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Washington Nationals drop 8-0 decision to Atlanta Braves: Nats come out flat in first game after clinching...

Washington’s Nationals looked like a team that clinched their division on Sunday in tonight’s 8-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Without Bryce Harper around to crush his pitches, Atlanta Braves’ righty Julio Teheran looked much more comfortable on the mound in the nation’s capital tonight, throwing seven scoreless in what ended up an 8-0 win over the Washington Nationals.

Dusty Baker’s Nats looked a lot like a team that clinched their division on Sunday and had a day off to recover on Monday, coming out flat in their first game after locking up the NL East with their 88th win (and a Miami Marlins’ loss) this past weekend. Maybe play the kids again? They were good on Sunday. I kid.

Teheran held the Nationals to seven hits total and two walks in his time on the mound, and Gio Gonzalez threw 90 pitches in five innings, giving up seven hits and five earned runs before he was done for the night.

Gonzalez did, however, reach 180 IP on the year with the first out he recorded tonight, which guaranteed him a $12M salary with the Nationals for 2018, which is regrettable for the left-hander, who could probably have cashed in this winter with a significant free agent deal after the way he’s pitched so far in 2017 (14-7 after taking the loss, 2.68 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 70 walks, 3.41 BB/9, and 171 Ks, 8.33 K/9 in 184 23 IP).

Nationals now 88-56

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:

Braves’ infielder Ozzie Albies singled with one down in the first, stole second base (SB No. 3), and scored on a two-out RBI single by Matt Kemp, who hit a 1-1 fastball to left field to put the Braves up early, 1-0.

Ender Inciarte walked to start the Braves’ half of third and took third base when Michael A. Taylor bobbled the ball on a single to center by Albies. Freddie Freeman stepped in with runners on the corners and no one out, missed swinging at a 3-0 changeup, then crushed a 3-1 fastball, sending a three-run homer onto the patch of grass behind the center field fence, 4-0 Braves. Freeman’s 26th... and the first home run by a left-handed hitter off Gonzalez this season.

• #Treamendous #Treange:

Johan Carmago hit an 0-1 change to center field for a leadoff double in the Braves’ fourth, and he scored two outs later on an opposite field double to left by Inciarte, 5-0.

Gio Gonzalez’s night wrapped up with a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth that left him at 90 pitches total.

• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 90 P, 60 S, 5/2 GO/FO.

Julio Teheran completed five scoreless on 71 pitches, working around four hits and a walk.

A.J. Cole took over on the mound for the Nationals in the sixth and gave up back-to-back, two-out hits, a double by Dansby Swanson and an RBI single by Teheran, 6-0.

Ozzie Albies took A.J. Cole deep in the first at bat of the seventh, crushing a center-cut 3-0 fastball and hitting a solo shot to right to make it 7-0, and Matt Kemp doubled to left and scored one out later on a Kurt Suzuki double that made it 8-0.

The Nationals put two runners on in the sixth and seventh innings, but stranded all four as Teheran completed seven scoreless on 101 pitches.

• Julio Teheran’s Line: 7.0 IP 7 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 101 P, 66 S, 8/3 GO/FO.

Enny Romero handled the top of the ninth, working around a leadoff single in a 16-pitch, 10-strike frame.

Luke Jackson tossed a scoreless eighth for the Braves and came back out for another scoreless frame in the ninth. Ballgame. Final Score: 8-0 Braves.

NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:

  • Washington starts this week’s three-game set against Atlanta with a 123-111 lead in the all-time series with the Braves, and the Nationals hold a slight 7-6 edge over the Braves in the 2017 series between the NL East rivals.
  • Washington’s division title this season earned the Nationals the seventh postseason appearance by the D.C.-based team in 84 seasons of baseball in the nation’s capital (1924, 1925, 1933, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017).
  • Washington clinched the NL East on September 10th this season, the earlier division title they’ve claimed, besting the previous record of September 16th in 2014.
  • Washington’s 88-55 record is the second-best in the majors, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers (92-52).
  • This October’s postseason appearance will be Dusty Baker’s ninth as a manager, making him one of only six managers to reach that mark.
  • Nationals’ starters began the night with a combined 2.60 ERA in their last 32 starts going back to August 9th, leading the NL with the lowest ERA over that stretch.
  • Washington’s offense starts the series leading the NL in SLG (.456), runs scored (748), and OPS (.791), and ranked second in AVG (.269), and extra-base hits (502).
  • Anthony Rendon is starting the series at 6.4 fWAR, leading the NL and tied for second in the majors.

Nationals now 88-56