On a humid night in Atlanta, Georgia’s SunTrust Park, hard-throwing right-handers Stephen Strasburg and Mike Fotlynewicz had themselves on old-fashioned pitchers’ duel as the first-place Braves and second-place Washington Nationals played the second game of their four-game series with the NL East division lead on the line.
Foltynewicz retired 20-straight batters after giving up a one-out single by Bryce Harper in the first.
Strasburg matched him through six innings but back-to-back singles by Nick Markakis and Kurt Suzuki in the bottom of the seventh and an E:3 by Matt Adams on a grounder toward first by Johan Camaro brought in a run, 1-0 Braves.
One out later, a hanging curve inside to Dansby Swanson ended up in the left field seats for a three-run blast that blew things open, 4-0.
Strasburg vs the Braves: Stephen Strasburg went just five innings in his last start, a 5-2 win in Miami, in what was his shortest outing of the 2018 campaign so far. He held the Marlins off the board in Marlins Park, giving up three hits and two walks, while striking out eight of the 21 batters he faced in a 103-pitch outing, which left him with a (4-1) record in five May starts, a 2.51 ERA, 2.87 FIP, nine walks (2.51 BB/9), 40 Ks (11.13 K/9), and a .219/.285/.356 line against in 32 1⁄3 innings for the month.
Tonight in SunTrust Park, in his second start of the season against the Braves, the 29-year-old right-hander, who tossed eight scoreless against Nationals’ NL East rivals when he faced them in Washington on April 10th, was much more efficient than he was against the Fish, completing five scoreless on 67 pitches, striking out seven of 18 batters and giving up just four hits.
After an 11-pitch sixth, Strasburg was up to 78 pitches total, with seven in a row set down, but Nick Markakis singled to right on a 1-2 fastball belt-high inside that the veteran Braves’ outfielder lined to right, and a single to left by Kurt Suzuki sent Markakis around to third before a weak grounder toward first by Johan Camargo brought in the first run for either side, 1-0 Atlanta.
An E:3 on Matt Adams on the Camargo grounder, left runners on first and second, with no one out, and one out later, a hanging 1-2 curveball inside to Dansby Swanson ended up ten rows back in the left field seats for a three-run blast that blew things open, 4-0 Braves.
Strasburg appeared to have cramping in his left (glove) hand after getting the first out of the seventh, and since he was up to 107 pitches, Davey Martinez went to the bullpen...
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 10 Ks, 1 HR, 107 P, 77 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Folty vs D.C.: After giving up nine hits, two walks, and six earned runs in five innings in a 9-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants on May 4th, Braves’ right-hander Mike Foltynewicz had held his opponents to one earned run or fewer in four consecutive outings heading into tonight’s matchup with the Nationals, putting up a 0.78 ERA, 12 walks, 26 Ks, and a .183/.287/.293 line against in 23 IP over that stretch.
He was facing the Nats for the third time this season tonight, having earned a win in a start in SunTrust Park on April 4th (5 1⁄3 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 8 Ks) before suffering a loss in his next outing (5 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 3 Ks) on April 10th in the nation’s capital.
Foltynewicz was back in the Braves’ home tonight, where he worked around a one-out hit by Bryce Harper in the first, and retired 11-straight after the single to finish four scoreless on 57 pitches, striking out six of the first 13 batters he faced.
He was up to 14-straight after five, 17 after another 1-2-3 frame in the sixth, and 20 in a row after he set the Nationals down in order in a seven-pitch seventh that left him at just 81 on the night.
Juan Soto walked to start the eighth inning and snap the streak of retired batters, but he was out at second on a force on a Brian Goodwin grounder, and Goodwin got picked off first before Pedro Severino K’d looking to end the inning.
Foltynewicz came back out for the ninth inning and worked around a two-out single for the complete game shutout.
Mike Foltynewicz’s Line: 9.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 106 P, 73 S, 9/0 GO/FO.
Markakis!!!: In a bid for NL Player of the Month in May, Braves’ right fielder Nick Markakis went 42 for 116 (.362/.397/.534) with 11 doubles and three home runs in 29 games and 116 plate appearances. Markakis started the night 9 for 31 (.290/.353/.452) with two doubles and one home run vs Stephen Strasburg in his career, but it was a line drive single to right that got things started what ended up being a four-run inning that was the difference in Atlanta’s second straight win.
BULLPEN ACTION: Sammy Solis got the final out of the seventh. Tim Collins got the eighth for the Nationals, and got a double play out of Nick Markakis after a leadoff single to right by Freddie Freeman. Ryan Madson took over with two out and walked the first batter off the DL before getting a weak groundout to end the bottom of the eighth.
Foltynewicz came back out for the ninth and worked around a two-out single to end it.
Final Score: 4-0 Braves.
Nationals now 32-24