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Atlanta Braves’ lefty Max Fried retires final 19 Washington Nationals he faces in a 4-2 win in SunTrust Park

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Max Fried dominated the Nationals in the series opener in SunTrust Park, and the Braves took the series opener, 4-2, to go 8.0 games up on the Nats in the NL East.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves’ lefty Max Fried was unbeaten in eight outings heading into tonight’s series opener with the Washington Nationals, and he was unhittable (mostly), giving up a two-out single in the first, then retiring 19-straight to get through seven scoreless innings on a total of 90 pitches, with a 3-0 lead, in what ended up a 4-2 win for the home team in SunTrust Park.

Strasburg vs ATL: In three starts against the Braves before tonight, Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg was (3-0) with a 3.93 ERA, seven walks, 23 Ks, and a .257/.329/.357 line against in 18 13 IP.

The last time he started in SunTrust Park, the 31-year-old, ‘09 No. 1 overall pick gave up a total of eight hits, two walks, and three earned runs in 5 13 IP, striking out seven of the 25 batters he faced in a 13-4 win for the Nationals.

Strasburg took the mound with a five-start unbeaten streak going, over which he was (2-0) with a 2.41 ERA, seven walks, 40 Ks, and a .182/.233/.289 line against in 33 23 IP, but fell behind in the first with Ronald Acuña, Jr. singling on a line drive to left, stealing second base, and scoring on a soft pop double to left by Ozzie Albies, 1-0, before Albies scored on an RBI single to left by Freddie Freeman, 2-0.

It was still 2-0 in the fifth when Strasburg fell behind Acuña 3-0 and gave up an opposite field home run on a 95 MPH fastball the Braves’ outfielder hit out to right for a 3-0 lead.

Strasburg came back out for the bottom of the sixth at 94 pitches, and worked around a walk in a 21-pitch frame which left him at a season-high 115 pitches...

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 115 P, 71 S, 7/0 GO/FO.

Fried vs D.C.: Braves’ lefty Max Fried was unbeaten in eight outings heading into tonight’s series opener in SunTrust Park, with a (6-0) record, a 3.50 ERA, 13 walks, 53 Ks, and a solid .259/.319/.382 line against in 43 23 IP over that stretch.

He hadn’t faced the Nats since back on May 28th, when he gave up nine hits, three walks, and four earned runs in 5 23 IP in a 5-4 loss to the Braves’ NL East rivals, and Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez stacked the lineup with right-handed bats tonight, trying to take advantage of the splits for hitters against the lefty, who had a .231/.286/.331 line against vs left-handed bats this season and a .289/.344/.448 line against vs right-handed hitters, with the Nats’ line vs lefties this season (.285/.357/.480) good for 2nd/1st/2nd across the line in the NL.

Fried made it look easy through five scoreless, retiring 13 in a row after a two-out single by Anthony Rendon in the first, striking out six of the thirteen batters over that stretch.

It was 3-0 Atlanta when Fried took the mound in the sixth and set down three more for 16 outs in a row, completing six scoreless on an efficient 79 pitches, and a 1-2-3 seventh left him with 19-straight Nationals set down and 90 pitches overall.

Max Fried’s Line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 Ks, 90 P, 61 S, 6/3 GO/FO.

RendOBP: Anthony Rendon started the series opener in SunTrust Park with a 20-game on-base streak, over which the 29-year-old third baseman was 36 for 82 (.439/.500/.805) with nine doubles, seven home runs, and 10 walks (vs just 9 Ks) in 94 plate appearances going back to August 13th. Rendon beat out a grounder to third in his first at bat of the night in Atlanta, extending his streak to 21-straight.

Unfortunately, it was the Nats’ only hit after seven innings...

BULLPEN ACTION: Hunter Strickland took over on the mound for the Nats in the home-half of the seventh, and retired the Braves in order in a 15-pitch frame.

Shane Greene came on for Atlanta in the top of the eighth, with a 3-0 lead, and a streak of 11-straight scoreless innings and retired the first two batters he faced before walking Brian Dozier with two down, but he got Adam Eaton looking with a brutal backdoor 2-2 cutter to end the inning and keep the shutout going.

Roenis Elías was 11 pitches and two outs into the bottom of the eighth when he motioned to the Nationals’ dugout after delivering a pitch and immediately left the game. Update when we have one... but didn’t look good.

Fernando Rodney took over with a runner on second in a 3-1 count with two out against Brian McCann and got a ground ball to second that Brian Dozier couldn’t corral, 4-0.

Mark Melancon came on in the ninth with a 4-0 lead, and walked the first batter he faced, Gerardo Parra, then got a force at second on a grounder to short by Trea Turner, before Victor Robles hit an 0-1 fastball out to right for an opposite field blast, 4-2 Braves.

Anthony Rendon sent one out to the track in right for out No. 2, but Juan Soto singled with two out to bring the potential tying run to the plate.

Howie Kendrick stepped in next and worked the count full after falling behind 1-2, only to ground out to third to end it. 4-2 Braves.

Nationals now 78-61