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Washington Nationals 8-2 over Atlanta Braves: Reynaldo Lopez Ks 11 in ATL

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Reynaldo Lopez struck out 11 batters in seven innings as the Washington Nationals improved to 9-1 against the Atlanta Braves this season with an 8-2 win.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin Liles/Getty Images

Reynaldo Lopez earned his first major league “W” in last Saturday’s 7-6 win over the Atlanta Braves in the nation’s capital, giving up one run on five hits in seven innings.

Tonight, in Turner Field, Washington’s hard-throwing 22-year-old right-hander faced the Nationals’ NL East rivals again, and piled up Ks, striking out 11 batters on 101 pitches in another seven innings on the mound against the Braves, in what ended up an 8-2 win.

Here’s how it happened:

Lopez took the mound with a 2-0 lead after Matt Kemp dropped a two-on, two-out fly to left off Anthony Rendon’s bat for a two-run error that put the Nationals up early.

“Two hands, Kemp!”

Kemp sliced a double to right with one down in the Braves’ fourth, moved up on a wild pitch/passed ball on a high fastball from Lopez that got away from Pedro Severino, and scored on a sac fly to center by Nick Markakis to cut the Nationals’ lead in half, 2-1 after four.

Pedro Severino doubled to start the Nationals’ fifth and moved up on a sac bunt by Lopez before scoring on a two-out double to left field by Jayson Werth, who extended his on-base streak to 46-straight games with the hit and gave the Nationals a 3-1 lead.

Freddie Freeman, who went 9 for 14 (.556/.714/.1.333) with a double, two home runs and four walks in this past weekend’s three-game set in D.C., with one of the two HRs off Lopez, was 0 for 2 tonight before he doubled to the left-center gap with one down in the Braves’ sixth.

A wild pitch (curve in the dirt) to Kemp allowed Freeman to take third and he scored on a groundout to third to make it 3-2 Nationals.

Lopez stranded two in a 12-pitch seventh that ended his night after 101 pitches total and 11 strikeouts.

Reynaldo Lopez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 Ks, 101 P, 73 S, 5/1 GO/FO.

Braves’ right-hander Arodys Vizcaino gave up a single, two walks and a HBP to the four batters he faced in the top of the eighth inning, forcing in a run when he hit Anthony Rendon on the elbow with the bases loaded. 4-2.

Mauricio Cabrera came on and gave up an RBI single to right by Clint Robinson, who put the Nationals up, 5-2.

Danny Espinosa walked to force in run No. 6 and another scored on a passed ball with Pedro Severino at the plate, 7-2.

Jace Peterson bobbled a weak roller to second on a grounder off Severino’s bat, as the Nationals loaded them back up and a sac fly by Trea Turner made it an 8-2 game.

Shawn Kelley gave up back-to-back, two-out singles before he finished off the Braves’ half of the eighth.

Mark Melancon handled the ninth. Ballgame. 8-2 final.

Nationals now 71-49

NATS NOTES:

  • In a Washington-themed edition of our “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: The Nationals are 109-102 against the Atlanta Braves in the all-time matchup between the two teams and 29-10 against their NL East rivals since ... June 21, 2014.
  • In nine games this season, the Nationals are 8-1 against the Braves heading into this weekend’s four-game set in Turner Field, where Washington’s 2-0 this season.
  • Atlanta’s win last weekend in D.C. snapped a seven-game losing streak against Washington.
  • Jayson Werth walked in the third inning of Wednesday’s series finale in Colorado to extend his on-base streak to 45-straight games. Werth’s currently one short of the franchise record held by Rusty Staub, who reached base in 46 straight games in 1969-70.
  • With a two-out RBI double in the fifth, Werth extended his streak to 46-straight and put the Nationals ahead, 3-1.
  • Washington’s 70-49 record after dropping two of three in Coors Field, was the third-best in the majors, behind the Texas Rangers (72-50) and Chicago Cubs (76-43).
  • Atlanta started the night on a four-game losing streak with losses in 6 of their last 7 games.
  • The Nationals’ +137 run differential before tonight is the second-best in the majors going into the series with the Braves, behind only the Cubs’ +206 run differential.
  • In today’s Braves-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Freddie Freeman is 80 for 253 (.316) in 69 games... since June 1st.
  • In a bonus Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Anthony Rendon is 32 for 98 (.327 AVG) with 11 doubles, six home runs, nine walks and 15 runs scored in 110 plate appearances... since July 16th.
  • Daniel Murphy started the night leading the NL in AVG (.348), SLG (.610), OPS (.998), doubles (35) and multi-hit games (46).

Nationals now 71-49