BRAVES 7, NATIONALS 6
WASHINGTON — Freddie Freeman homered twice, Dansby Swanson hit a go-ahead shot in the eighth inning and the Atlanta Braves rallied from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 on Thursday night.
Freeman tied the game at 6 in the seventh with a 443-foot, two-run drive to right-center off Will Harris. After a scary bout with COVID-19 during the Braves' summer camp, Freeman is among the major league leaders in OPS. He has five homers and 20 RBI in his past seven games.
Swanson's solo shot off Tanner Rainey (1-1) gave the Braves their first lead.
Curtis Martin (1-1) worked a scoreless seventh, Shane Greene retired the side in the eighth and Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 chances.
Ronald Acuña Jr. also hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who weathered another ineffective outing from their makeshift rotation. Spot starter Robbie Erlin got five outs and allowed five extra-base hits. The final insult was Adam Eaton's two-run homer to the second deck in right-center.
A night earlier, Atlanta starter Tommy Milone allowed eight runs in 3⅓ innings against Miami, but the Braves set a National League record for runs since 1900 and won 29-9.
Juan Soto reached base four times for the last-place Nationals, who were coming off a two-game sweep of Tampa Bay. A year after winning the World Series, Washington is clinging to faint hopes of sneaking into the expanded playoff field.
Trea Turner had an RBI triple, Soto a run-scoring double and Asdrúbal Cabrera an RBI triple in the first.
Huascar Ynoa relieved Erlin and gave the Braves' dangerous offense a chance to claw back. Freeman went deep in the fourth inning after Acuña's leadoff walk. In the fifth, Acuña lofted reliever Wander Suero's first pitch over the wall in right.
Austin Voth retired the first nine Atlanta batters but only got through the lineup one more time. He was lifted with one out in the fifth after he hit Tyler Flowers on the left arm with a pitch. Voth allowed three runs and two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Clemente Day 2
Because the Nationals were off Wednesday as Roberto Clemente was honored around baseball, manager Dave Martinez and his coaches wore Clemente's No. 21 on Thursday.
Martinez said he wore the number as a football player in high school but had never worn it in a baseball game.
“He's my idol. What he represents is unity,” Martinez said. “He means a lot to not only the Latin community but the baseball community, not only as a player but as a humanitarian.”
Braves: Flowers was removed in the sixth as a precaution after the catcher was hit by Voth's pitch. Travis d'Arnaud replaced him. ... LHP Cole Hamels (triceps tendinitis), who has yet to pitch this season, was expected to throw at the team's alternate training site and could rejoin the rotation as early as next week, manager Brian Snitker said.
Nationals: LHP Sean Doolittle limped off the mound after getting one out in the ninth. ... Soto, who rejoined the lineup Tuesday after missing five games with a sore left elbow, is being limited to designated hitter. “We don't know when Juan can throw again,” Martinez said.
Braves: RHP Josh Tomlin (2-2, 3.77 ERA) makes his fifth start since being moved from the bullpen as the four-game series continues Friday. He allowed one run over six innings in a 10-3 win against the Nationals last Sunday.
Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (1-3, 5.29) allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Braves last Saturday.