His 15 wins tie Washington’s Stephen Strasburg for the National League lead and are the most by a Braves left-hander since Hall of Famer Tom Glavine won 18 in 2002.
“His command of everything, early on especially, was really good,” catcher Tyler Flowers said of Fried’s performance Friday. “The curveball was working for him. The slider was really good. But I think it all started with fastball command.”
Fried struck out two batters in each of the first three innings and in five of the first six. “I got into a really nice rhythm,” he said. His 11 strikeouts matched his career high.
The Braves staked him to a 4-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Dansby Swanson and a three-run homer over the left-field wall by Flowers, his 10th of the season. The four earned runs in the inning against White Sox starter Ivan Nova were as many as he had allowed in his past six starts combined. Flowers became the eighth Braves player with 10 or more homers this season.
Leading 6-1 through six innings, Fried got into trouble in the seventh, when the first three batters reached base.
“I think he started to maybe get a little tired towards the end and maybe started pressing a little bit,” Flowers said. “That’s something he brought up to me after, just trying to find a way to not worry about the stuff, just keep focusing on executing (pitches).”
In the seventh, with one run in, two runners on base and no out, Luke Jackson replaced Fried on the mound.
“I would have loved to have got one more inning out of (Fried),” manager Brian Snitker said. “But it was good. It was another strong outing.
“He’s toeing that rubber expecting to win when he goes out there, and I think that’s a big step forward for him.”
With Fried watching from the dugout, pinch-hitter Welington Castillo drilled a three-run homer to left field on a 1-2 pitch from Jackson, scoring two inherited runners and tightening the game to 6-5. Jackson struck out the other three batters he faced.
The Braves regained some cushion in the bottom of the seventh on three walks and a two-run pinch-hit single by Adeiny Hechavarria. The Braves tacked on two more runs for a 10-5 lead in the eighth, with the inning including Ozzie Albies’ fourth hit of the night and Freddie Freeman’s career-high-matching 109th RBI of the season.
The White Sox scored two runs in the ninth off struggling reliever Anthony Swarzak before closer Mark Melancon struck out the only batter he faced to end the game.
The Braves remained 5-1/2 games ahead of second-place Washington in the National League East.
The Braves-White Sox series continues Saturday night with a pitching matchup of Atlanta’s Dallas Keuchel (5-5, 3.78) vs. Chicago’s Reynaldo Lopez (8-11, 5.08). The starting pitchers for Sunday’s series finale are Julio Teheran (8-8, 3.39) for the Braves and Lucas Giolito (14-7, 3.20) for the Sox.