The Braves haven’t won at Nationals Park in a long time, but that all changed on Friday night. Atlanta was able to get to Stephen Strasburg on a muggy night in DC as they ended a 14-game run of misery in Washington with an 8-5 victory.
Freddie Freeman had another lovely night at the plate this evening, and he wasted no time getting the good times rolling for himself again. Ender Inciarte led off the game with a walk, and then Freeman brought him home with a line drive single to center field. Atlanta didn’t score again in he first frame, but they dinged Strasburg again in the second frame when Jace Peterson hit a fly ball that just kept on carrying until it landed in the seats in right-center field for a leadoff homer. Atlanta was up by two at that point, and Mike Foltynewicz had a little bit of breathing room to work with.
By the time the fourth inning ended, the two-run lead would be gone. Trea Turner’s RBI single in the third inning cut the Braves’ lead in half, and then Anthony Rendon smashed a four-seamer from Folty into the left field seats to put Washington out in front.
During Atlanta’s lengthy losing streak at Nationals Park, one of the hallmarks of the Braves’ struggles in Washington is the fact that they could barely put runs on the board. However, a funny thing happened tonight — the Braves just kept on scoring. I mentioned earlier that Freddie Freeman had a good night with the bat tonight, and his biggest knock of the evening came in the form of a three-run dinger off of an increasingly-sweaty Stephen Strasburg to put the Braves back in front with a 5-3 lead.
The next big knock came from Anthony Recker. Earlier in the game, Strasburg buzzed him with a fastball that caused him to hit the deck. This happened immediately after Jace Peterson’s homer, so Recker got back up and gave Strasburg a pretty nasty look. I don’t think that Strasburg was trying to play beanball, but Recker clearly had the incident in the back of his mind for the rest of the game. That much was evident when he welcomed Matt Belisle to the game by hitting a slider over the fence in left-center for a two-run homer. Recker definitely took some time to admire his handiwork, and the Braves were sitting pretty with a 7-3 lead at that point.
So you're saying that the Braves have realized that hitting home runs is, in fact, totally acceptable? https://t.co/S49DHQYakE— Talking Chop (@TalkingChop) August 13, 2016
By the time the eighth inning rolled around, the Nationals had cut the lead down to 7-4 thanks to an RBI single from Brian Goodwin — which ended up being the final run that Mike Foltynewicz gave up on the night. It was another night in which Folty failed to make it through the sixth inning, but this particular outing went better than the other 5.2 inning outings that he’s had as of late. The Braves had a chance to potentially break the game open when they loaded the bases on Oliver Perez with just one out. Jace Peterson managed to hit a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4, but that was all the Braves could get in that frame.
The Nationals did pick up a run in the eighth inning thanks to an RBI double from Jayson Werth, but that was all they could muster at that point, and Jim Johnson was able to nail things down in the ninth inning to finish off the first-place Nats and snap Atlanta’s miserable 14-game losing streak at Nationals Park.
This was a solid bounce-back effort from the Braves after their hilariously-bad Getaway Day game in Milwaukee, and now they’ve got a shot at potentially taking a series in what’s been an extremely difficult ballpark for them to win in over the past two seasons.