Washington Nationals: Strasburg Struggles In Loss To Braves

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Aug 12, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws to the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws to the Atlanta Braves during the sixth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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For the first time this season, the Washington Nationals lost to the Atlanta Braves as Stephen Strasburg has now lost back-to-back starts. 

A rare bad performance from the ace of the staff resulted in the Washington Nationals dropping the first game of the series against the Atlanta Braves. Strasburg allowed six runs for the second time this season in a start, and it led to the Nats losing the series opener by an 8-5 score.

Freddie Freeman gave the Braves a 1-0 lead in the first inning, by smoking a double to center field.In the following inning, Jace Peterson cranked his sixth home run of the season one inning later to push the lead to 2-0.

Trea Turner helped the Washington Nationals get on the board with a RBI single in the third inning to trim the lead to 2-1 against starter Mike Foltynewicz

Anthony Rendon put the Nats ahead 3-2 in the following innings as he hit a two-run home run. This was the 14th homer of the season for him. But, that lead would not last long.

Freeman blasted a three-run homer in the top of the fifth to put the Braves up 5-3. He finished the game two extra-base hits and four RBI as he continues to crush Washington Nationals pitching.

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Strasburg wasn’t at his best in tonight’s start. He pitched 5.1 innings, allowed seven hits, yielded six runs, fanned seven batters, issued two walks and surrendered two home runs on 103 pitches (72 strikes).This outing marked the fourth time this year that Strasburg gave up at least two home runs in a start. It was the third loss of the year for him.

Matt Belisle relieved Strasburg in the sixth and allowed a two-run home run to Anthony Recker on the first pitch he threw. It was the first home run of the year for Recker and the lead was pushed to 7-3.

The Washington Nationals would get one run back when Brian Goodwin trimmed the lead to 7-4 with a clutch two-out RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. This was the first career RBI for Goodwin.

As for Foltynewicz, he was marginally better than his counterpart on the mound. He tossed 5.2 innings, giving up four runs on five hits, while walking a pair of batters, striking out three and allowing one homer. He picked up his sixth win of the season.

In the top of the seventh, Peterson hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded  against Nats’ reliever Oliver Perez to give the Braves an 8-4 cushion. Blake Treinen recorded the last out in the inning to end the threat.

Jayson Werth narrowed the lead to 8-5 with a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh. With that double, Werth extended his on-base streak to 41 games. After a walk by Daniel Murphy, Wilson Ramos struck out swinging against Jose Ramirez, stranding both runners on base.

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Jim Johnson quickly converted his 10th save of the year. While he did give up a one out single to Turner, Werth grounded into an 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Next Game: The Atlanta Braves (44-72) will send Robert Whalen (1-0, 5.73 ERA) to mound the second game of the series. Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 9.35 ERA) gets the start for the Washington Nationals (67-47). You can watch the game 7:05 p.m. ET on MASN.

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