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Washington Nationals drop 5-2 decision to Atlanta Braves after unnecessary three-hour-plus no-rain delay in D.C.

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Tonight’s 10:10 PM start time made for a long night in the nation’s capital. Yes, it was a 10:10 start in D.C., not on the West Coast. Braves win, 5-2 over Nationals.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After a three-hour, five-minute rain delay during which little rain fell in Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves finally started the series opener of their first-half-ending, four-game set in D.C. at around 10:10-ish PM.

With three runs on seven hits in six innings against Nationals’ lefty Gio Gonzalez and three hits and two runs off lefty reliever Sammy Solis, the visiting Braves took a 5-2 lead and held on for their third win in four games in Nats Park this season, and their fifth win in ten games with their NL East rivals this season.

Freddie Freeman doubled in a run in the top of the third, tying things up at 1-1 after Anthony Rendon doubled and scored in the bottom of the second inning, and after Brian Goodwin tied things at 2-2 with a solo home run in the fifth, Kurt Suzuki hit a solo shot, 3-2.

Freeman and Nick Markakis doubled in runs in the seventh to put the Braves ahead 5-2.

That’s how it ended...

Nationals now 50-35

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

Anthony Rendon fell short in the Final Vote for the NL All-Star roster this afternoon, but put on a brave face out on the field tonight, doubling off Mike Foltynewicz in his first at bat (No. 20) to lead off the second, and scoring from third one out later on a sac fly by Wilmer Difo to put the Nationals up 1-0 early in the series opener with the Braves.

Freddie Freeman started tonight’s game 123 for 373 (.330 AVG) in his career against the Nationals, and doubled in his second at bat (1 for 2), driving in the tying run with a two-out, two-base hit to right-center that drove Ender Inciarte in from second base, 1-1. Freeman’s 12th double.

Former Nats’ catcher Kurt Suzuki doubled to start the top of the fourth, taking a 1-0 fastball from Gio Gonzalez to right, and he scored when Johan Camargo singled on a 2-0 change to put the Braves up, 2-1.

Brian Goodwin was 2 for 3 tonight and 5 for 8 with two home runs vs Foltynewicz after he took an 0-2 fastball to left-center for a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the fifth, 2-2. Goodwin’s seventh.

Suzuki got Gio Gonzalez again in the sixth, taking a first-pitch fastball to left for a solo home run that put the Braves back on top a half-inning after Goodwin’s blast tied it up, 3-2. Suzuki’s seventh.

• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 105 P, 70 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

Sammy Solis took over for Gio Gonzalez in the seventh and gave up a leadoff double by Ender Inciarte, who took third on a groundout by Brandon Phillips and scored on an RBI double to left by Freddie Freeman, 4-2. Why pitch to Freeman? Maybe a walk to set up a DP? Whatever. 4-2 Braves. Freeman scored on an RBI double by Nick Markakis, 5-2.

• Mike Foltynewicz’s Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 101 P, 74 S, 5/5 GO/FO.

Sam Freeman tossed a scoreless seventh for the Braves.

Joe Blanton gave up back-to-back, one-out singles in the top of the eighth, but Matt Grace came on and stranded both runners to keep it at 5-2 Atlanta.

Braves’ righty Jose Ramirez gave up a one-out single by Anthony Rendon, but got an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP out of Matt Wieters.

Grace and Blake Treinen combined for a scoreless top of the ninth, and Braves’ closer Jim Johnson tossed a scoreless frame in the bottom of the inning.

Final Score: 5-2 Braves.

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • Washington started the first-half-ending, four-game set with Atlanta with a 121-109 record against the Braves in the all-time series between the two teams and a 41-17 mark since June of 2014.
  • Atlanta started the series with wins in four of the last six with Washington, including 2 of 3 in the last series in D.C.
  • Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in AVG (.277), OBP (.345), SLG (.471), hits (817), extra-base hits (310), runs scored (469), and RBIs (455), and they were ranked second in doubles (172), and third in home runs (124) and stolen bases (64).
  • Washington’s starters started the night leading the majors in Ks (547), and ranked second in WHIP (1.19), opponents’ batting average (.232), and opponents’ slugging percentage (.381).
  • In today’s “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Michael A. Taylor has put up an impressive .298/.342/.555 line since taking over in center on a regular basis on April 29th.
  • Freddie Freeman started the night 123 for 373 with a .330/.399/.520 career line, 30 doubles, and 13 home runs in 105 games and 426 career plate appearances against Washington.
  • Gio Gonzalez started the night (4-9) with a 5.13 ERA in 18 starts against the Braves going back to 2012.

Nationals now 50-35