Washington’s Nationals scored five runs in the first three innings, with two-run home runs by both Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, and they held on for a 6-4 win over Atlanta in the series finale in SunTrust Park, taking two of three from the Braves in the final matchup between the NL East rivals this season.
Roark vs the Braves: Tanner Roark took the mound today in SunTrust Park winless in his last five outings at (0-3), with a 5.84 ERA, no walks, 17 Ks, and a .307/.307/.554 line against in 24 2⁄3 IP over that stretch.
It’s been a season of streaks for Roark, who went unbeaten in five starts before the current stretch (5-0, 1.77 ERA, 5 BB, 28 Ks, .214/.246/.282 line against in 35 2⁄3 IP), after a seven-start winless streak (0-6, 7.68 ERA, 18 BB, 33 Ks, .364/.436/.539 in 36 1⁄3 IP).
Roark took the mound this afternoon with a 3-0 lead, and tossed three scoreless innings on 47 pitches, working his way out of a two-on, no-out jam in the Braves’ third by retiring Ronald Acuña, Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman in order after the first two batters reached base.
Roark issued a two-out walk to Ender Inciarte in the fourth, and Tyler Flowers managed to get to a 3-2 fastball up high inside and powered it out to left for a two-out, two-run home run that got the Braves on the board, 5-2.
Nick Markakis doubled to right field and Charlie Culberson singled in back-to-back at bats with one down in the Braves’ half of the sixth before Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez decided to go to the pen...
Tanner Roark’s Line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 54 S, 95 P, 54 S.
Newcomb vs the Nationals: In three starts against the Nationals before this afternoon’s in the series finale in SunTrust Park, Braves’ left-hander Sean Newcomb was (1-1) with a 4.15 ERA, eight walks, 14 Ks, and a .222/.306/.365 line against in 17 1⁄3 IP.
Five of the eight earned runs Newcomb allowed came in his first outing against Atlanta’s NL East rivals this season, which saw him give up five hits, four walks, and six runs, five earned over 4 1⁄3 IP in his 2018 debut back on April 2nd.
He followed that up with a seven-inning outing on May 31st in Atlanta in which he gave up four hits, two walks, and two earned runs in a 4-2 win, and the southpaw held the Nats to five hits, two walks, and one earned run over six innings in an August 7th start in Nationals Park which the Braves won, 3-1.
This afternoon in SunTrust Park, Newcomb fell behind early when he gave up a two-run shot to center by Bryce Harper, who hit a 94 mph 1-1 fastball out to center for his 34th home run of the season and a 2-0 lead. Anthony Rendon walked in the next at bat, took third on Juan Soto’s single, and scored on a groundout by Ryan Zimmerman, 3-0.
No. 34 for No. 3⃣4⃣ pic.twitter.com/kO7vqcpf8B— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 16, 2018
Harper walked in front of Rendon to lead off the top of the third, and scored when Rendon hit a first-pitch fastball out to right field for an opposite field blast and a 5-0 lead. No. 20 of 2018 for Rendon. Newcomb’s 31-pitch third pushed him up to 73 pitches and ended his day.
Sean Newcomb’s Line: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 73 P, 45 S, 2/2 GO/FO.
Soto Streaking: Juan Soto extended his on-base streak to 20 straight games in Saturday’s win, and the 19-year-old phenom had hits in nine straight games going into this afternoon’s series finale in SunTrust Park, over which he was 13 for 37 (.351 AVG) with two doubles, four home runs, nine RBIs, six walks, three steals, and nine runs scored. He extended both of the streaks with a single in the top of the first.
Rendon’s own streak: Anthony Rendon is streaking as well. Rendon entered the series finale in SunTrust Park with a 24-game on-base streak going, over which he was 30 for 96, for a .313 AVG, with 11 doubles, three home runs, 13 RBIs, 14 walks, two stolen bases, and 20 runs scored. He extended the streak with a walk in his first plate appearance, then hit a two-run home run to right the second time up, putting the Nationals up 5-0. with his 20th home run of the season.
BULLPEN ACTION: Kyle Wright came on for Atlanta in the top of the fourth, and put the first two batters he faced on base, walking Tanner Roark before giving up a single to right field by Victor Robles. One out later, Bryce Harper walked to load the bases in front of Anthony Rendon, who got up 3-0, and took a low pitch that should have been ball four before he hit a soft liner to short right for out No. 2. Juan Soto? Fly to left for out No. 3.
Wright returned in the fifth and retired the Nationals in order, to keep it a three-run game.
Bob: "That's going to be really hard for Rendon to make the play..."— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 16, 2018
Victor Robles not to be outdone. pic.twitter.com/zJa48Z9bXC— Nationals on MASN (@masnNationals) September 16, 2018
Shane Carle retired the Nats in order in the sixth.
Tim Collins inherited a first-and-third, one-out jam in the bottom of the sixth and struck Ender Inciarte out before Davey Martinez went to the pen again for Wander Suero, who struck Lucas Duda out to strand both runners.
Carle came back out with another scoreless inning in the top of the seventh.
Suero worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless bottom of the seventh and 1 1⁄3 scoreless overall.
Chad Sobotka worked around a walk to Matt Wieters in a scoreless top of the eighth.
Matt Grace gave up a one-out single by Nick Markakis, prompting Martinez to go to the pen for Greg Holland against Charlie Culberson, who hit a 2-0 fastball out to left field for a two-run blast, 5-4 Nats. Culberson’s 12th of the season and sixth against the Nationals. Holland got the next two outs to preserve the one-run lead.
Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back, two-out singles in the top of the ninth, and Juan Soto singled to center to bring Harper in and make it a 6-4 game.
Sean Doolittle came on for the save opportunity and retired the Braves in order to end it.
Final Score: 6-4 Nationals
Nationals now 76-74