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Washington Nationals drop seventh straight in 7-1 loss to Atlanta Braves

Davey Martinez’s squad is scuffling and the return of Ronald Acuña, Jr. didn’t help their cause...

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves - Game One Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Ronald Acuña, Jr. went 2 for 2 with two home runs and a walk against Washington Nationals’ starter Austin Voth in the Atlanta Braves’ outfielder’s return to the lineup after he missed two weeks with left wrist inflammation.

Acuña, Jr. led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot to center that just cleared the wall, and then hit a two-run blast in the fourth that went well over it to put the home team up 5-1 in what ended up a 7-1 win in the first game of today’s doubleheader in Truist Park.

Voth vs ATL: In spite of his struggles, which have resulted in a 12.51 ERA and a .422/.507/.781 line against in his last four starts and 13 23 IP, Davey Martinez decided to stick with the Nats’ No. 5 starter, Austin Voth, for the first game of today’s doubleheader with the Braves.

“I have confidence in Voth,” Martinez said. “We made him the fifth starter. He’s gone through a funk, I watched his bullpen the other day, we worked on some things, so hopefully he goes out there and with a seven-inning game, if he can give us 4-5 good innings we should be in good shape.”

Voth, 28, got off to a rough start, when Ronald Acuña, Jr. hit a 1-2 curve out to center that cleared the wall. Acuña tossed his bat in anger thinking he’d missed one, but it sailed out and put the Braves up 1-0 early. No. 6 for Atlanta’s outfielder.

Voth walked Acuña the second time up in the third, and Dansby Swanson drove him in with a two-run home run to left-center on a first-pitch curve, 3-0 Braves. Swanson’s 6th.

Acuña got Voth again in the fourth, hitting a 2-1 cutter out to center for a two-run blast that put the Braves up by four, 5-1.

Voth came back out for the fifth and got two outs around a double by Marcell Ozuna before he was lifted...

Austin Voth’s Line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 3 HRs, 88 P, 59 S, 3/1 GO/FO.

Milone vs D.C.: Tommy Milone, a 2008 10th Round pick by the Nationals, who debuted with the club in 2011, then was traded that winter, made two starts against his former team with the Orioles earlier this season, before he was dealt to Atlanta at the deadline this week.

In the first outing, the left-hander held the Nationals scoreless through six innings, but he gave up nine hits and six runs (three earned) in four innings the second time out, in the first of three straight losses which preceded his trade to the Braves.

His third start of the season against the Braves’ NL East rivals began with two scoreless on 36 pitches, but Victor Robles bunted his way on with one out in the third, and sped around to third base on a Trea Turner single in the next at bat, only to have Howie Kendrick ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP. Three scoreless for Milone.

Asdrúbal Cabrera bounced a leadoff triple off the brick wall in right to start the fourth and scored on a fly to left by Yan Gomes that Braves’ left fielder, Adam Duvall, pulled back over the low wall, so sac fly instead of a two-run shot, 3-1 Atlanta.

Tommy Milone’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 65 P, 43 S, 3/4 GO/FO.

Soto Scratched: Juan Soto was initially part of the Nationals’ lineup for today’s game, but he was scratched just before the scheduled start time with what the club’s PR team described on Twitter as left elbow soreness. Davey Martinez had already talked to reporters before the news came out, so there was no information on what caused it or the extent of the issue.

BULLPEN ACTION: Darren O’Day worked around a single by Victor Robles in a 13-pitch fifth.

Dakota Bacus inherited a runner on second with two out in the fifth when he took over for Austin Voth.

Bacus gave up a single to center by Austin Riley that moved Marcell Ozuna to third, but he stranded both runners when he struck Adam Duvall out to end the inning. 5-1 Braves.

Shane Greene stranded a two-out walk in a scoreless top of the sixth.

Bacus came back out for the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back singles to start the frame, and a one-out, two-run fly to left by Dansby Swanson that made it 7-1 Braves.

A.J. Minter came on to wrap it up, and gave up a two-out single by Victor Robles (3 for 4), but stranded the only runner to reach base in the ninth seventh.

[ed. note - “Don’t ask us why there are only Braves’ highlights above. It should be obvious.”]

Final Score: 7-1 Braves

Nationals now 12-24