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Braves come up short against Nationals

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Braves fall to the Nationals 6-2 on a rainy day in Washington.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves endured over three hours worth of rain delays but came up short in a 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The Nationals struck for three runs against Mike Foltynewicz in the first. Adam Eaton led off the game with a single and moved up to second on a Bryce Harper walk. Anthony Rendon then sent both home with a triple just inside the bag at first to stake the Nationals to a 2-0 lead. Juan Soto followed with a ground ball to Freddie Freeman that he couldn’t handle cleanly which allowed Rendon to score to make it 3-0.

The Braves would get to work against Scherzer in the second as Johan Camargo singled with one out before Ender Inciarte doubled to right to put runners at second and third with one out. Dansby Swanson then grounded to short scoring Camargo to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Swanson would strike again in the fourth against Scherzer with an opposite field single that scored Tyler Flowers to make it 3-2.

Foltynewicz clearly didn’t have his best command but he settled down after the first inning and gave the Braves a chance. He came back out for the sixth inning despite being right at 100 pitches. He retired Matt Wieters and pinch-hitter Michael Taylor to start the inning but then allowed back-to-back hits to Eaton and Trea Turner. That would be the end of the line for Folty who would exit in favor of Sam Freeman who came on to face Bryce Harper.

However, the matchup didn’t work out for the Braves as Harper lined a single to right to score Eaton and increase the lead to 4-2. Freeman was replaced by Shane Carle who got Rendon to ground out to escape with no further damage.

Foltynewicz allowed nine hits and four runs over 5.2 innings. He struck out five and walked three while throwing 112 pitches. Scherzer battled a high pitch count early but lasted through six innings while allowing eight hits and two runs. He struck out seven and walked just one.

The game would enter into a rain delay prior to the start of the seventh as storms once again rolled into the D.C. area.

Once play resumed, the Braves went right to work against the Nationals bullpen. Inciarte led off with an infield single. Then Swanson barreled up a pitch from Matt Grace and drove it into left center where Michael Taylor made a leaping catch against the wall robbing him of extra bases. Ryan Flaherty grounded into a fielder’s choice but stole second and moved to third on another infield hit by Acuna. However, Charlie Culberson lined out to Harper in right to end the inning.

Soto doubled to lead off the bottom half of the inning against Luke Jackson and scored on an opposite field single by Matt Adams to make it 5-2.

The Braves once again brought the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning. Freddie Freeman and Tyler Flowers both singled off of Nationals’ reliever Sammy Solis with one out. Kelvin Herrera replaced Solis and retired pinch hitter Preston Tucker who flied out to Harper in right just shy of the warning track. Herrera then struck out Inciarte on three pitches to end the threat.

Dan Winkler came on to pitch the eighth and allowed a long solo home run to straight away center by Harper to make it 6-2.

Atlanta at least made it interesting against Herrera in the ninth. Acuna hit a two-out double for his third hit of the game. Culberson followed with a single off of Herrera’s glove to put runners at the corners for Freeman who lined out to left to end the game.

The Braves will head to Miami after the game where they will open a two-game set on Monday against the Marlins.