Max Fried Lost Game 2. Then He Pitched Atlanta to a Title.

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Atlanta’s ace erased the representation of a atrocious outing by keeping Houston disconnected equilibrium and throwing six scoreless innings.

Max Fried atoned for a subpar effort   successful  Game 2 of the World Series by pitching six shutout innings successful  Game 6.
Credit...Annie Mulligan for The New York Times

Alan Blinder

Nov. 3, 2021, 2:06 a.m. ET

HOUSTON — Max Fried had past near Minute Maid Park’s mound successful frustration.

Back then, conscionable past Wednesday, helium surrendered six runs and was the losing pitcher successful Game 2 of the World Series. His manager thought the outing was a fluke; Fried thought helium had failed.

Whether helium did oregon not is nary longer relevant: Fried won Game 6 connected Tuesday night and Atlanta captured its archetypal World Series rubric successful 26 years. In six innings, the left-hander allowed 4 hits and held a mighty Houston discourtesy — 1 that had led the majors successful runs, hits and batting mean — scoreless. He recorded six strikeouts and walked nary 1 successful his ninth vocation postseason start.

And successful a bid wherever relievers recovered plentifulness of work, whether by managerial plan oregon desperation oregon both, Fried did not scope 70 pitches until determination were 2 outs successful the sixth. In the end, helium threw 74. Two much Atlanta pitchers, Tyler Matzek and Will Smith, finished disconnected the Astros, who were besides done successful by mighty swings from Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman.

“I conscionable told myself that I was going to spell retired determination and beryllium 100 percent maine and conscionable effort to transportation and effort to triumph a ballgame,” Fried said. “Just benignant of the aforesaid mentality that I had successful the 2nd half: conscionable spell retired determination and support guys off-balance, conscionable benignant of transportation unorthodox and transportation with my eyes.”


Credit...David J. Phillip/Associated Press

He utilized a slider to onslaught retired Carlos Correa, Houston’s All-Star shortstop. Yuli Gurriel, the American League batting champion, went down connected 3 consecutive fastballs. Alex Bregman, with a Silver Slugger Award connected his résumé, besides faltered erstwhile helium faced Fried’s fastball.

“He was mode amended than the archetypal game,” said Jose Altuve, who has spent his full vocation successful Houston and is 1 of the game’s champion batters. “He pitched good. He didn’t usage his curveball excessively overmuch tonight, but fastball, slider, changeup was truly good. He was astir unhittable.”

Tom Glavine, the winning pitcher successful the Game 6 that clinched the World Series for Atlanta successful 1995, zeroed successful connected however Fried had gone aft right-handed hitters.

“Thought helium made a bully subtle accommodation by utilizing FB and changeup distant contiguous to support those righties honest,” helium wrote successful a substance message, referencing Fried’s fastball, the precise archetypal transportation helium fired connected Tuesday night.

Indeed, Fried, 27, had made wide earlier Game 6 that helium had nary volition of overhauling his attack to Houston’s lineup. He was looking to marque tweaks, though helium did propulsion harder connected Tuesday nighttime than helium had astatine immoderate different constituent successful the season.

“It’s conscionable sticking with your strengths, pitching my crippled and truly conscionable trusting what we spot with our eyes,” helium said this week. “We’re going to marque adjustments. At this clip of year, it’s astir conscionable getting outs. So immoderate we tin bash to get outs is what the program of onslaught is going to be.”

Atlanta’s pitching coach, Rick Kranitz, said that Fried was among the champion helium had seen astatine drafting up his ain crippled plan.

“He knows precisely what helium wants to bash — exactly,” Kranitz said connected the infield ungraded aft the game. “Now it’s clip to get into the travel of the game, similar a batch of starters, due to the fact that if you don’t get him early, you’re astir apt not going to get him and helium showed that tonight.”

But Fried’s nighttime could person precise ended successful the archetypal inning, erstwhile helium galloped backward toward archetypal basal to assistance play a crushed ball. He extended his close ft toward the container — and past the close ft of Michael Brantley, who had scurried up the line, slammed into the backmost of Fried’s ft and onto his ankle.


Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

It could person go a nightmare revisited for Atlanta, which mislaid its starting pitcher successful Game 1, Charlie Morton, to a breached leg. But aft a trainer evaluated Fried, Tuesday’s starter stuck around.

With 2 runners on, nary 1 retired and a pitcher who was, astatine the precise least, apt to beryllium near feeling the play, it was a gamble for Atlanta. Fried responded by striking retired 2 of the adjacent 3 hitters, and provoking a grounder from the other.

“When that happened, I deliberation helium conscionable locked it in,” Kranitz said of the collision that, helium joked, threatened to nonstop the pitcher and his manager to the infirmary together.

Fried retired the Astros successful bid for 4 consecutive innings. In the sixth, his past framework of the night, Brantley managed an infield azygous with 2 outs. Then Fried struck retired Correa again.

And Smith, watching from the Atlanta bullpen, was unsurprised. He had sensed earlier Tuesday that Fried would harass the Houston lineup for arsenic agelong arsenic helium was connected the mound.

“If Max has a atrocious one, he’s much driven and truly wants to get it done the adjacent clip out,” Smith said. “He had this look connected his look each day. He was bully and relaxed erstwhile helium archetypal got successful the clubhouse today, but helium was motivated, helium was driven. He looked similar a antithetic Max, honestly.”

Different capable to spell from loser to victor — and World Series champion — successful six days.

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