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Ian Anderson turns in dominant performance in 2-1 win over Nationals

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Anderson struck out a career-high nine batters in the win.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves needed a strong pitching performance from Ian Anderson and he delivered, throwing seven shutout innings in a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

The Braves didn’t waste any time giving Anderson a run to work with. Ronald Acuña Jr. singled off Patrick Corbin to begin the game, stole second and came around to score on a single by Marcell Ozuna to stake Atlanta to a 1-0 lead.

Anderson’s command was a bit shaky to start as he pitched around a walk to Juan Soto in the first and then needed 29 pitches to escape the second. Anderson issued back-to-back walks to Eric Thames and Yan Gomes to open his second frame, prompting a visit by pitching coach Rick Kranitz. Whatever Kranitz said appeared to work, as Anderson retired Luis Garcia and Michael A. Taylor on fly outs and then struck out Yadiel Hernandez to end the inning.

Atlanta extended the lead in the fourth when Adam Duvall hit a one-out double and then came around to score on a single by Ozzie Albies to make it 2-0.

Anderson settled in and sat down six straight hitters before Asdrubal Cabrera dropped down a bunt single to lead off the fourth inning. The baserunner would not bother Anderson as he fanned Thames, got Gomes to fly out and the struck out Garcia looking on a nasty changeup to end the fourth.

Anderson ten retired 12 straight hitters after the bunt single and left having allowed one hit over seven shutout innings to go along with a career-high nine strikeouts. All three of his walks came in the first two innings. His outing was the longest of the year by an Atlanta pitcher.

Washington got on the board in the eighth against Shane Greene. Pinch-hitter Adam Eaton led off the inning with a single and then stole second. Greene struck out Hernandez and Brock Holt but Trea Turner doubled to right center to score Eaton and cut the lead to 2-1. Brian Snitker then brought in Will Smith to face Juan Soto, who grounded out to end the threat.

Mark Melancon took over in the ninth and ran into some bad luck. Cabrera singled off of Albies’ glove at second. Melancon worked the count to 2-2 against Thames before a swinging bunt to third that Austin Riley was unable to barehand. With runners now at first and second, Melancon came back and struck out Gomes for the first out and then got Garcia to bounce back to the mound for the second out. The Braves then elected to walk Eaton intentionally to bring up Victor Robles, who flew out to Duvall in right for the final out of the game.

With the win, Atlanta improves to 27-19 on the season and will, at the very least, maintain a 2.5-game lead in the division. The Braves and Nationals will wrap up their four-game series on Sunday with Kyle Wright matching up against Max Scherzer.