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Braves come back again but fall in extras to Nationals

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Another game, another early deficit

MLB: SEP 11 Braves at Nationals

The Atlanta Braves put together another ninth inning rally but fell in extra innings 8-7 to the Washington Nationals.

As has become the norm, the Braves fell behind quickly in the first as the Nationals jumped on Josh Tomlin. After a lead off double by Adam Eaton and a walk by Trea Turner, Juan Soto made Tomlin pay with a line drive double to right to make it 2-0. Washington wasn’t finished as Eric Thames followed with a single that scored Soto to push the lead to 3-0.

The Nationals added to the lead in the third as Turner led off with a double and then picked up his eighth steal of the season swiping third. Soto brought him home with an opposite field single to make it 4-0. Thames struck out swinging for the first out but Soto swiped second to move into scoring position. A ground out by Brock Holt pushed Soto to third and he would come in to score on a single by Yan Gomes to make it 5-0.

The Braves finally broke through in the fourth but also suffered a critical loss. Nick Markakis hit a one out double to right. Ozzie Albies walked to bring Ronald Acuña Jr. to the plate. Acuña would foul a sinker down and in off his ankle and would have to be helped off the field. Luckily, x-rays on Acuña’s ankle were negative and he is considered day-to-day.

Ender Inciarte replaced Acuña in the box and flew out to right for the second out. However, Freddie Freeman came through again with a sharp single up the middle that scored Markakis to make it 5-1. Marcell Ozuna followed with a run-scoring hit of his own that made it 5-2, but Travis d’Arnaud struck out to end the inning.

Josh Tomlin would retire the Nationals in order in the fourth and exited the game after allowing seven hits and five runs in four innings. He struck out two and walked one.

Tyler Matzek took over for Atlanta on the mound in the fifth and quickly retired Turner and Soto but Thames tagged him for a solo homer to right center that extended Washington’s lead to 6-2. Matzek recovered and struck out Holt to end the frame.

Erick Fedde ran up a high pitch count as he pitched into and out of trouble for the Nationals allowing six hits and two runs over five innings. Fedde struck out five and walked four but the Braves were unable to get the big hit they needed.

Atlanta would get right back to work against the Nationals bullpen in the sixth. Albies grounded out to begin the inning but three straight singles by Inciarte, Freeman and Ozuna loaded the bases. Washington manager Dave Martinez replaced Ryne Harper with Kyle McGowin who immediately struck out d’Arnaud in a rough at-bat. Dansby Swanson then worked a walk off of McGowin to bring Inciarte in to score to cut the deficit to 6-3 but Austin Riley grounded out to third to end the threat.

Atlanta crept closer as Ozuna connected for an opposite field homer off of Will Harris in the eighth that cut the lead to 6-4.

The Nationals answered right back in the eighth when Gomes took Will Smith deep to left to push the lead to 7-4.

As has been the case for most of the season, Atlanta wouldn’t go away quietly in the ninth against Daniel Hudson. Hudson retired the first two batters he faced before Albies doubled to the right center gap. Hudson then walked Inciarte and Freeman to load the bases. That would bring Ozuna to the plate who lined a solid single to left to score both Albies and Inciarte to cut the deficit to 7-6.

After leaving 14 men on base through the first eight innings, Atlanta came all the way back when d’Arnaud lined an opposite field single to right that scored Freeman to tie the game at 7-7.

Hudson was able to recover and got Swanson to ground out sharply to shortstop to end the inning. Shane Greene worked around a two out walk of Soto in the bottom half of the inning to send the game to extras.

After a scoreless 10th, the Braves missed out on another opportunity in the 11th. Albies laid down a bunt for a single and then stole second to put runners at second and third. Kyle Finnegan then struck out Inciarte for the first out and issued the free pass to Freeman to load the bases. Ozuna came to the plate but popped out to shallow right. D’Arnaud grounded out to second to end the inning.

Atlanta loaded the bases again in the 12th against Nationals right-hander Jason Bourque but Nick Markakis grounded to Turner at second who turned the double play. Grant Dayton took over for the Braves in the bottom half of the inning. Adam Eaton began the inning at second base and moved over to third on a long fly ball by Turner. The Braves intentionally walked Soto to set up a double play. Dayton then struck out Josh Harrison but allowed an opposite field single to Michael Taylor who scored Eaton to end the game.

Atlanta had plenty of chances finishing with 14 hits and 12 walks but left a season-high 22 men on base. They will try to get back in the win column when the series continues Saturday night with Ian Anderson squaring off against Patrick Corbin.