Max Fried’s sharpness, Kirby Yates’ command and other takeaways as Braves fall to Giants in finale

Twice, the Giants took a lead on Max Fried. They grabbed another against Kirby Yates in the ninth inning.

Atlanta fell, 4-3, on Sunday, unable to complete the sweep at Truist Park. Still, the Braves are 80-43, which is baseball’s best record.

Five observations:

1. After he threw ball four to walk in the go-ahead run, Kirby Yates shouted an expletive. (You can guess which one.) This outing was somewhat confusing.

Sometimes this season, he said, he has lost command, then found it. On Sunday, he lost it, then thought he found it, then lost it again.

“I don’t really have an explanation,” he said. “It sucks, it stings. You lose a game without giving up a hit to them, that’s just not good baseball.”

Yates entered a tie game in the ninth. He walked the first batter he saw, then hit the next two. The most frustrating part: He had one of those hitters down 0-2 before plunking him.

But then he struck out consecutive hitters.

At that point, his escape seemed somewhat likely.

Instead, he issued a four-pitch walk to former Brave Joc Pederson.

“Just lack of command,” Yates said of the inning. “Nothing really else to it. Just kind of beat myself and put myself in a hole.”

Yates said he hopes to make in-game adjustments quicker in the future. He said he once excelled at that.

“I think it’s just slowing down,” he said. “I think the bad pitches, it’s just too quick. The good ones, you’re on time and in rhythm. It’s just how consistent can I be with that rhythm so the ball’s going where I need it to go? I’m still walking guys, but the ball’s going where I want it to go a lot more frequently than it has. I’m encouraged by that. I think the stuff is there and everything is trending in the right direction. It’s just eliminating days like today.”

2. By his own admission, Fried was not sharp – though, by everyone else’s admission, Fried’s bar is pretty high.

This much is clear: After a long layoff due to injury, he’s still finding his groove.

“I would say overall, I was still fighting myself at times,” Fried said. “Not really all that sharp, not executing pitches that I want to in big spots. I felt like they had a really good approach against me and they had a really good game plan and they were putting together some really good at-bats, and when I wasn’t executing, they were able to put some hard contact on (the ball), which is a little different for me.

“Obviously I still have a lot to work on and need to get a lot sharper, but I was still kind of happy with the way I was able to battle and keep us in it. Obviously, you never want to give up the lead, especially twice in a game.”

Fried still managed to go 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs – on two homers. He gave up nine hits, struck out six batters and walked one.

3. The Giants asked Camilo Doval, their hard-throwing closer, for the game’s final five outs. He succeeded, but not without adversity.

In the eighth inning, Ronald Acuña Jr. stole third base and scored on the catcher’s errant throw to tie the game. This is the latest example of one of Acuña’s important traits: He creates havoc.

He leads MLB with 56 stolen bases.

4. In the top of the second inning, Fried threw a four-seam fastball that didn’t go as far inside as he would’ve hoped, and Luis Matos crushed it for a solo shot.

In the top of the third, after Orlando Arcia’s two-run blast in the bottom of the second, Wilmer Flores launched a two-run homer.

Fried battled a cut on his finger, but it was on the top so it didn’t impact his pitching.

5. The Braves’ winning streak ended at five games. Chances are, they will soon start another.

The Braves have five winning streaks of at least five games this season, a sign of their remarkable consistency.

“When you have the lineup that we do, it’s a lot of pressure on pitchers,” Fried said. “They can explode for a bunch of runs real quick. And when you’re able to go out there and get a four-spot the first and kind of get ahead, it puts the other team on their heels a little bit. I think being able to do that, along with some timely pitching, and just kind of riding the wave. The group in there never gets too high, never too low. Just go out there, do your job every day, play hard baseball and when the ball kind of bounces you just kind of have to roll with it.”

Stat to know

101 - The Braves have 101 stolen bases this season, which is the first time they’ve recorded 100 stolen bases in a season since 2012.

Quotable

“It’s been great. Everything’s been really good. We’ve played good baseball.”-Snitker on his team’s performance through two series of this homestand

Up next

The Braves will recall Allan Winans to start Monday’s series opener versus the Mets at Truist Park, which begins at 7:20 p.m. Atlanta will announce its corresponding roster move on Monday.