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Atlanta Braves win 12th straight with 9-5 victory over Washington Nationals in D.C.

Josiah Gray didn’t start after a poorly-timed rain delay. Stephen Strasburg is headed back to the IL. The Braves have won 12-straight? If this is a nightmare wake us up, please???

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Josiah Erasmo vs the Braves:

Josiah Gray was originally scheduled to start tonight’s game, but the 24-year-old righty was in the process of warming up when a cell popped up over Nationals Park and a rain delay in D.C. which lasted for around 1-hour and 30-minutes forced the team to pivot and go with a bullpen game in the series opener with Atlanta.

Erasmo Ramírez took the early innings, with the 32-year-old, 11-year veteran in his first year with the Nationals making his first start in the majors since 2018.

In 20 games and 24 23 IP before tonight, Ramírez had a 3.28 ERA, a 4.07 FIP, three walks, 17 Ks, and a .317/.349/.426 line against.

“[He] has done awesome,” manager Davey Martinez said earlier this season, “and the more we keep putting him in the more I like him in any situation. He’s crafty, he understands the game, he understands how to get guys out.”

“Look, I’ve known Erasmo for a long time,” Martinez said back in April [as we search the FBB archive for relevant Ramírez quotes], “... he’s a fierce competitor, he loves to compete, but he’s got a four-pitch mix [which] he utilizes, he always keeps hitters off-balance.”

Ramírez worked around a single and a hit batter in a nine-pitch first, but he gave up a home run to left on a 1-1 sinker to Travis d’Arnaud in the first at-bat of the second, 1-0.

A walk and a single to the next two batters after d’Arnaud drew pitching coach Jim Hickey to the mound for a visit, but Ramírez got two outs without the runners coming in, only to surrender a two-out, two-run single to left by Dansby Swanson which put the Braves up 3-0.

A one-out walk to Ozzie Albies and two-out, two-run home run to left by Marcell Ozuna and it was 5-0 Braves in the third...

... and 6-0 when Adam Duvall hit a 2-1 cutter out into the visiting team’s bullpen in left. No. 11 for Ozuna and No. 7 for Duvall.

Erasmo Ramírez’s Line: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 3 HRs, 54 P, 32 S, 1/3 GO/FO.

[Insert Outdated Jethro Tull Reference Here]:

Braves’ starter Ian Anderson had not faced the Nationals since 2020, when he threw seven scoreless against Atlanta’s NL East rivals, striking out nine, allowing only one hit and three walks, and though he’s made 35 starts in the majors since then, he’d somehow managed to avoided Washington, so there were only three hitters who had faced the right-hander going into tonight’s game (Juan Soto, Luis García, and Yadiel Hernández).

In 11 starts this season, Anderson, 24, had put up a 4.53 ERA, a 4.51 FIP, 26 walks, 50 Ks, and a .250/.326/.425 line against in 59 23 IP. He tossed a scoreless first tonight, had a 3-0 lead a half-inning later, and he worked around a two-out single in a nine-pitch second, after which the lead was up to 6-0.

Juan Soto walked to start the Nats’ fourth (51 walks vs 42 Ks on the year) and one-out later, a free pass to Josh Bell put two on in front of Keibert Ruiz, who lined out into the shift. Yadiel Hernández got a two-on, two-out opportunity, and cashed it in with an RBI single to center field, 6-1.

Luis García doubled to right on a 95 MPH 0-2 fastball from Anderson, and scored on Lane Thomas’s opposite field single in the next at-bat, 6-2. Thomas went first-to-third on César Hernández’s single to right-center field, and Juan Soto walked again to load the bases and end Anderson’s night...

Ian Anderson’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 82 P, 50 S, 4/3 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Steve Cishek was the second arm out of the bullpen for the Nationals, taking over in the top of the fourth, and he worked around a two-out hit-by-pitch in an otherwise clean frame. Still 6-0 Braves.

Cishek retired the Braves in order in his second inning of work, after which he was up to 29 pitches.

Lefty Dylan Lee inherited a bases-loaded, 0-out jam in the fifth, and he took over with Nats’ DH Nelson Cruz due up.

Cruz ripped an RBI single through the left side on a 94 MPH 2-2 fastball, 6-3 when Thomas scored, and another run came in (Hernández) on a groundout by Josh Bell, 6-4. A liner out to left field by Keibert Ruiz and groundout by Yadiel Hernández ended the threat.

Jordan Weems walked Adam Duvall to start the sixth, and two outs later gave up a 2-run HR to center by Dansby Swanson, 8-4.

Lane Thomas hit an 0-1 curve from Dylan Lee out to left on a line for his 7th HR of 2022, 8-5 ATL.

Lee stayed on for Atlanta, and struck Juan Soto out to start the seventh, at which point the Braves went to Darren O’Day, who gave up a double to left by Nelson Cruz, but, after a walk to Josh Bell put two on, got an inning-ending 3-6-1 DP with the reliever covering at first, and doing a nice split to make the play.

Kyle Finnegan gave up a solo shot to left by Michael Harris II, who connected for his first MLB blast, 9-5.

Nationals now 23-40