Max Scherzer overcame a rocky start, to lead the Nationals to a 6-4 victory, and his 16th win of the season.
On a day where the Nationals didn’t play many of their regulars in the starting lineup, they were still able to win the opening game of their homestand against the Atlanta Braves, 6-4. Scherzer gave up two runs over seven innings and the offense got a couple big home runs from Trea Turner and Chris Heisey.
The Braves got to Scherzer early, and struck first in the top of the second inning. Nick Markakis laced a one out single to right, and was followed by a walk to catcher Anthony Recker. Jace Peterson continued the rally and ripped an RBI double to left, scoring Markakis and giving the Braves an early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, the Nationals got their offense going via the long ball, against Braves starter Ryan Weber. With a man on and one out, Turner launched his sixth home run of the year which gave the Nats their first lead of the day, 2-1.
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Later in the inning, Heisey kept the two out rally going when he crushed a three-run home run to left. His ninth of the season extended the Nats lead to 5-1.
One inning later, the Nats kept their offensive attack going. Danny Espinosa and Jose Lobaton walked to begin the inning. Two batters later, Turner ripped an RBI single to left that scored Espinosa and put the Nationals up 6-1. The Nationals second baseman went 3-for-4 with three RBI’s in the win.
After a rocky start, Scherzer settled into the game nicely, but the Braves got to him again in the top of the sixth. Markakis led of the inning with a double, which was followed up with a single by Recker. Scherzer was able to minimize the damage though as he held Atlanta to one run in the sixth. That run came when Peterson’s groundout to first cut the lead to 6-2.
Koda Glover came in to replace Scherzer in the top of the eighth. As for Scherzer, he went seven innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, struck out five, and walked two on 107 pitches (77 strikes) as he picked up his team-high 16th win of the season.
Mark Melancon came on in the top of the ninth to preserve the victory and the Braves did not go down without a fight. Ender Inciarte and Adonis Garcia led off the inning with back to back singles, which put two men on for Freddie Freeman. The Braves first baseman legged out an infield single and Inciarte came around to score.
Melancon was in trouble, but Matt Kemp gave him just what the Nationals closer needed. Kemp grounded into a 4-6-3 double play that did score one run, but got two outs in the process. After the double play, Recker flew out to right for the final out.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals (80-57) continue their series with the Atlanta Braves (54-84) at 7:05 p.m. ET. Gio Gonzalez (10-9 4.14) gets the ball for the Nationals and will be opposed by Williams Perez (2-2 4.62) for the Braves. You can catch the game on MASN2.