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Washington Nationals drop second straight to Atlanta Braves, 5-3 final in D.C.

Another day, another grand slam for the Braves, and another loss for the Nationals...

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

This time it was a position player hitting a grand slam at least, but after Atlanta Braves’ right-hander Huascar Ynoa blew things open with a slam in Tuesday night’s series opener in D.C., Marcell Ozuna hit one off Erick Fedde tonight, putting the Washington Nationals behind 4-0 early in what ended up a 5-3 loss for the home team.

Fedde vs ATL: Erick Fedde gave up six hits, three walks, and six runs (five earned) in 1 23 IP in his 2021 debut, a 7-6 loss to Atlanta, but in four starts since he faced the Braves, he’d put up a 2.61 ERA in 20 23 IP, over which he’d walked eight, struck out 24, and held hitters to a combined .167/.259/.278 line.

Last time out before tonight, the right-hander held the Toronto Blue Jays to a run on two hits in six innings, walking three and striking out seven in a 98-pitch outing which ended with a 1-2-3 sixth, aka a strong finish.

“I think the last four starts or so I felt great, and just to finish strong in one — it was nice to have a comfortable lead and just really be able to go after guys,” Fedde said.

“I think it’s something to build off of and I want to continue to do [that].”

Fedde retired the first six batters he faced tonight in the nation’s capital, before giving up a leadoff single by catcher William Contreras in the third, and two outs later, a walk to Ronald Acuña, Jr., and an intentional walk to Freddie Freeman, loaded the bases in front of Marcell Ozuna, who hit a first-pitch cutter out to right for a grand slam and a 4-0 Braves’ lead.

Contreras hit a 3-0 sinker out to center with one out in the fourth, adding to the lead, 5-0, with his first big league home run.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 76 P, 46 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

Fried vs D.C.: Max Fried surrendered eight hits and five runs in two innings of work in the nation’s capital on April 7th, made one start after that, six days, later, and then landed on the IL with a hamstring strain.

Reinstated from the IL in time to make tonight’s start, the left-hander toss two scoreless to start, on 33 pitches, and came back out for the third with a 4-0 lead, courtesy of a Marcell Ozuna grand slam, and worked around a leadoff walk in a 12-pitch frame which left him at 45 total.

Yan Gomes hit Fried’s 59th pitch out to left for a solo home run with two out in the bottom of the fourth, spoiling the shutout bid by the Braves’ southpaw and making it a 5-1 lead for the visiting team. No. 3 of 2021 for Gomes.

Back-to-back hits by Victor Robles and Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the fifth put two on in front of pinch hitter Yadiel Hernández, who K’d swinging through a high 2-2 slider, and Trea Turner hit into a 1-4-3 DP in the next AB, and Fried was through five on 72 pitches with a 5-1 lead.

Max Fried’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 72 P, 45 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Yan Gomes Getting It: Yan Gomes started the night on something of a run, after going 5 for 11 (for a .455 AVG) in his previous three games, with a double, home run, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored in that stretch.

As the Nationals mentioned in their pregame notes, he’d also reached base safely in nine of 14 starts, with five multi-hit games on the year. His home run in the fourth, was his third this season, and accounted for the only run the Nationals put up on Braves’ starter Max Fried.

Bullpen Action: Kyle Finnegan was first out of the bullpen for the Nationals, and he threw an immaculate inning, nine pitches, nine strikes, three Ks. Well done, Kyle.

Righty Edgar Santana took over for Atlanta in the bottom of the sixth and worked around a two-out walk to Starlin Castro (which is not easy to do) in a scoreless 15-pitch frame.

Sam Clay retired the Braves in order in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the seventh.

Tyler Matzek struck out two Nationals in a 15-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh.

Paolo Espino retired the Braves in order in an eight-pitch top of the eighth.

Josh Tomlin hit Andrew Stevenson with the first pitch he threw in the Nationals’ half of the eighth, and then left a hanging curve up for Trea Turner, who hit a two-run shot out to left, making it 5-3 Braves. Turner’s 7th.

Tomlin walked Ryan Zimmerman as well, with one down, before the Braves went to the pen again for lefty A.J. Minter.

Starlin Castro doubled to left off Minter to put runners on second and third, in front of Yan Gomes, but the catcher, who homered in the fourth, battled for eight pitches, after falling behind 0-2 two pitches in, then K’d swinging for out No. 2. Kyle Schwarber? Schwarber got to a full count vs Minter, and walked to load’em up in an eight-pitch at bat. Victor Robles hit a fly to left on the first pitch he saw.

Espino returned to the mound in the top of the ninth retired the Braves in order.

Will Smith came on to try to close it out and retired the Nationals in order.

Final Score: 5-3 Braves

Nationals now 12-14