Aníbal Sánchez retired the first 16 batters he faced in his return to Washington’s rotation tonight in Atlanta’s SunTrust Park, and he had a 14-0 lead to work with at that point, but Ozzie Albies broke up his bid for a perfect game with a one-out single in the sixth.
Sánchez returns vs Atlanta: Pitching in the Braves’ rotation last season, Aníbal Sánchez put up a 3.00 ERA, a 3.84 FIP, 1.91 BB/9, 8.18 K/9, and a .220/.268/.388 line against in 66 innings on the mound in Atlanta’s SunTrust Park.
Sánchez came off the 10-Day Injured List, (after he missed two turns in the rotation dealing with a left hamstring injury), in time to take on his former team in the second game of two for the Nationals in the Braves’ home.
Sánchez had a 4-0 lead to work with after one, and an 8-0 lead after two, and he retired the first nine batters he faced on 37 pitches.
The Nationals added a run in the fourth, and three fly ball outs in the bottom of the inning made it 12 Braves’ hitters up and down, and it was 14-0 when Sánchez took the mound in the fifth and made it 15-straight outs to start the game with another 1-2-3 frame.
Sánchez struck Tyler Flowers out to make it 16 straight outs, but Ozzie Albies jumped on a first-pitch fastball in the next at bat, sending a soft liner to center for the Braves’ first hit in the bottom of the sixth.
A walk to Charlie Culberson in the next at bat put two runners on, but a backwards K and a grounder to short got Sánchez through his sixth scoreless on 80 pitches.
Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 80 P, 52 S, 4/6 GO/FO.
Aníbal Sánchez threw 69 pitches of perfect baseball before surrendering the lone hit.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 30, 2019
(It was a single.) pic.twitter.com/sz2RLE0Ws9
Gausman vs Washington: Braves’ starter Kevin Gausman snapped a six-start winless streak, over which he was (0-3) with a 6.21 ERA, 13 walks, 33 Ks, and a .255/.333/.455 line against in 29 innings, with a strong, six-inning outing on the road in Arizona in which he held D-Backs’ hitters to a run on five hits in a 6-4 win.
In three starts since, the veteran right-hander was (1-0) with a 3.00 ERA, six walks, 16 Ks, and a .224/.299/.313 line against in 18 IP.
Gausman ran into trouble early in the second of two with the Nationals tonight, giving up back-to-back, one-out hits and a base-loading walk that set Howie Kendrick up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in with a sac fly to right that made it 1-0 early. Matt Adams followed with an RBI single to center, 2-0.
Kurt Suzuki got a grounder through the shift, up the middle, to drive in the third run, 3-0, on Gausman’s 25th pitch of the first. Victor Robles followed with a line drive to center field for the third two-out hit, driving in the fourth run, 4-0.
Trea Turner singled and Eaton walked to start the Nationals’ half of the second and Anthony Rendon followed with a two-run triple to right field, 6-0, and 7-0 when Rendon scored on an RBI single by Juan Soto. That was it for Gausman...
Kevin Gausman’s Line: 1.0 IP, 8 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 42 P, 26 S, 1/1 GO/FO.
Soto and Rendon are Streaking: Juan Soto singled in his second at bat last night, extending his career-best hit streak to 12-straight games, over which he was gone 20 for 45 (for a .444 AVG), with six doubles, a triple, two home runs, six walks, and nine runs scored.
The streak took Soto from a .228/.345/.415 line to .286/.386/.506 on the season heading into tonight’s matchup in Atlanta.
Juan Soto walked in his first trip to the plate against Braves’ righty Kevin Gausman, and he extended his hit streak the second time up, singling to drive in a run.
Anthony Rendon started the night with 15-game on-base streak, over which he’d gone 18 for 53 (.340/.478/.717), recording six doubles, a triple, four home runs, 14 walks (including three last night), and 16 runs scored over that stretch.
Rendon singled the first time up, to extend his streak to 16-straight games in which he’s reached base.
BULLPEN ACTION: Touki Toussaint took over for the Braves with a runner on and one out in a 7-0 game in the second, hit Howie Kendrick, and walked Matt Adams, loading the bases with no one out, and the Nationals’ eighth run of the game scored on a grounder to short by Victor Robles, 8-0.
Toussaint tossed a scoreless third, but Juan Soto took him deep to left-center on a 95 MPH 3-2 fastball in the first at bat of the fourth, 9-0 Nats. No. 9 for Soto in 2019.
Dan Winkler got the ball for the Braves in the top of the fifth inning, and gave up a one-out triple by Trea Turner and walks to Adam Eaton and Juan Soto, loading them up in front of Howie Kendrick, whose base-clearing double to right to make it a 12-0 game. Matt Adams followed with a two-run home run to right that made it 14-0.
Sean Newcomb worked around a single and a walk for a scoreless sixth.
Jerry Blevins tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to keep it a two-touchdown game.
Kyle McGowin took over for the Nats in the bottom of the seventh and surrendered three straight singles as the Braves loaded the bases with no one out, and Austin Riley hit an 0-1 sinker out to left-center in the next at bat for a grand slam, 14-4.
Jacob Webb kept it a 10-run game with a scoreless top of the eighth against the Nats.
McGowin returned to the mound in the bottom of the eighth and struck out the side in a 13-pitch frame.
Josh Tomlin tossed a scoreless top of the ninth for the Braves.
McGowin got another inning of work in the bottom of the inning and worked around a two-out single to end it. Ballgame.
Nationals now 24-32