ATLANTA — Joc Pederson hit a two-run home run in his first start with his new team, and Max Fried had a two-run double among his three hits in addition to throwing seven dominant innings as the Atlanta Braves bounced back after an extra-inning loss to rout the Tampa Bay Rays 9-0 on Saturday night.
Fried (7-5) did not allow a runner to reach second base. The 27-year-old left-hander gave up four hits and a walk while striking out seven batters. Fried's MLB career-high three hits included the two-run double in a six-run fourth inning.
"The dude rakes!" Pederson said of Fried, adding that the pitcher "had some pretty swings, too. It wasn't luck."
Fried is batting .333 this season. When it was suggested he is making hitting look easy, Fried said "hitting is one of the hardest things to do in sports. I just had a really good night."
Pederson, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night, hit in the leadoff spot and started in right field, filling roles held by Ronald Acuña Jr. before his season-ending knee injury in a road win against the Miami Marlins last weekend.
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."
He had two hits, including an infield single to a vacant third base area against the Rays' defensive shift in the eighth.
"He's electric," Fried said of Pederson. "He obviously has a lot of thunder in his bat and puts together good at-bats."
Pederson's homer landed in the Braves' bullpen behind wall in right-center field. It was the highlight of Atlanta's six-run fourth inning against Rays left-hander Josh Fleming (7-5).
"You see what the guy can do," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He can hit good pitching."
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.
Saturday wasn't the first hitting highlight of the year for Fried. He had a pinch-hit single in the 10th inning for an 8-7 win over Miami on July 4.
"Fried had a pretty good day all around, at the plate and on the mound," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That was impressive."
Freddie Freeman added to the lead with his 21st homer of the year, this one off Fleming in the fifth. Fleming, who gave up seven runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, blamed an inconsistent sinker for his trouble in the fourth.
"Left too many over the plate," he said.
With the addition of Pederson, 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.
Atlanta's bullpen allowed four runs Friday night but proved more reliable Saturday. Edgar Santana and Tyler Matzek each pitched one inning without allowing a hit to finish the shutout.
Cash used catcher Francisco Mejia to pitch the ninth and protect Tampa Bay's bullpen. Mejia allowed one hit in a scoreless inning.
Speaking through a translator, Mejia said Cash "came up to me and asked if I've ever pitched and I said no, but I'd be willing to go and I can throw strikes. That was the first time I've pitched in my life."
One day after trading for Pederson, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos stayed active by acquiring catcher Stephen Vogt from Arizona after Friday night's game, which the Rays won 7-6 on Atlanta-area native Austin Meadows' RBI single in the top of the 10th.
Vogt was in uniform Saturday but did not appear in the game. Jonathan Lucroy, another catcher, 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 after his recall from Triple-A Gwinnett on July 7.
The Braves' Drew Smyly will face Tampa Bay's Rich Hill in a matchup of veteran left-handed starters in Sunday's finale of the three-game series.