The first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader swung in the wrong direction, as the Nationals strung together two four-run innings to beat the Braves, 8-3. Most of the runs in this game were scored in the 4th and 6th innings, as the Braves scored one in the top of each, and the Nats immediately did their damage in response.
Four of the top five batters in the Nats’ lineup collected two hits.
Rookie Jefry Rodriguez was a ground ball machine, inducing 7 of his 15 outs via the dirt. He only allowed 1 run over 5 innings on his way to his first big league victory. On the other side of things, Max Fried left the game after only two innings due to an apparent groin injury.
In the bottom of the second inning, Fried took a Spencer Kieboom liner off the side, and it was immediately apparent he was in great pain. As this was later announced to be a left groin strain, the injury may have been a result as a quick instinctive contortion to avoid the line drive. As Fried’s spot was due up third in the top of the following inning, Kevin Gausman (yes, that Kevin Gausman) batted for him, signaling the end of Fried’s day. FWIW, Gausman was hit by a pitch and became the Braves’ first base runner of the day.
Kolby Allard, who was recently appointed the Braves’ 26th man for the doubleheader, started the 3rd in Fried’s place. Within three batters, he was already part of one of the more bizarre sequences you’ll see this year, with this shot off the bat of Juan Soto.
"Every time you go to the ballpark, you have a chance to see something you've never seen before." pic.twitter.com/jM2Zk1IwK5— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 7, 2018
Though it was considered a long single, Soto was called out as he passed Trea Turner on the basepaths. Regardless, great heads up play by Adam Duvall to back that one up.
After the intrigue settled down, Braves finally managed to hang a run on the board in the top of the fourth. Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis worked consecutive opposite field singles. Following an Duvall strikeout, Johan Camargo got in on the action and slapped one past the shortstop to score Freeman and make the score 1-0.
This is where the game got less fun for Braves Country, and way less fun for Allard.
It took three pitches in the bottom of the 4th for Bryce Harper to mash one into the right field seats and tie the game at 1. Zimmerman followed suit with a tape-measure shot to straight-away center, and the Nats were quickly up 2-1. Allard appeared rattled, as he gave up two more deep fly balls, a walk to Kieboom, a double to Rodriguez (his first major league hit), then back-to-back RBI singles to Turner and Soto. Just like that, it was 4-1 Washington.
After Matt Grace relieved Rodriguez to start the 6th inning, Ozzie Albies broke his 0-for-12 slump with a lead-off double to left, and was then brought home by Markakis’ second single of the day.
Shane Carle’s inability to find the strike zone was responsible for another Nationals rally in the bottom of the inning. His unsightly line included four walks (two intentional), one sac fly RBI, an RBI single to Bryce Harper, and an RBI double to Ryan Zimmerman. His four-run showing gave the Nats an 8-2 lead.
By the time Charlie Culberson hit his 9th inning solo home run to make it 8-3, this one was way out of reach.
The inclement weather surrounding the Washington area had started to act up during the final innings of today’s match-up, so it could possibly have an effect on the 7:05pm EST starting time for Game 2. We will keep you posted if any new information comes available between games.