great.”

Orlando Arcia homered in the seventh inning.

And early in the night, the Braves took advantage of two errors to score twice in the second inning. Then in the fifth, Murphy responded to Boston’s two-run fourth inning, which gave the Red Sox a lead, by tying the game with a run-scoring single.

The Braves have scored at least eight runs three times in their previous nine games – though one was a loss.

This offense looked more like the Braves we know.

“I mean, we’re stringing together at-bats now and the innings are a little more competitive, it feels like,” Murphy said. “It’s coming along.”

3. In the top of the ninth inning, Murphy was hit by a pitch on the inside of his right elbow. The spot quickly swelled into a huge lump. He exited the game.

Initial X-rays were negative. Murphy was in good spirits after the game, and didn’t seem concerned. He said he felt he could “absolutely” avoid the injured list and play within the next couple of days.

He had a busy night before that.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, he committed a catcher’s interference that loaded the bases, which positioned the Red Sox to eventually score twice on a softly hit single down the right-field line. The runs gave them the lead.

“Screwing up always stinks, so you don’t want to do that to your pitcher,” Murphy said. “That’s a real bad feeling. But yeah, it’s one of those things that it’s a part of baseball, you just gotta let it go and try and move on.”

And he did.

In the following inning, Murphy gained redemption.

In the top half, he singled home a run to tie the game. In the bottom half, he fired a perfect strike to nab the speedy Cedanne Rafaela as he tried to steal second base. Murphy’s throw wiped out Rafaela reaching base to begin the inning.

“Any time that I don’t have to really think about holding the runners and I can trust our catchers to be able to get the guys out, it helps,” Fried said. “To be able to go from no outs and a guy on first to one out and no one on, it’s a huge difference. It just allowed me to kind of settle in and trust myself, and let my pitches work.”

4. Since the two rough starts to begin the season, Fried has posted a 1.83 ERA over his next 10 outings.

His ERA was 18.00 after those two starts. And it was 7.71 after an April 17 game.

He now has a 2.93 ERA.

5. After the first inning, the Red Sox played a tribute video for Chris Sale on the video board above center field to commemorate his return. After it finished, they showed Sale on the screen.

From the visiting dugout, Sale tipped his cap. He pointed toward different directions of the crowd. He tapped his heart as a sign of affection for the crowd who cheered him on from 2017 through 2023.

“Yeah, it was cool. It was nice,” Snitker said. “I know he meant a lot to this organization. That was nice that they acknowledged it.”

Atlanta Braves pitcher Chris Sale acknowledges Red Sox fans at the top of the second inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 4, 2024, at Fenway Park in Boston. Sale pitched for the Sox from 2017-2023. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Stat to know

31 1/3 - When Dominic Smith hit a solo homer in the third inning, it snapped Fried’s streak of 31 1/3 innings without allowing a homer. He hadn’t given up a home run since the sixth inning on May 5. He went four full starts without serving up a long ball.


“We gotta still come out here and give our A-game out here, because we still have a day of baseball to take care of, one day at a time. One important piece of the team went down, but we always gotta keep our head up and be positive and keep playing hard.” - Albies on Atlanta’s offense pushing to turn things around even after losing Ronald Acuña Jr. for the season

Up next

Quick turnaround: On Wednesday at 1:35 p.m., the Braves and Red Sox will play the second of two games here. Spencer Schwellenbach will face Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta.