Freddie Freeman homered in the seventh and drove in two runs in the eight to put the Atlanta Braves up 4-1, and the visiting team took that three-run lead into the ninth in Washington, D.C. before the Nationals rallied against reliever Jim Johnson.
Bryce Harper singled to start the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman walked. Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back, RBI singles, 4-3, and Matt Wieters hit a one-out sac fly to center to bring Murphy in and tie it up at 4-4 and eventually send it two extras.
Adrian Sanchez singled to start the Nationals’ tenth, after Matt Albers got the Nats out of a jam in the top of the inning, and Sanchez took third on a Zimmerman single before scoring on a walk-off winner by Daniel Murphy. 5-4 Nationals.
Knuckleball-ing veteran R.A. Dickey held the Nationals to one run on three hits in seven innings of work and left the game in line to win.
Nationals’ starter Max Scherzer went 7 2⁄3 innings on 120 pitches, giving up five hits, a walk, and four earned runs while striking out 10.
Nationals now 51-35
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Both Max Scherzer and R.A. Dickey retired the first nine batters they faced, Scherzer on 33 pitches, Dickey on 36, but tenth batter to step in against the Nationals’ starter, Ender Inciarte, doubled to right-center, and scored on an RBI single up the middle by Brandon Phillips, 1-0 Atlanta.
• Matt Adams connected for the third hit off Scherzer, and the second extra-base hit, lining a one-out double to right with one down in the Braves’ half of the fifth. Adams took third base in the next at bat, when a pitch got by Nats’ catcher Matt Wieters and dribbled behind the home plate ump, who blocked Wieters’ view, but he was stranded there when Scherzer retired Tyler Flowers (on a grounder to third) and Dansby Swanson (swinging at a 96 mph 1-2 heater) to keep it a 1-0 game.
• Dickey retired the Nationals in order in the fifth to keep his no-hit bid going through 15 batters, facing the minimum through five by working around a walk in the fourth, but his no-hit bid ended in the sixth when Stephen Drew lined a leadoff double to right field, and Dickey’s shutout bid ended on an RBI single to left by Matt Wieters in the next at bat, 1-1.
• It wasn’t tied for long: Notorious Nats-killer Freddie Freeman jacked an 0-1 slider in the first at bat of the seventh then willed it fair, just inside the pole for a solo home run that put the Braves back on top, 2-1. Freeman’s 15th.
• Ryan Zimmerman singled on a liner to center with one down in the Nats’ half of the seventh, and Dickey hit Anthony Rendon with a knuckleball inside with two out, but Stephen Drew popped out to end a 27-pitch frame that pushed Dickey up to 100 total pitches and ended his night.
• R.A. Dickey’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 100 P, 72 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
• Scherzer came back out for the eighth and struck out the first two batters he faced to reach 10 Ks for the eighth time in his last nine starts, but a two-out walk and single ended his outing after 120 pitches.
• Oliver Perez came on, and after Brandon Phillips, who singled, took second without so much as a glance or throw, Freddie Freeman drove both runners in with a single to left, 4-1 Braves.
• Max Scherzer’s Line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 120 P, 85 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
• Wilmer Difo took a one-out walk from Jose Ramirez in the Nationals’ eighth, but he was stranded two outs later. Still 4-1 ATL.
• Blake Treinen tossed a quick, scoreless top of the ninth for the Nationals.
• Jim Johnson came on for the Braves in the ninth, looking to close it out, and gave up a leadoff single by Bryce Harper, and a walk to Ryan Zimmerman... Daniel Murphy came up as the potential tying run, and lined an RBI single to right, 4-2.
Anthony Rendon stepped in with runners on the corners and no one out, and lined an RBI single to right, 4-3.
Chris Heisey grounded into a force at second for the first out of the frame, leaving two on (1st/3rd) with one out, and Matt Wieters hit a game-tying sac fly to center to bring Murphy in and tie it up, 4-4.
Wilmer Difo singled with two down, but he and Heisey were stranded, 4-4 after nine.
• Matt Grace took over in the tenth, and issued a leadoff walk to Ender Inciarte, who took second base on a sac bunt by Brandon Phillips.
Freeman got the intentionals and Matt Albers came on to face Matt Kemp, and got an inning-ending 6-4-3.
• Adrian Sanchez singled to center to start the Nationals’ tenth, with his first hit in the majors, and one out later, he took third on a single to right by Ryan Zimmerman, and he scored on a walk-off hit Daniel Murphy. Ballgame. Walk-off, D.C. You gotta believe!!!
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- With last night’s loss, the Washington Nationals fell to 121-110 in the all-time series with the Atlanta Braves (2005-present), though they are 41-18 against their NL East rivals since June 21, 2014.
- Washington is one of five teams to reach 50 wins in the so-called first half of the 2017 campaign.
- Washington’s offense started the night lading the NL in AVG (.278), OBP (.345), SLG (.472), hits (828), extra-base hits (315), runs scored (471) and RBIs (457).
- Nationals’ pitchers started the night leading the majros in Ks (553) and ranked second in WHIP (1.19), opponents’ batting average (.233), and opponents’ slugging percentage (.382), and third in ERA (3.63).
- Nationals’ starter Max Scherzer took the mound against the Braves (5-1) in seven career starts against the Braves, with a 3.38 ERA in 45 1⁄3 IP.
- JINX CORNER: Washington is now through 85 games this season without having been shut out, the only National League team and one of two in the majors (along with the New York Yankees).
- Nats’ third baseman Anthony Rendon has been worth 3.8 fWAR so far this season, the second-best fWAR in the NL at this point, behind only D-Backs’ 1B Paul Goldschmidt.
Nationals now 51-35