Max Fried threw six shutout innings as the visiting Atlanta Braves defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 Tuesday night in the opener of their three-game series.
Jorge Soler hit a two-run homer and Freddie Freeman went 3-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored for the Braves, who moved within 2 1/2 games of the first-place New York Mets in the National League East.
The Braves have won four of five games against the Cardinals this season.
Fried (8-7) struck out seven batters and allowed just four hits while beating the Cardinals for the second time this year. He held them to one run on six hits in 13 innings in those two starts.
Jon Lester (3-6) struggled in his first start for the Cardinals since arriving from the Washington Nationals in a trade before Friday's deadline. He allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings -- the sixth time this season he has yielded at least five runs.
The Braves wasted no time attacking him. Their first seven batters in the game reached base and five of them scored.
Ozzie Albies drew a lead-off walk and Soler followed with his two-run homer. Singles by Freeman, Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson made it 3-0.
Adam Duvall walked to load the bases and Joc Pederson hit an RBI single to make it 4-0. Lester finally coaxed a double-play grounder from Kevan Smith, but another run scored.
Freeman's solo homer in the second inning pushed the Braves' lead to 6-0.
Lester settled down to throw three scoreless innings before turning the game over to the bullpen, but the Cardinals never threatened Fried.
St. Louis finally got on the board with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Tyler O'Neill hit a single, his third hit of the game, and took second on fielder's indifference. Yadier Molina delivered an RBI single to break the shutout.
--Field Level Media