ATLANTA — Joc Pederson hit a two-run homer in his first start with Atlanta, Max Fried had a two-run double among three hits while throwing seven dominant innings, and the Braves shut out the Tampa Bay Rays 9-0 on Saturday night.
Fried (7-5) did not allow a baserunner to reach second. The left-hander gave up four hits with one walk and had seven strikeouts. Fried’s career-high three hits included the two-run double in a six-run fourth inning.
Pederson, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, hit leadoff and started in right field, filling roles held by Ronald Acuña Jr. before his season-ending knee injury on July 10.
Before the game, Pederson said Acuña is “probably one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. I’m not going to fill that role, but I’m going to do what I do and hopefully help this team win some games.”
Pederson had two hits, including an infield single to a vacant third base against the Rays’ defensive shift in the eighth.
Pederson’s homer landed in the Braves’ bullpen behind the right-center wall. It was the highlight of a six-run fourth inning off Rays left-hander Josh Fleming (7-5).
The big hits by Pederson and Fried in the fourth were made possible when umpires declined to overturn a ground-rule double by Guillermo Heredia that landed near the right-field line. The Rays asked for the review to determine if the ball landed fair or foul.
Fried’s three hits lifted his batting average to .333. He had a game-winning, pinch-hit single in the 10th inning of an 8-7 win over Miami on July 4.
Freddie Freeman added to the lead with his 21st homer off Fleming in the fifth. Fleming gave up seven runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
With the addition of Pederson, Braves manager Brian Snitker juggled his lineup with Dansby Swanson and Freeman hitting second and third, respectively. Freeman moved down one spot in the lineup. Swanson had a run-scoring double off J.P. Feyereisen in the sixth.
One day after trading for Pederson, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos stayed active by acquiring catcher Stephen Vogt from Arizona following Friday night’s game. Vogt was in uniform but did not appear in the game.
Tampa Bay rookie Wander Franco made his first start at second base after playing shortstop and third base in his first 16 games.
Edgar Santana and Tyler Matzek each pitched one inning to finish the combined four-hit shutout.
Braves C Jonathan Lucroy was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for Vogt, who will share time with Kevan Smith. Snitker said the goal is to “piece this thing together” until starter Travis d’Arnaud (torn ligaments, left thumb) returns from the injured list, possibly by mid-August. Snitker said d’Arnaud’s rehabilitation is “going well.” Lucroy appeared in only two games with Atlanta following his recall from Triple-A Gwinnett on July 7.
Atlanta’s Drew Smyly will face Tampa Bay’s Rich Hill in a matchup of veteran left-handers in Sunday’s final game of the weekend series. Hill is 5-0 with a 1.74 ERA in nine career appearances, including seven starts, against the Braves.