Anthony Rendon hit a two-run “triple” in the bottom of the first, extending a hit streak to ten straight games, and he scored the third run of the inning for the Washington Nationals, who ended up beating the Atlanta Braves, 6-2, in a rain-delayed-and-interrupted, intra-divisional matchup in the nation’s capital.
Max Scherzer wasn’t particularly sharp, or bad either, as the Nationals’ ace managed to hold the Braves to two runs on eight hits in a 107-pitch outing, earning his 13th win of the season (W, 13-5).
Scherzer vs Atlanta: Max Scherzer earned back-to-back wins in his last two starts of the so-called first half of the 2018 campaign.
This afternoon in the nation’s capital, the Nationals’ ace was going up Atlanta’s Braves for the third time this season after facing them in back-to-back outings back in April.
In the first, Scherzer gave up six hits and five runs, two earned, over five innings on the road in SunTrust Park in which he threw 110 pitches, then he bounced back at home, throwing a complete game, 102-pitch shutout.
With this strikeout, Max Scherzer moved into the top 50 all-time in career Ks. pic.twitter.com/2arXjvqSc6— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 22, 2018
His third start of the season against the Nats’ NL East rivals began with a long-ish, but ultimately scoreless, 26-pitch first.
Scherzer took the mound with a 3-0 lead in the second inning and gave up back-to-back, one-out hits, a single by Johan Camargo, and a double by Ender Inciarte. Camargo came home from third on an RBI groundout by Dansby Swanson, 3-1.
Scherzer kept it there through three, but after a one-out walk and two-out single in the top of the fourth inning, Swanson got hold of a 3-2 fastball up a bit at the bottom of the zone, that he lined to right for an RBI single that made it a one-run game, 3-2 Nationals.
Adam Eaton robbed Freddie Freeman of a potential extra base hit with a runner on first in the fifth, and that runner, Charlie Culberson, was caught stealing for the third out of an 11-pitch inning by Scherzer, who was up to 97 pitches total after five.
Scherer erased a Nick Markakis’ single in the sixth with a 4-6-4 DP in the next AB, and got a swinging K on his 107th pitch to end his outing.
Max Scherzer’s Line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 107 P, 72 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
F-O-L-T-Y-N-E-W-I-C-Z [DING!!]: Braves’ 2018 All-Star Mike Foltynewicz split his first two starts against the Nationals this season, with a win at home in SunTrust Park and a loss when he faced Atlanta’s NL East rivals in Washington in the next outing back in April.
In his third start of the season against the Nationals, the 26-year-old right-hander tossed a complete game shutout, giving up just two hits total and striking out 11 of 29 batters.
“He was really good,” Davey Martinez told reporters after that loss.
“I mean really. I’ve seen him pitch a lot on video, and he was real, real good. Kudos to him. We couldn’t get nothing going.”
The Nationals got something off Foltynewicz early this afternoon. Adam Eaton singled and moved up on a walk by Bryce Harper and both runners scored when Anthony Rendon went with a 98 mph 0-1 fastball outside and punched it to right for a two-run double*, 2-0.
[ed. note - “ * = It was ruled a triple after the fact.”]
Rendon took third on the throw home on his 26th double of 2018, then scored on a Juan Soto chopper to the right side in the next at bat, 3-0.
We would like to request some backpack emojis. pic.twitter.com/4awLV19va1— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 22, 2018
Foltynewicz kept it there as the Braves chipped away at the lead, and a scoreless, nine-pitch fifth left him at 67 pitches in what was by then a 3-2 game.
Back-to-back, two-out singles by Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto and a base-loading walk by Matt Adams loaded the bases in front of Daniel Murphy, but Murphy sent a roller out to first on Foltynewicz’s 97th pitch of the game.
Back-to-back, two-out singles in the sixth ended the Braves’ starter’s outing...
Mike Foltynewicz’s Line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 112 P, 75 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
10-game hit streak: Nationals’ third baseman Anthony Rendon started the afternoon with a nine-game hitting streak going, over which he was 11 for 35 (.314/.368/.600) with a double, three home runs, three walks, and seven Ks. He extended it to a 10-game hit streak with a double to right field in his first at bat of the afternoon, driving in two runs with an opposite field liner off Braves’ starter Mike Foltynewicz, then scored from third base for the Nats’ third run of the game. He was 2 for 3 on the day after he singled with two out in the fifth.
BULLPEN ACTION: Lefty Sam Freeman took over for the Braves with two on and two out in the sixth and Bryce Harper at the plate, and Harper connected for the third straight two-out hit, lining a 2-2 curve to right field to bring Adam Eaton home, 4-2 Nationals. Right-hander Shane Carle came on to face Rendon, and got an inning-ending groundout out of the Nats’ third baseman.
Bryce's two-out RBI single gives us a two-run lead in the 6th! pic.twitter.com/b074khjX8I— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 22, 2018
After a rain storm delayed the start of the game for two hours, the tarp came out again after the bottom of the sixth...
Matt Grace took over on the mound for the Nationals once play resumed, following an hour and 38-minute delay, and gave up a leadoff single, but got two outs (on a leaping play in center field by Michael A. Taylor and a diving play at third by Anthony Rendon), before Davey Martinez went to the pen again for Ryan Madson, who gave up an infield single by Ronald Acuna, Jr. on a chopper toward third, but got out No. 3 on a line drive to right off of Charlie Culberson’s bat.
Juan Soto doubled to left on a 3-1 curve from Luke Jackson in the first at bat of the Nats’ half of the seventh, No. 12 of 2018, and he scored on an RBI single to center by Matt Adams, 5-2.
Sammy Solis gave up leadoff and one-out singles in the Braves’ eighth, so Martinez went to the pen again for Kelvin Herrera who got two quick outs (one a little scary).
Bryce Harper homered to center on a 1-0 fastball from Dan Winkler to put the Nationals up 6-2, connecting for his 24th of 2018, and Herrera came back for a scoreless ninth, working around a two-out double by Ronald Acuna, Jr. and an infield single by Charlie Culberson.
Final Score: 6-2 Nationals
Nationals now 49-49