Mike Soroka turned in another excellent performance while Nick Markakis made up for lost time in a 5-0 win by the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals.
Soroka matched up against Max Scherzer for the second time in less than a week. Scherzer held Atlanta at bay in the first matchup as the Nationals avoided a sweep at SunTrust Park. He wouldn’t be as fortunate this time around.
The Braves struck first against Scherzer in the fourth. Markakis got things started with a one out double and came around to score on a single by Matt Joyce to make it 1-0. Dansby Swanson would follow later with a double to right that scored Joyce to increase the lead to 2-0.
Between innings, Freddie Freeman left the game and was replaced by Charlie Culberson. The Braves later announced that Freeman had exited as a precaution due to right elbow soreness.
Atlanta struck again in the fifth as they loaded the bases against Scherzer with one out. Markakis drove a ball deep to center that Victor Robles was able to run down just shy of the wall but Ronald Acuña Jr. was able to tag up and score to widen the gap to 3-0.
Scherzer would exit after the fifth having allowed seven hits and three runs. He struck out six and walked two while throwing 99 pitches.
Ozzie Albies led off the seventh with is 23rd home run to extend the lead to 4-0. Rafael Ortega plated another in the eighth with a pinch-hit double to round out the scoring.
Soroka came into to Friday’s game having allowed five home runs in his last two starts. He was excellent in this one however, allowing just one hit over six shutout innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Albies led the way offensively for Atlanta going 3-for-4. Markakis went 2-for-3, scored two runs and drove in one in his first game back from the injured list. Joyce and Josh Donaldson finished with two hits each.
With the win, Atlanta reduces its magic number to clinch the NL East to six and increases its division lead to 9.5 games. The series will continue on Saturday with Mike Foltynewicz scheduled to get the start for Atlanta. The Nationals will counter with right-hander Austin Voth.