Atlanta Braves’ starters Max Fried and Dallas Keuchel held the Washington Nationals, who came into the series in SunTrust Park with a .285/.357/.480 line as a team versus left-handers this season, to seven hits in 13 combined scoreless innings, but late rallies against the Braves’ bullpen made things interesting in each of the first two games of the four-game set in SunTrust Park.
Fried tossed seven scoreless, giving up just one hit in the series opener, a 4-2 win for the home team, and last night it was Keuchel with six scoreless on the mound in a 4-3 game that gave the Braves 12-straight wins at home and eight in a row overall.
Atlanta led 4-0 after seven last night, when Howie Kendrick and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles off reliever Luke Jackson and Ryan Zimmerman sent a three-run home run out to left field to make it a one-run game, though the Braves held on for the win.
The Nationals had an opportunity in the first, but after back-to-back singles by Trea Turner and Kendrick, Turner was forced out at third on an Anthony Rendon fly to center field that Ronald Acuña, Jr. failed to catch but recovered in time to get an out, and Ryan Zimmerman grounded into an inning-ending double play after Juan Soto walked to load’em up.
The Nats hit back-to-back singles to start the top of the fifth as well, but Patrick Corbin K’d trying to get a bunt down, Trea Turner flew out to right field, and Howie Kendrick grounded out to short to end the threat.
They stranded two in the sixth as well, and ended up 1 for 8 overall with runners in scoring position on the night.
So what did Fried and Keuchel do to keep the Nats in check?
“They threw the ball down, effectively down,” Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ fourth loss in the last five. “All their pitches, we just couldn’t get that — like I said, in the first inning we couldn’t get that one big hit. [Keuchel] got out of a jam, and then after that he kind of settled in a little bit, and just couldn’t get really nothing going until Zim hit the homer.”
In four games back off his second stint on the Injured List this season, Zimmerman is now 4 for 13 with a double, two home runs, and seven runs driven in.
“He’s swinging the bat really well,” Martinez told reporters. “He’s playing well, and his body feels good. I joke around with him about being a September call-up, but he’s doing what he normally does when he’s healthy, and that’s a good sign.”
Zimmerman is back in there for the third of four in SunTrust Park, and Adam Eaton is back in the lineup to: