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Josh Donaldson rescues Braves in 5-4 win over Nationals

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Donaldson’s 10th inning home run saves Atlanta after another bullpen meltdown.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Josh Donaldson homered in the 10th inning to save the Atlanta Braves in a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals. The Braves wrap up their road trip with a 4-2 record and extend their lead in the NL East to 6.5 games.

The Braves got on the board early when Adam Duvall jumped on a 2-2 pitch from Anibal Sanchez and drove it out for his fourth home run of the season to make it 1-0.

The Nationals answered back quickly in the bottom half of the inning as Juan Soto took Mike Soroka deep to tie the game at 1-1. Atlanta would answer back again in the third as Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies hit back-to-back doubles to make it 2-1.

Acuña struck again in the fourth as he singled home Johan Camargo to make it 3-1. He then stole second, giving him 25 home runs and 25 stolen bases on the season. He is just the third age-21 or younger player, joining Mike Trout and Andruw Jones, to have a 25-25 season.

Ender Inciarte and Tyler Flowers connected on back-to-back doubles to lead off the sixth to extend the lead to 4-1. That would chase Sanchez from the game. He exited having allowed 10 hits and four runs over five innings.

On the other side, Soroka was dealing. He would be lifted after the seventh having allowed three hits and one run over seven innings. He walked three and struck out three. His defense helped him out in a few places, including a good relay throw by Johan Camargo to erase a leadoff walk that would have scored on a Trea Turner double, and an inning-ending lined-into-double-play by Kurt Suzuki with runners on the corners.

The Nationals crept closer in the eighth as Matt Adams connected for a pinch-hit home run off of Anthony Swarzak to make it 4-2.

However, things fell apart quickly for the Braves in the ninth. Luke Jackson came on to start the inning and quickly allowed an opposite field single to Adam Eaton. Anthony Rendon then hit a grounder to short that was bobbled by Camargo on the exchange, allowing Rendon to reach. Brian Snitker would then turn to Sean Newcomb who came in and walked Juan Soto on four pitches to load the bases with no outs.

Kurt Suzuki then followed with a solid single to left to score Eaton and cut the deficit to 4-3. Newcomb then got Gerardo Parra to ground into a 6-4-3 double play but Rendon scored on the play to tie the game. The Braves would escape further damage as Newcomb struck out Brian Dozier to send the game into extra innings.

Atlanta would go back in front in the 10th as Donaldson jumped on a high fastball from Nationals’ closer Sean Doolittle and drove it out to center to make it 5-4.

Snitker would turn to Josh Tomlin in the 10th to try and close things out. Tomlin retired Victor Robles on a fly ball to the warning track in right for the first out. Adrian Sanchez then hit a soft grounder to the right side that Tomlin misplayed into a hit by failing to cover first base. Trea Turner followed with a walk to put the tying run in scoring position with one out.

Tomlin battled back and got Eaton to pop out to shortstop for the second out. That would bring up Rendon who then flew out to Duvall in left to end it.