Washington Nationals: Reynaldo Lopez Stellar In Win Against Braves

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Aug 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (49) pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Reynaldo Lopez (49) pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Washington Nationals got a great start from their rookie right-hander and coasted to an easy victory against the Atlanta Braves.

In his fourth Major League start and second straight against the Braves, Reynaldo Lopez racked up a plethora of strikeouts in another impressive outing. The lineup for the Washington Nationals did the rest, as they won the opening game of the series by a score of 8-2.

An error by Braves’ left fielder Matt Kemp in the first inning on a fly ball by Anthony Rendon allowed Trea Turner and Bryce Harper to score as the Washington Nationals jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Three innings later, Nick Markakis hit a sacrifice fly to center and the Nats lead was cut to 2-1, but Lopez had eight strikeouts after only three innings.

Jayson Werth got that run back in the fifth inning with a two-out RBI double to give the Nats a 3-1 lead. The double by Werth was significant as he tied the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise record for reaching base in 46 consecutive games.

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Robert Whalen had a solid outing for his club. Whalen tossed six innings, yielded three runs (one earned), issued three walks and fanned six batters on 112 pitches (65 strikes). He lost for the second time in 2016.

Atlanta got their second run of the game in the bottom of the sixth when Kemp hit a RBI groundout to third that drove in Freddie Freeman.

As for Lopez, he delivered a superb start for the Nats. He threw seven innings, surrendered two runs (one earned), allowed four hits, walked a pair of batters, and struck out a career-high 11 on 101 pitches (73 strikes). He earned his second win of the year and his second straight against Atlanta.

Lopez reached double-digit K’s for the first time in his career and became the fourth rookie in Nats history to accomplish the feat, according to William Ladson of MLB.com.

Rendon earned a RBI the hard way in the eighth inning as he got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to push the lead to 4-2.

Then, the Nationals tacked on four more runs, courtesy of a RBI single by Clint Robinson, a run-producing walk by Danny Espinosa. After Rendon scored on a passed ball and Trea Turner hit a sacrifice fly, the lead was increased to 8-2.

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Shawn Kelley and Mark Melancon each tossed scoreless frames in the eighth and ninth innin respectively to close out the win the for the Washington Nationals. With the win, the team’s lead in the NL East over the Marlins is now 9.5 games.

Next Game: In the second tilt of this four-game series, Tanner Roark (13-6, 2.81 ERA) pitches for the Washington Nationals (71-49). The Atlanta Braves (44-77) will counter with Julio Teheran (3-9, 2.81 ERA). You can watch the game at 7:35 p.m. ET on MASN.

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