Nationals Cool Off, Lose Series vs Braves
The Washington Nationals headed into Atlanta on a six game win streak and holding onto a half game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
The Nationals hit the ground running on Thursday night with a sac fly by Anthony Rendon to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However the Braves had an answer in the form of an RBI double by Preston Tucker and an RBI groundout by Sean Newcomb to give the Braves a 2-1 lead in the second inning. The Nationals tied the game on an RBI single by Anthony Rendon in the top of the third, only to have the Braves regain the lead on an RBI double by Freddie Freeman in the bottom of the same inning and go onto win 4-2 to send the Nats down to second place in the NL East.
Friday night the Nats were completely shut down by the hand of Mike Foltynewitcz, who pitched a complete game, shutting out Washington and holding them to just two hits in a 4-0 Nationals loss.
Saturday the offense returned in the form of a two run home run by Michael A Taylor to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez was pitching four innings of perfect baseball. The bottom of the fifth however proved to be the Bermuda Triangle. Gio Gonzalez allowed singles to Nick Markakis and Tyler Flowers, and then the big bomb in the form of a three run home run to Johan Camargo to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. The Nationals would later tie the game by way of a solo home run by Juan Soto in the top of the seventh inning to send the game to extra innings. About an hour of eventless baseball later, Max Scherzer came in as a pinch hitter in the fourteenth inning and got a single. The Nationals would capitalize on a triple from Wilmer Difo and a single from Spencer Kieboom and went on to win 5-3 in extra innings.
The Nationals came into Sunday’s game looking to salvage a split and leave Atlanta in first place. The Braves however had other ideas. Atlanta struck first on an RBI single by Nick Markakis to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Nationals had an answer in the form of a two run home run by Trea Turner to give Washington a 2-1 lead in the third. This would remain the score until the bottom of the seventh, when Dansby Swanson hit a solo home run to tie the game at 2. In the bottom of the ninth, hearts across Washington fell when the Nationals were walked off on a two run home run by Charlie Culberson to give the Nats a 4-2 loss as they lose the four game series and end the roadtrip with a not-too-shabby record of 7-3.
The Nationals will have a day off, and return home to host the Tampa Bay Rays in a brief two game series.