Max Scherzer held the Atlanta Braves scoreless over seven innings of work on the mound in a mid-April outing in SunTrust Park.
This afternoon, in Atlanta’s new ballpark, Washington’s ace gave up three runs in five innings in what ended up a 5-2 loss.
Braves’ third baseman Rio Ruiz and left fielder Matt Kemp took Scherzer deep for two-run and solo home runs, respectively, in the second and fourth innings.
The two-out walk Scherzer issued to Dansby Swanson before Ruiz’s blast will probably stick in his craw, but he kept it close as his pitch count rose to 92 pitches total at the end of the fourth.
The Nationals rallied to make it a one-run game with RBI singles by Trea Turner and Jayson Werth in the top of the fifth, 3-2, but they stranded two when Bryce Harper popped out and Ryan Zimmerman K’d looking against Ian Krol.
Rain brought things to a halt before the sixth could get started, but they resumed play after a 2-hour-ish delay, and the Braves added to their lead against Blake Treinen in the sixth and Matt Albers in the eighth and handed the Nationals their fourth straight loss.
Nationals now 25-17
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Braves’ third baseman Rio Ruiz stepped in against Max Scherzer with a runner on and two out in the second and got all of a 2-2 fastball, lining a two-run shot to right field for his first major league home run and a 2-0 lead early in SunTrust Park.
There's nothing like your first homer in the bigs pic.twitter.com/buK7xUkgb5— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 20, 2017
• Bartolo Colon, who started the game with a 9.38 ERA in the first three innings early this season, tossed three scoreless on 51 pitches and was up to 74 after completing his fourth scoreless frame against the Nationals.
• Matt Kemp crushed a full-count fastball in the Braves’ half of the fourth, sending a line drive home run screaming out to left field to make it a 3-0 game. Kemp’s eighth.
• Colon gave up a leadoff single by Matt Wieters in the Nationals’ fifth, then committed a throwing error on a grounder by to the mound by Max Scherzer, putting runners on the corners in front of Trea Turner, who lined an RBI single to right to get the Nationals on the the board, 3-1 Braves.
• Jayson Werth followed with a second straight RBI single, making it a one-run game, 3-2, and knocking Colon out. Ryan Zimmerman K’d looking with Ian Krol on the mound, to end the top of the fifth and strand two.
• Bartolo Colon’s Line: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 97 P, 63 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
• Scherzer retired the Braves in order in a 14-pitch fifth that left him at 106 pitches, but the sky opened up over SunTrust Park before the sixth could get started.
• Blake Treinen took over on the mound after an extended delay, and gave up back-to-back, one-out hits by Tyler Flowers and Jace Peterson and another run scored when the Nationals couldn’t turn a 6-4-3 on a grounder to short by Dansby Swanson, 4-2.
• Jose Ramirez and Arodys Vizcaino made the Braves’ two-run lead hold up through seven and a half innings, and Tyler Flowers hit a solo shot off Matt Albers in the eighth, 5-2.
• Jim Johnson locked it down in the ninth. Final score, 5-2 Braves.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington’s loss last night was their first in four games with Atlanta this season, all of which have taken place in SunTrust Park. The loss left the Nationals 119-106 overall against the Braves since 2005.
- The Nationals are 18-5 against the Braves since the start of the 2016 campaign, outscoring their divisional rivals, 133-94 over that stretch.
- Daniel Murphy has home runs in back-to-back games, and he’s 5 for 12 (.417 AVG) over his last three games.
- Braves’ outfielder Nick Markakis has hit safely in 20 of his last 22 games, going 30 for 87 over that stretch (.345 AVG), lifting home from a .266 to a .311 AVG.
- Jayson Werth extended his on-base streak to 11-straight games last night, over which he’s 16 for 42 (.381 AVG) with two doubles, three homers, five RBIs, nine walks and 10 runs scored.
- Matt Kemp started the day 7 for 8 in the last two games and 10 for 20 over the last five.
- Michael A. Taylor had a seven-game hit streak going heading into today’s game, and since taking over in center for the injured Adam Eaton, he was 22 for 65 (.338 AVG) with five doubles, two triples, and two home runs.
- Washington’s 25-16 record after last night’s loss is the second-best in the NL, behind only the Colorado Rockies (27-16).
- The Nationals’ offense started the day leading the majors in runs scored (241), AVG (.277), SLG (.480), hits (401), RBIs (233), home runs (tied, 64), and doubles (tied, 89).
Nationals now 25-17