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Washington Nationals lose fifth straight overall with 8-4 loss in series opener vs Atlanta Braves

Davey Martinez’s club dropped their fifth straight tonight in the first off three with the Braves...

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

Erick Fedde’s outing unraveled with two out in the fifth, as a two-out catcher’s interference call on Washington Nationals’ backstop Tres Barrera extended the inning and three straight singles and an RBI double followed as the Atlanta Braves tied things up at 3-3, and took the lead, 5-3, in what ended up an 8-4 win in the first of three with their divisional rivals in Truist Park.

Fedde vs ATL: Erick Fedde took the mound tonight winless in his last eight starts, over which the 28-year-old right-hander was (0-3) with the Nationals 4-4 in his outings, with a 6.34 ERA, 18 walks, 33 Ks, and a .281/.357/.484 line against in 38 13 IP in that stretch.

Last time out on the mound before facing the Braves, the 2014 1st Round pick held the Cubs to one run through five innings on the mound in Nationals Park, but in his final inning on the mound, Fedde gave up a leadoff single and two-run home run that made it a 4-3 game in the Nats’ favor in what ended up a 6-5 win in which he received no decision.

Fedde threw a season-high 108 pitches in the outing, and his manager, Davey Martinez, talked afterwards about letting him go a bit deeper than usual.

“One I want to give him a chance,” Martinez explained, “... and I want him to understand that he has to start pitching deeper into games, the other thing is I’m watching him pitch and his stuff was still really good.”

Tonight in Atlanta, Fedde gave up two runs early, allowing three straight one-out singles and a two-out, two-run hit by Adam Duvall in the bottom of the first, that put the Braves ahead 2-0 in the series opener.

Fedde held the home team there as the Nationals rallied to tie things up with a run in the third and another in the fourth, and he came back out for the fifth with a 3-2 lead.

Jorge Soler reached with two out in the Braves’ half of the fifth, on a catcher’s interference call on a grounder to third, and Freddie Freeman beat the shift with a single to left, before Austin Riley lined an RBI single to center that tied things up at 3-3, then Dansby Swanson’s infield single brought Freeman in from third for a 4-3 lead, and 5-3 on an Adam Duvall two-base hit to left.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 93 P, 57 S, 9/0 GO/FO.

Muller vs D.C.: A 2016 2nd Round pick by the Braves, Kyle Muller, 23, made his debut out of the bullpen in June, and in six starts since, the left-hander had put up a 1.88 ERA, 15 walks, 32 Ks, and a .156/.274/.208 line against in 28 23 IP, and he was coming off an outing against the Brewers in which he gave up just four hits, two walks, and one earned run in five innings of work.

The lefty said after that start that this is how he hoped to start off in his big league career.

“That’s exactly what I wanted to do, get my opportunity and run with it,” Muller said, as quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I feel like I’ve done a pretty decent job with that, but it can still get better.”

Muller retired the first six batters he faced tonight, before a leadoff walk to Nationals’ catcher Tres Barrera in the first at bat of the third, and a wild pitch and lineout to right moved the runner to third, before he scored on another wild pitch, 2-1 Braves.

Alcides Escobar doubled to lead off the fourth with the Nationals’ first hit, and Josh Bell took a one-out walk, before Carter Kieboom went down for a 1-2 slider low in the zone and sent a run-scoring single to left field that tied thing up a 2-2.

Muller was having yips-like issues throughout the night, and he hit Gerardo Parra with one out in the Nationals’ fifth as his command problems continued, then he threw a wild pitch that allowed Parra to take second, before he stole third, and scored on a sac fly to left by Erick Fedde, 3-2 Nats.

Kyle Muller’s Line: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 80 P, 51 S, 3 WP, HBP, 4/3 GO/FO.

KieBOOM!: Over his last eight games, heading into the first of three with the Braves, Carter Kieboom was 11 for 27 (.407 AVG) with a double, two home runs, six RBIs, four walks, and six runs scored, with hits in seven of the eight and five straight, and he extended that to six in a row with a game-tying RBI single in the top of the fourth.

Bullpen Action: Right-hander Edgar Santana took over for Atlanta with Washington up by a run in the top of the fifth, and struck Victor Robles out to end the inning.

Sam Clay came on for the Nationals with two on and two out in the Braves’ fifth, and walked Joc Pederson to load the bases before Stephen Vogt grounded out to leave’em loaded, 5-3 Atlanta.

Chris Martin was the next man out of the Braves’ bullpen, and he worked around a one-out single by Yadiel Hernández in a scoreless, 18-pitch sixth.

Gabe Klobosits gave up a double by pinch-hitting pitcher Max Fried in the first at bat of the Braves’ sixth, and he walked Freddie Freeman intentionally with two out before Austin Riley popped out to foul territory in right, where Gerardo Parra made a sliding catch to end the inning.

Luke Jackson struck out the side in the top of the seventh.

Andres Machado got three fly ball outs in a quick, 13-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh.

Tyler Matzek retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth.

Javy Guerra loaded the bases with two walks around a single in the bottom of the eighth, and one out later, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run single to right to score two, 7-3, and 8-3 when Austin Riley hit a sac fly to right.

Yadiel Hernández singled and scored on an RBI double by Luis García in the top of the ninth, 8-4. That’s how it ended.

Final Score: 8-4 Braves

Nationals now 49-61