With four straight losses heading into tonight’s game, the Washington Nationals were in danger of setting a new season-high losing streak.
They’d lost four in a row twice previously, but had avoided dropping a fifth each time.
They did again tonight. Joe Ross wasn’t particularly sharp, but the Nats’ bats got the job done for the second night in a row.
Ryan Zimmerman started the second game of three with the Braves in D.C. 12 for 36 (.333/.366/.556) with two doubles and two home runs vs Braves’ knuckler R.A. Dickey in their respective careers, and he was up to 14 for 39 with four home runs off Dickey after he took the right-hander deep for the second time tonight, putting Washington up 6-5 with a two-run blast to left-center in the bottom of the sixth.
Matt Wieters drove in two more with a double to center in a five-run home-half of the sixth that lifted the Nationals over their NL East rivals. 10-5 final in Washington.
Nationals now 39-25
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Ryan Raburn got the start against Braves’ knuckler R.A. Dickey and tripled to the base of the out-of-town scoreboard in right for the Nationals’ first hit of the game, then he scored the first run on a groundout by Bryce Harper, 1-0. Back-to-back jacks followed in quick succession with Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy going deep to put the Nats up 3-0 after one. Zimmerman’s 18th. Murphy’s 11th. #FWAHHH!!
The Ryan Zimmerman machine is still set to MAXIMUM HOMER. pic.twitter.com/fI7P9xJKCi— MLB (@MLB) June 14, 2017
• Joe Ross tossed three scoreless on 40 pitches, but Matt Adams (single) and Rio Ruiz (walk) both came around to score in the fourth, on a fly ball off the base of the out-of-town scoreboard by Dansby Swanson, whose two-run double got the Braves within one, down 3-2.
• Matt Adams was 2 for 3 vs the Nationals’ starter after he doubled to right off Ross to start the Braves’ half of the sixth, and one out later, he came around to score on Rio Ruiz homer to right that put Atlanta ahead, 4-3.
Ruiz took a 2-1 slider up in the zone out to right field for a two-run home run off Ross, his 2nd in the majors this season.
Dansby Swanson singled to center off Ross with one down, moved up on a sac bunt by R.A. Dickey and scored on an RBI single to right by Ender Inciarte, whose two-out hit put the Braves up, 5-3.
• Joe Ross’s Line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 65 S, 7/2 GO/FO.
• R.A. Dickey gave up three hits and three runs in the Nationals’ half of the first, then held Nats’ hitters to just one other hit through five as the Braves rallied to take the lead, but Ryan Raburn and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back singles to start the bottom of the sixth, with Harper driving Raburn in after a passed ball moved him into scoring position, 5-4 Braves.
Ryan Zimmerman stepped in next and hit a 1-0 knuckler to left-center for his second home run of the game and 19th of the season. Two-run blast, 6-5 Nationals.
• Dickey gave up a single by Murphy and hit Anthony Rendon with 80th pitch before he was lifted, and both runners came around to score on a double to center by Matt Wieters that put the Nationals up, 8-5.
• R.A. Dickey’s Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 3 HRs, 80 P, 56 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
• Enny Romero gave up a one-out walk in the seventh, but got an inning-ending 6-3 DP.
• Ryan Zimmerman (single) and Daniel Murphy (double) collected their third hits of the night in back-to-back at bats in the seventh, with Zim scoring on Murphy’s double to right off Ian Krol to put the Nationals up, 9-5.
• Romero came back out for a scoreless top of the eighth and the Nationals added to their lead when Michael A. Taylor doubled and scored on a Trea Turner single in the bottom of the inning, 10-5.
• Shawn Kelley gave up back-to-back, one-out singles, but recorded two outs in the ninth before Dusty Baker went to the bullpen for Oliver Perez, who got the final out of the game. 10-5 final.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- Washington’s 120-108 against Atlanta in the all-time series between the two teams (2005-present), and the Nationals are 40-16 against the Braves since June 24, 2014.
- Dusty Baker was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 26th Round of the 1967 draft.
- After four straight losses, the Nationals now own the third-best record in the NL (38-25), behind the Colorado Rockies (41-25) and LA Dodgers (39-25).
- JINX CORNER: The Nationals have now played 63 games without being shut out this season.
- Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.274), OBP (.340), SLG (.468), home runs (94), extra base hits (tied, 230) and RBIs (336).
- Nationals’ starter have allowed 15 ER in the last 50 2⁄3 IP (2.66 ERA) with 72 Ks vs 10 BBs over that stretch.
- Heading into tonight’s game, Nats’ starters also led the majors in double-digit strikeout starts with 12 on the season.
Nationals now 39-25