Max Fried hopes a series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers reminds the Atlanta Braves they can still be a playoff team.
Back-to-back wins over Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer may help make that point.
Fried outpitched Bauer, and the Braves beat Los Angeles 4-2 on Sunday to take two of three in the first meeting of the teams since the Dodgers rallied to win last year's NL Championship Series.
Atlanta beat Kershaw 6-4 on Saturday.
“I just felt like we played really good baseball, complete offense, defense, pitching,” Fried said. “We were able to put it all together. ... This is obviously the type of baseball we feel we can play and we can build off that.”
Albert Pujols hit his 671st home run and had two hits and two RBIs for the Dodgers. He homered leading off the ninth against closer Will Smith, who regrouped to get his 11th save in 11 chances.
Ender Inciarte had a hit and drove in two runs for the Braves (28-29), who have won three consecutive NL East titles but have been under .500 all season.
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Braves manager Brian Snitker said his team “played a pretty good series against the World Champions. It should show those guys we’re as good as anybody out there when we play the way we’re capable of playing.”
Atlanta led the NL Championship Series 3-1 last October before Los Angeles came back to win the pennant and then beat Tampa Bay for its first World Series title since 1988.
Fried lost Game 6 by 3-1, allowing first-inning home runs to Corey Seager and Justin Turner.
This time, Fried (3-3) allowed one run and six hits in six innings and walked none for the first time in nine starts. He threw 65 of 92 pitches for strikes but said this was no retribution for last season.
“This is a whole different year," Fried said.
Bauer (6-4) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings and matched his season high of four walks for the fourth time. Two of the batters who reached on walks later scored.
“I felt fine,” Bauer said. “Just missing some pitches.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Bauer “did a nice job.”
“I’m not worried about Trevor,” Roberts said. “It could have easily been six innings, one run or two runs.”
Dansby Swanson, who had his career-best, 12-game hitting streak end in Friday, hit cleanup for the first time in his big league career. He led off the second with a single to left and scored on Abraham Almonte's double to the wall in center field.
Bauer walked Freddie Freeman with two outs in the third, and Ozzie Albies followed with a run-scoring double past Cody Bellinger in center.
Almonte walked opening the sixth, took third on Ehire Adrianza’s single and scored on Inciarte’s single. Inciarte's bases-loaded fly ball to left field off David Price in the eighth drove in Atlanta's fourth run.
Justin Turner hit a one-out double in the fourth for the Dodgers' first hit, and Pujols' bloop opposite-field single to right drove in Turner.
Pujols hit an inning-ending popout in the sixth that stranded runners on second and third.
Dodgers: C Austin Barnes and IF Max Muncy were held out of the lineup with sore ankles. Roberts said before the game he was “hopeful but not necessarily confident” Muncy, who popped out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, won't miss another start. Roberts said Barnes was “sore as expected” and had “some swelling” after twisting his ankle in Saturday's game. Barnes was available to catch only in an emergency.
Braves: RHP Shane Greene was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. Greene, 32, allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings with Gwinnett after re-signing with Atlanta on May 9. RHP Jacob Webb was optioned to Gwinnett only one day after his recall.
PUJOLS MOVES UP TO FOURTH IN TOTAL BASES
Pujols passed Barry Bonds for fourth all-time in total bases (5,980). He is fifth on the home run list behind Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).
LOOKING FOR OFFENSE
Roberts said the Dodgers need more consistent offensive production. Pujols' homer was the Dodgers' first of the series. Entering the series, the Dodgers had hit homers in 13 consecutive games.
“I think the pitching has been really good consistently,” Roberts said. “... I think offensively we just need to take more good at-bats and be more consistent on that side.”
Dodgers: Following an off day on Monday, RHP Walker Buehler (4-0, 2.82) is scheduled to start in Tuesday night's opener of a three-game series at Pittsburgh.
Braves: LHP Drew Smyly (2-3, 5.98) is scheduled to start on Tuesday night at Philadelphia following Monday's day off.