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Atlanta Braves walk off on Washington Nationals in extras; 4-3 win for three-game sweep in Truist Park...

The Nationals couldn’t hold a late lead, and they lost this one in extras...

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Espino vs Atlanta:

In his first three starts in the rotation, after he started the season in the bullpen, righty Paolo Espino put up a 2.57 ERA, a 4.60 FIP, five walks, 10 Ks, and a .245/.310/.396 line against in 14 innings pitched, but then he gave up four runs on five hits in 4 13 IP in his June 29th outing, and his manager, Davey Martinez, said after the 35-year-old’s 26th appearance overall in ‘22, he and his staff were watching closely to monitor Espino’s return to a starting role.

“We talk about Espino, how good he is, and we had to be careful because all of a sudden his role changed and he’s been going every five days,” Martinez explained in discussing the fact that he pulled Espino after just 66 pitches. “We thought he was off today so we got him out of there.”

Espino was off again in the start which followed, giving up another four runs in 3 23 IP, with 82 pitches to 18 batters faced in another relatively brief outing.

“I think he just left too many balls out over the plate, his location was a little off, and they started getting to him,” Martinez said, summing up Espino’s start fairly succinctly.

He struggled again this afternoon, and was out early-ish.

Espino worked around a one-out single in the first, and leadoff and two-out singles in the Braves’ second, completing two scoreless on 30 pitches.

In a 13-pitch stretch in the third inning, however, Dansby Swanson, Matt Olson, and Austin Riley connected for back-to-back-to-back one-out hits. Riley’s drove Swanson in from third base for a 1-0 lead. A walk to Marcell Ozuna loaded them up in front of Eddie Rosario, and the Braves’ left fielder hit a sac fly to right which brought in run No. 2, 2-0.

Espino got through four on 65 pitches, with just the two runs allowed, and he was replaced by Andrés Machado in the bottom of the fifth...

Paolo Espino’s Line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 65 P, 42 S, 3/5 GO/FO.

Anderson vs D.C.:

Going up against the Nationals in the nation’s capital last month, 24-year-old, 2016 Braves’ first round pick Ian Anderson struggled with his command, walking four batters, with four runs scored on six hits in four innings in which he threw 82 pitches to 21 hitters he faced.

He’s been up and down since the start in D.C., but he came into today’s game after a five-inning start against St. Louis in which he held Cardinals’ hitters to a run on eight hits, and threw 99 pitches to 24 batters.

Anderson threw 68 to 16 batters over four scoreless innings today, as the Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third of three with the Nationals in Truist Park, and the righty got through the fifth on just 13 pitches (for 81 total), retiring the side in order to keep Atlanta’s lead intact.

Back-to-back, one-out walks to Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in the sixth pushed him up to 94 pitches, however, and ended his outing...

Ian Anderson’s Line: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 94 P, 52 S, 8/1 GO/FO.

Soto Streaking:

Juan Soto hit a shift-beating, opposite field single with two out in the first inning today, giving him a 13-game hit streak, and a 20-game on-base streak. Coming into the game, Soto was, “17-for-41 (.415) with four doubles, three homers, six RBI, 14 walks and 13 runs scored during the [hit] streak,” as the Nationals highlighted in their pregame notes, and Washington’s 23-year-old slugger had multi-hit games in four straight, and a .500 OBP during his on-base streak. And an MLB-high 71 walks on the year. He’s officially Sotoing.

Bullpen Action:

Andres Machado took over on the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the fifth, and gave up a leadoff double to left by Dansby Swanson on a 95 MPH first-pitch fastball, but stranded the runner at third three outs later to keep it a 2-0 game in the Braves’ favor after five.

Lefty Dylan Lee came on for Atlanta after Ian Anderson issued back-to-back one-out walks to Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz in the top of the sixth, and gave up a two-out, three-run shot to left field by pinch hitter Lane Thomas, who smoked a 1-0 curve up and over the middle, 3-2 Nationals. Thomas with a go-ahead, 402-foot, pinch-hit homer for his 9th of 2022.

Steve Cishek came on with a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, and worked around a one-out single in a 18-pitch frame. Still 3-2 Nationals.

Victor Robles singled off Braves’ righty Darren O’Day with one out in the top of the seventh, then stole second (9 for 9 this season) and took third base on a throwing error on the play by catcher William Contreras. Luis García walked to put runners on the corners with one down, and the home team went to the pen again for Tyler Matzek, who got an inning-ending double play out of Josh Bell.

Kyle Finnegan got the seventh for the Nationals, and struck out the side on 12 pitches.

Matzek returned to the mound in the eighth, and he retired the side in order to keep it a one-run game.

Finnegan came back out too, and gave up a game-tying leadoff home run by Austin Riley on an 0-1 sinker down the middle of the plate, 3-3.

Carl Edwards, Jr. replaced Finnegan and finished up the eighth.

Jesse Chavez keep it tied after eight and a half with a scoreless top of the ninth.

Carl Edwards, Jr. returned to the mound in the ninth, and walked Ronald Acuña, Jr. to start the inning, but three outs later he stranded him at second to send it to extras...

The Nationals stranded their free runner in the top of the tenth, and Tanner Rainey held the line in the bottom of the inning, with an out at home on a Williams Contreras’ grounder to second on which a bad hop ate up Alcides Escobar, who recovered in time to throw home and get Austin Riley at the plate for out No. 3, still 3-3 in Atlanta.

Collin McHugh walked Juan Soto intentionally, then doubled him up on a Nelson Cruz roller to second.

Josh Bell, the Nats’ free runner, moved to third on the play, but was stranded when Keibert Ruiz K’d looking to end the top of the 11th inning.

Rainey came back out too, and gave up a one-out single to right by Michael Harris II, which moved Contreras to third. Harris II stole second without a throw with Ronald Acuña, Jr. up, but Acuña, Jr. popped out to foul territory off first for out No. 2, and Dansby Swanson sent one to right for out No. 3. On to the 12th...

The Nationals stranded two runners in the top of the 12th. Jordan Weems walked Matt Olson intentionally to put runners on first and second, and Austin Riley singled to left field to drive in the winning run, Braves win, 4-3 final..

Nationals now 30-58