Masterful Fried conquers Coors as Braves win in extras

Olson puts Braves on top for good with two-run single

June 4th, 2022

DENVER -- If you're wondering whether Max Fried has super powers, remember he threw six scoreless innings after his ankle was stomped on in the first inning of Game 6 of last year’s World Series. And he can now lay claim to conquering Coors Field in his only two starts at the offensive haven.  

Fried conjured memories of Tom Glavine and saw his great effort rewarded when the Braves' offense finally broke through to claim a 3-1, 10-inning win over the Rockies on Friday night at Coors Field. The Atlanta lefty constructed eight masterful innings and exhaled when a wild pitch and Matt Olson two-out single decided one of most unusual pitching duels.  

“[Fried] keeps going out every fifth day and keeps making hitters look silly,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “He pitches deep into games. If your bullpen needs a night off, he picks you up, just like today. He’s incredible.”

This was just the second game in Coors Field history that remained scoreless through nine innings. The only previous time this occurred, Greg Maddux was pitching for the Dodgers against Aaron Cook and the Rockies on Sept. 14, 2008.  

“That’s pretty crazy,” said Fried, who was four months shy of his 15th birthday when Maddux and Cook battled that night. 

The Braves squandered a prime scoring opportunity in the first inning and didn’t score until Adam Duvall raced home on Carlos Estévez's wild pitch with one out in the 10th. Two batters later, Matt Olson laced an opposite-field two-run single that allowed Fried to celebrate one of the best starts of his career.

As for the Braves, they celebrated a third straight win for the first time this year. They still haven’t lost three games in a row. 

“Being able to pitch here, you know it’s a challenge and you know things are going to be different,” Fried said. “I just wanted to be myself and pitch my game.” 

Fried allowed just two hits while keeping the Rockies silent throughout his 102-pitch (72 strikes), eight-inning effort. He retired 24 of 27 batters and 13 of the 20 balls put in play against him had an exit velocity of 80.5 mph or lower. The only hits he allowed were Connor Joe’s leadoff single in the fourth and Randal Grichuk’s leadoff double in the sixth. 

“This is a hard place to do that,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It just shows how special he was tonight.”

Fried's outing marked just the sixth time since Coors Field opened in 1995 that a visiting pitcher allowed two hits or fewer and no runs over at least eight innings. Fried became the first pitcher to do this since Clayton Kershaw on July 4, 2014. The only others were Pat Rapp (1995), Hideo Nomo (1996), Roy Oswalt (2008) and Kevin Millwood (2012).

“His fastball command today was the best he's had all year,” d’Arnaud said. “I think that's what opened up everything else and made a lot of their hitters uncomfortable. They really only had two or three hard-contact balls. He kept everyone off balance for a while and was moving that baseball.” 

Fried had allowed just one unearned over six innings when he made his only previous start at Coors Field in 2019. Though he has made just two starts in Colorado, he already stands as one of 11 pitchers to allow zero earned runs over at least six innings on multiple occasions. The only pitchers to have three such games are Glavine and Barry Zito.

“I’m lucky to have a couple good starts here, but I don’t know how to describe it,” Fried said. 

But seriously, how has Fried had instant success at a place that haunted countless pitchers for nearly three decades?  

“Not worry about all that stuff,” Fried said. “I just kind of go out there and pitch my game and make adjustments on the fly, knowing that my stuff might not be working, but not to overthink it or feel like you don't have it tonight.”