The Dodgers looked strong in Friday’s opener, but they seemingly lost all their momentum when the Braves erupted for five runs in the bottom of the third inning in Saturday’s middle game, all with two batters out.
Fried was pulled in the seventh inning Sunday when the Dodgers had runners on first and second with nobody out, but lefty reliever A.J. Minter held the Dodgers at bay, enticing a pop out and two flyouts by Will Smith, Gavin Lux, and pinch-hitter Max Muncy, who many believed was not available due to a sore ankle.
Like his lefty counterpart, right-hander Trevor Bauer started the game for Los Angeles and lasted six full innings before being lifted for Muncy with two outs in the top of the seventh. Bauer allowed three earned runs on six hits and an uncharacteristic four walks while striking out seven batters.
Los Angeles crawled closer in the top of the ninth when Pujols landed a solo shot into the left field bleachers. Pujols’ homer was his fourth as a Dodger, his ninth of the season, and the 671st of his career.
The Braves took an early 1-0 lead when Abraham Almonte drove home Dansby Swanson with a double to center field in the second inning. Atlanta stretched its lead to two after an Ozzie Albies double plated Freddie Freeman in the third.
Aside from the blast by Pujols, Atlanta reliver Will Smith was effective enough to collect his 11th save of the year, his second in as many days.
With the win, Fried improved to 3-2. Bauer’s record dropped to 6-4.
In Saturday’s middle game, it looked like the Dodgers were off to a good start when Mookie Betts scored on an errant pickoff play in the top of the first inning. However, lefty starter Clayton Kershaw allowed the Braves to rally after Ronald Acuna drew a two-out walk in the third, which was enough to seal the 6-4 win.
Spearheaded by a Matt Beaty single to center in the fourth inning, the Dodgers scored three runs to climb back within one run, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Braves. Atlanta added an insurance run in the seventh when Almonte took reliever Blake Treinen deep to right field.
After a day off, the Dodgers will face the Pirates at PNC Park for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday.