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Washington Nationals even things up with 8-5 win over Atlanta Braves; Rubber match set for tomorrow night...

This time the bullpen did the job and now the Nationals and Braves will decide this three-game series tomorrow at 7:10 PM in Atlanta.

MLB: AUG 17 Nationals at Braves Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Washington’s Nationals rallied from a 5-2 deficit with a four-run fifth inning that put them up 6-5 on the Atlanta Braves in the second of three in Truist Park and this time the bullpen held on as the visitors evened things up in the three-game series. Rubber match tomorrow night at 7:10 PM. It ended 8-5 in the Nats’ favor tonight.

Luis García connected for three hits. Trea Turner, Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, Asdrúbal Cabrera, Yan Gomes, and Eric Thames all had multi-hit games, and the Nationals finished the night 8 for 20 w/ RISP...

[ed. note - “We could have said everyone but Kurt Suzuki and Victor Robles had a multi-hit games, but that just seemed mean-spirited.”]

Voth vs ATL: Though he hasn’t been going deep into his starts, Austin Voth has put up some respectable numbers in his first three outings of the 2020 campaign, with a 3.21 ERA, a 6.42 FIP, three walks, nine Ks, and a .226/.281/.491 line against through 14 IP before tonight.

“I got to sit back and watch some video on him,” Davey Martinez said after the righty gave up six hits, two walks, and three earned runs in four innings of work last time out before a start against the Braves.

“One, his velo is still down a little bit,” his manager added.

“He says he feels fine. I want to look at his lower half and see what’s going on there, I might have [seen] some things today that could help him, so we’ll take a lot at that stuff.

“We got to get him through at least 5-6 innings. That’s the next step for him is to go deeper into games.”

Back-to-back-to-back hits to start the bottom of the first were not the ideal way to begin a long outing, but Dansby Swanson doubled, Freddie Freeman singled, and Travis d’Arnaud hit the second two-bagger of the inning in the at bat that followed to bring Swanson in and make it 1-0 Braves early.

A one-out walk to Ender Inciarte and a single to Austin Riley and by Ender Inciarte put two on in the bottom of the second, and a two-out walk to Freeman loaded the bases, but a Travis d’Arnaud fly to right ended the threat and a 23-pitch second by Voth.

The third walk of the game for the Nationals’ starter put Adam Duvall on with two out in the Braves’ third, and Johan Camargo doubled in the next at bat, then Austin Riley hit a two-run single to left that brought both runners in, 3-2 Atlanta.

Freddie Freeman stepped in with a runner on and one out in the Braves’ fourth and hit a 1-2 fastball that was up and over the middle of the plate out to right for a two-run blast that put the Braves up by three, 5-2.

Austin Voth’s Line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 2 Ks, 1 HR, 83 P, 52 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Tomlin vs D.C.: In eighth games out of the bullpen for the Braves before his first start of the season tonight, veteran righty Josh Tomlin had a 1.59 ERA, three walks, 16 strikeouts, and a stingy .154/.214/.179 line against in 11 13 IP. He made just one start for Atlanta in 2019, but a chance to return to the rotation, he said, was something he welcomed.

“You never really lose that starter mentality, you just go to the bullpen and kind of develop a new mentality for that particular role you’re in,” Tomlin told AJC writer Sarah K. Spencer.

“But I’ve started for eight or nine years of my career, so this isn’t going to be anything new to me, for sure.”

Tomlin tossed a scoreless, 13-pitch first, but back-to-back, one-out singles by Kurt Suzuki and Luis Garcia in the second and a two-out RBI single by Eric Thames got the visitors on the board, 1-1, after the Braves had jumped out to an early lead.

Adam Eaton doubled with one down in the third, and scored after an intentional walk to Juan Soto, when Asdrúbal Cabrera sent a ground ball to right that brought Eaton in, 2-1.

That was all Tomlin gave up through four and he was replaced on the mound after he gave up a leadoff double in the top of the fourth...

Josh Tomlin’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks, 51 P, 36 S, 5/0 GO/FO.

Gomes Gets Going: Going into tonight’s game, Yan Gomes, who started the season with an 0 for 13 stretch, was 6 for 16 (.375 AVG) with a double, four RBIs, one walk and three runs in a four-game hit streak.

“He’s swinging at more strikes,” Manager Davey Martinez said in his pregame Zoom call this afternoon when asked what was working for his catcher at the plate.

“That’s always good for him,” Martinez added. “He’s got to get the ball down in the strike zone.

“Anything elevated he struggles with, but he’s getting ready, he’s on time a lot better. That’s something that happens, especially at the beginning of the season, your timing is a little off, and he’s corrected it and he’s swinging the bat really well.

“Yan, as we all know, he’s unbelievable behind the plate. When that bat gets going, he can do some damage. We need that bat to get going.”

Gomes was 0 for 2 to start the night in Atlanta, but he came through with a bases-loaded single in the fifth that tied things up at 5-5 (and extended his hit streak).

Gomes ended the night 2 for 4 (8 for 20 on the five-game hit streak).

BULLPEN ACTION: Tyler Matzek took over for the Braves with a 5-2 lead in the fifth and got knocked around a bit with Trea Turner tripling to right and scoring an opposite field single off Adam Eaton’s bat, 5-3. Eaton scored on an opposite field single by Juan Soto, and then Yan Gomes came through with bases-loaded RBI single as well as the Nationals tied things up at 5-5 and sent Matzek packing.

A.J. Minter got out No. 2 on an Eric Thames’ grounder to first, but Asdrúbal Cabrera, who’d singled his way on, scored from third on the play to put the Nationals on top, 6-5.

Victor Robles took a two-out walk as the Nationals batted around in the fifth, and Turner got a bases-loaded opportunity he failed to cash in, grounding out to leave the visitors 6 for 15 w/ RISP to that point.

Wander Suero took over on the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the fifth, and gave up a one-out single and a two-out shot to center by Austin Riley that almost went out ... but Victor Robles leapt at the wall and brought it back in with a spectacular catch that kept the Nats up by a run, 6-5.

Juan Soto doubled off Minter with one down in the sixth and the Braves went to the bullpen with two out and Darren O’Day got out No. 3 without any damage.

Seth Romero got the call for the Nationals in a one-run game in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to center by Ender Inciarte. Dansby Swanson bunted into an out as he popped the attempt up to first and Romero took the out at second. Freddie Freeman hit a pop to right for out No. 2, and Dakota Bacus took over on the mound and got a grounder to third and a force at second to end the inning.

O’Day set the Nationals down in order in the top of the seventh.

Will Harris worked around leadoff and one-out singles and a two-out error on a pick attempt at second that put both runners in scoring position before he got out No. 3 on a fly to right by Austin Riley. Still 6-5 Nationals.

Victor Robles doubled to the right-center gap off righty Shane Greene to start the eighth, and he scored from second on a Trea Turner single in the next at bat, 7-5.

Javy Guerra walked Ender Inciarte and gave up a single to center by Dansby Swanson, and Freddie Freeman stepped in next, but sent a fly to center for out No. 1. Davey Martinez took the ball from Guerra (not literally, you know, COVID).

Kyle Finnegan came on with runners on first and third and one out and Travis d’Arnaud at the plate and they went to a full count before d’Arnaud K’d swinging through a slider, and his backswing caught Yan Gomes behind the plate, so Swanson, who’d swiped second on the pitch, was forced to go back to first. Marcell Ozuna came on with two on and two out, fell behind 0-2 quickly and popped out to right to end the threat. Still 7-5 Nationals.

Mark Melancon walked Luis García and Yan Gomes singled, both with two out, and Eric Thames drove García in with an opposite field single, 8-5. Victor Robles walked as well, loading the bases with two down, but Trea Turner grounded out to end the inning.

Daniel Hudson came on for another shot at a save after last night’s blow-up and retired the Braves in order to end it. Ballgame.

Final Score: 8-5 Nationals

Nationals now 9-12