Due to a bizarre, rainless weather delay, Thursday night’s game between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals that was originally scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. ET didn’t see the first pitch thrown until 10:10 p.m. ET.
Following the long-winded moratorium, the Braves (41-43) picked up a game on the National League East-leading Nationals (50-35) as Atlanta cruised to a 5-2 victory.
Mike Foltynewicz was on the mound for Atlanta and continued his string of dominant outings with a fourth straight on Thursday night. He allowed just two runs on eight hits and struck out five while walking one over six innings pitched - his 10th quality start of the season. Over his past four starts, Foltynewicz has produced a line of 25 IP, 20 H, 6 R, 10 BB, 26 K. The 25-year-old now boasts a 3.77 ERA and 4.64 FIP.
Freddie Freeman, who returned to first base for the night as Matt Adams was rested against Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez, continued his nearly seamless transition from the disabled list with a 2-for-5 night, and a historic one at that.
With one out and Ender Inciarte on third base in the top of the seventh inning, Freeman doubled off the wall in left-center for an RBI double — career hit No. 1,000 for the left-handed slugger — to give the Braves a 4-2 lead.
Despite only playing in 40 of Atlanta’s 84 games due to injury, Freeman is now slashing .345/.455/.730 with a 199 wRC+ over 178 plate appearances.
Two batters later, Nick Markakis recorded his 21st double of the season to left field, scoring Freeman and extending Atlanta’s advantage to 5-2 in the seventh.
Atlanta’s bullpen trio of Sam Freeman, Jose Ramirez and Jim Johnson combined to allow just three hits over three shutout innings of relief to back up Foltynewicz and preserve the victory.
The Nationals got on the board first in the bottom of the second. Anthony Rendon led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third on a Matt Wieters groundout. Wilmer Difo then flew out right as Rendon trotted home to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
With two outs away in the top of the third, Atlanta strung together a pair of singles from Inciarte and Brandon Phillips, followed by an RBI double from Freeman that scored Inciarte and tied the game at one run apiece.
Kurt Suzuki led off the fourth inning with a line drive double to right field and scored on the ensuing at-bat as Johan Camargo singled up the middle to give the Braves a 2-1 advantage. The lead was short-lived, however, as Washington left-hander Brian Goodwin connected on an 0-2 fastball high and outside, driving it over the wall in center field to tie the game once again at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
Suzuki led the inning off again in the top of the sixth, this time with a solo home run to left center to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead. That dinger gave Suzuki three home runs in an eight-at-bat stretch — all of which gave the Braves the lead.
R.A. Dickey will be on the bump for the Braves on Friday night as he goes up against Max Scherzer and his MLB-best 1.94 ERA at 7:05 p.m. ET.