Clint Robinson bails out ‘pen in the ninth as Washington Nationals top Braves
After the bullpen blew a three-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, a clutch two-out, RBI single from Clint Robinson in the ninth gave the Washington Nationals a narrow 7-6 victory over the Braves.
Tanner Roark got things started for the Nationals and pitched a solid game, allowing three runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. Roark walked three batters and struck out three as well, earning a no-decision in his 25th start of the season.
The Nationals’ offense gave Roark plenty of run support. An RBI groundout by Bryce Harper made it a one-run game in the top of the first inning. In the fifth, RBI singles by Ben Revere and Bryce Harper gave the Nationals a 3-0 lead.
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An inning later, another RBI single — this one off the bat of Danny Espinosa — stretched Washington’s lead to 4-0. Later in the inning, an RBI groundout by Trea Turner made it a 5-0 game.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, the Braves weren’t going down quietly.
They began chipping away at the Nats’ lead in the bottom of the sixth, when a two-run homer by Ender Inciarte made it a 5-2 game. A Nick Markakis homer in the seventh inning trimmed Washington’s lead to 5-3. The Nats got that run right back an inning later on a Braves error.
But the Braves’ offense still wasn’t done and came back against relievers Matt Belisle and Koda Glover. They made it a 6-4 game on an RBI force out in the bottom of the sixth. Later in the inning two-run double off the bat of Freddie Freeman tied the game at 6-6.
The Nats are lucky that Freeman didn’t do more damage. In fact, in the fourth inning, he might have hit a game-tying home run had it not been for a phenomenal catch from Ben Revere:
Just when it looked like all might be lost, the Nationals’ offense had one more jolt left in them. With two outs and a runner on second in the top of the ninth, an RBI single by Robinson gave them a decisive 7-6 lead. Mark Melancon closed it down in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Nats came away with the win.
Next Up: The Nationals and Braves will be back in action tomorrow night in Atlanta. Max Scherzer gets the start for the mound, while Tyrell Jenkins takes the mound for the Braves. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.