SAN DIEGO (AP) — Max Fried was absolutely brilliant at just the right time for the Atlanta Braves.
Fried retired his last 18 batters and finished with a three-hitter for his second career shutout, and the NL East-leading Braves beat the San Diego Padres 4-0 Friday to split an unusual night of baseball.
A few hours earlier, after a rare San Diego rain delay, Fernando Tatis Jr. homered leading off the top of the seventh inning and the Padres beat the Braves 6-5 in the resumption of a game that was suspended due to rain in Atlanta on July 21.
The net effect was that the Braves’ lead over the Phillies is down to 1 1/2 games after Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh 8-6.
San Diego had no chance against Fried (13-7), a Southern California native and former Padres farmhand whose only other nine-inning complete-game shutout came seven starts earlier, on Aug. 20 at Baltimore, a 3-0 win in which he threw a four-hitter. He also had a rain-shortened, six-inning complete game on Aug. 1, 2019, against Cincinnati.
“I definitely know that it felt really good," Fried said. “It felt like we really had the advantage today, especially the situation where we're at in the year."
Fried threw 98 pitches in winning his sixth straight decision over 10 starts. After the last out, he and catcher Travis d'Arnaud hugged near the first-base line. Fried, backed by solid defense all night, completely shut down the Padres after Tatis doubled leading off the fourth. Fried struck out four and walked none. He induced 17 groundball outs.
Dansby Swanson hit a two-run homer for the Braves in the nightcap.
"That was a special performance,” Swanson said of Fried. “He was awesome. That was like ace-worthy, like super-ace worthy, right? Especially at this point in the year, you need a big game against a team that’s really talented, chasing the playoffs as well, and to do something like that is special.
“I counted three hard-hit balls tonight against him. He completely dominated.”
The Padres continued to plummet toward the biggest collapse in franchise history and were pushed closer to playoff elimination. San Diego is seven games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card with eight to play, while also trailing Philadelphia and Cincinnati. The Padres had a one-game lead for the second wild card on Sept. 9.
Fried was masterful against the Padres, who traded him to Atlanta in a six-player deal that brought Justin Upton to San Diego on Dec. 19, 2014. It was one of many deals in the Padres' ill-fated attempt to win with high-priced veterans.
Fried pitched in front of several family members who came down from the Los Angeles area.
“It was special,” he said. “Obviously with me being across the country, they don’t get to see me in person a lot.”
Fried hasn't lost since July 28 at the New York Mets.
Swanson hit his 27th homer with one out in the second off rookie Reiss Knehr (1-1). Austin Riley hit an RBI single in the first and Adam Duvall drove in a run with a base hit in the sixth.
Knehr allowed three runs and five hits in four innings.
In the resumption of the suspended game, the Padres, wearing their home white uniforms, were the visiting team in their own ballpark. Tatis' 41st homer, off Will Smith, regained the lead for the Padres after Braves pinch-hitter Duvall tied it with a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.
“You always feel good with Tatis at the plate,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “That was just a great at-bat. He was on some pitches, laid off some tough pitches, got it to 3-2 and to be able to drive the ball a touch right of center — impressive. But we’ve seen him do it. Huge at-bat.”
Daniel Hudson (5-2) got the win and Mark Melancon pitched the seventh for his 38th save. Hudson wasn't with the Braves when the July 21 game began. Smith (3-9) took the loss.
On July 21, the Padres won the first game of a split doubleheader and were leading the second game 5-4 in the fifth inning when it was suspended after a delay of 3 hours, 3 minutes. Since it was at the end of a series, it was rescheduled for Friday in San Diego.
The teams still couldn't escape bad weather. A rare storm that brought rain, lightning and thunder to San Diego prompted a delay of 1 hour, 5 minutes.
“It is confirmed, we have a tarp. So that’s good to know," Tingler said. "It felt like for a moment this game’s not supposed to happen or whatever, when it starts to rain in San Diego. But we got word that the storm was kind of moving out. We knew we were going to play, we just didn’t know how much it was going to get pushed back.”
Knehr was the starter in the game that was suspended.
The Braves' batterymates from that suspended game are no longer on the active roster. Bryse Wilson was traded to Pittsburgh on July 30 and catcher Stephen Vogt is on the injured list.
Padres: Placed C Austin Nola on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Sept. 22, with a strained left thumb and said he'll need surgery. C Webster Rivas was recalled from Triple-A El Paso.
Braves RHP Huascar Ynoa (4-5, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday night. The Padres hadn't announced a starter.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports