Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was pleased to see the Nats’ bats break out in the second and third games of the series with the Minnesota Twins, culminating in a 12-run, 14-hit finale in Target Field, which followed a 5-0 loss and a 6-2 win over the American League Central’s first-place club.
“We’re swinging the bats again, which is nice,” Martinez said. “For a while there we haven’t swung the bats well, and now we’re starting to swing the bats, we’re working good at bats, and that’s what I like.”
One night later, however, the Nationals were stymied by Atlanta Braves’ starter Mike Soroka, who gave up seven hits (three homers) and four runs total in the finale of the four-game set in SunTrust Field last weekend, in Washington’s only win in that series.
Soroka threw six scoreless last night in the nation’s capital, allowing just one hit and three walks in what ended up a 5-0 win for the Braves.
What was different for Soroka and the Nationals this time around?
“He was very effective in throwing everything over the plate today, didn’t fall behind much, attacked the strike zone with everything,” Martinez told reporters.
“His changeup was really good today, and kept us off-balance. I think [Adam] Eaton was the only one guy that got a hit off him. We hit some balls hard, but he was good.”
Eaton doubled off Soroka to lead off the fourth, but was stranded three outs later, and the Nationals didn’t get another hit until Victor Robles doubled to lead off the eighth, with the Braves’ reliever Shane Greene on the mound at that point. Robles was stranded three outs later as well.
Juan Soto’s two-out double in the ninth, off Jerry Blevins, was the Nationals’ only other hit in the shutout loss.
This afternoon, the Nationals go up against right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, who’s unbeaten in his last 10 starts, with a 4.28 ERA, 25 walks, 51 Ks, and a .249/.329/.388 line against in 54 2⁄3 IP over that stretch.
The Nats have now lost 10 of the last 14 to their divisional rivals, with two to play against the Braves in 2019...
NOTE: Raudy Read gets the start today, with Yan Gomes getting a day off.