Max Fried sharp as Braves roll past Giants, 8-1

Atlanta Braves’ Max Fried pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

By CHARLES ODUM

ATLANTA (AP) — On an Atlanta team assured of its best record since 2013, Max Fried has the most wins of any Braves pitcher since 2010.

Fried can only hope that will be good enough to land a spot in Atlanta’s postseason rotation.

Fried threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a strong recovery from two poor starts, Francisco Cervilli and Adam Duvall hit two-run homers and the Braves rolled to an 8-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.

At 96-60, the Braves will finish with their most wins since 2013.

Each team rested several starters one day after the Braves clinched the NL East title and the Giants were eliminated from postseason contention.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said before the game he didn’t expect to alter his rotation after clinching the division. He added he will lessen the starters’ workload in the regular season’s final nine days.

The first evidence of the plan for Atlanta’s starting pitchers came when Fried (17-6) was pulled after 65 pitches. He allowed five hits with no walks.

“He was really good, very efficient,” Snitker said.

Fried has the most wins for an Atlanta pitcher since Tim Hudson’s 17 in 2010.

Dallas Keuchel and Mike Soroka are likely members of the postseason rotation, while Fried, Mike Foltynewicz and Julio Teheran are competing for spots.

Fried allowed five runs in each of prior two starts before returning to his winning form.

Atlanta Braves’ Adam Duvall (23) celebrates as he enters the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

“I feel great mentally and physically,” Fried said. ”… We just want to be ready for the playoffs, whatever that takes.”

Making his third start since Tommy John surgery, right-hander Johnny Cueto (1-1) walked five while giving up four runs and two hits in four innings. He didn’t allow a run over 10 innings in the first two starts of his comeback.

“I felt frustrated,” Cueto said through a translator. “I felt really good, really strong, but in certain situations I was frustrated because every time I would throw the ball, the ball would tail toward first base and that kind of frustrated me.”

Adeiny Hechavarría hit a two-run double in the second, when Cueto walked three. Billy Hamilton also doubled in a run.

Cervelli returned from made the most of his first start since Sept. 10 due to a cut on his left ring finger. He pushed Atlanta’s lead to 6-0 with his two-run homer against Dereck Rodríguez in the fifth.

Cristhian Adames’s run-scoring single in the seventh kept the Giants from suffering their second straight shutout loss.

Duvall added a two-run shot off San Coonrod in the seventh.

NO WINNING FAREWELL FOR BOCHY

San Francisco dropped to 71-81, ensuring Bruce Bochy will not have a winning record in his 25th and final season as a major league manager, the last 13 with the Giants.

“I mean, at this stage you see it coming,” Bochy said, adding he was hoping for a winning season before injuries and other setbacks hurt the Giants.

96 AND COUNTING

The Braves also won 96 games in 2004 and 2013. They haven’t won more than 96 since 2003, when they finished 101-61.

BIG DRAW

Attendance was 40,899 for Atlanta’s 17th sellout.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves OF Ender Inciarte, who has missed 32 games with a right hamstring strain, is still trying to return before the end of the regular season. Snitker said it wasn’t realistic for Inciarte to play in a two-game series at Kansas City that begins on Tuesday. Snitker said Inciarte may make it back at the New York Mets next weekend.

UP NEXT

Giants: Rookie RHP Logan Webb (1-2, 6.51) is to make his seventh start of the season on Sunday’s final game of the series.

Braves: Keuchel (8-6, 3.63) is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two career starts against the Giants.

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More AP MLB: hHERE and TWITTER.

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