Rendon Slam Triggers Nats Win Over Braves

With the score tied 2-2 in the sixth inning Anthony Rendon came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Chad Sobotka fell behind in the count 2-0 and grooved a fastball that caught too much of the plate. Rendon blasted it deep into the left field bleachers for a 6-2 lead. That is all the Nationals needed in their 6-3 win.

Dallas Keuchel got the start for Atlanta. The Nationals got to him early. In the first inning Adam Eaton was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored when Juan Soto lined a single into centerfield. A Howie Kendrick single and a Brian Dozier walk loaded the bases but Victor Robles grounded to short to end the threat.

The Nationals scored again in the second, gifted again by Keuchel with a leadoff walk to Yan Gomes, the first of his four walks in the game. Patrick bunted him to second and Trea Turner drove him in lining a pitch down the left field line for a double.

Patrick Corbin was sharp for the Nationals. He shut down the Braves bats not allowing a hit in the first three innings. In the fourth a single by Freddie Freeman started the rally, his first of three hits in the game. A wild pitch advanced Freeman to second. With two outs Anthony Rendon made a tremendous diving catch on an Adam Duvall hit down the line. He got up, threw to first but the ball sailed over the head of the first baseman Howie Kendrick allowing Freeman to score from third. A Johan Camargo singled advanced Duvall to third but Corbin was able to whiff Austin Riley to end the inning.

Freeman also started a Brave rally in the sixth with his single up the middle. Dozier made a diving stop on a hit by Donaldson but the ball rolled towards first base. Dozier chased it, quickly flipped to first but Kendrick could not dig the ball out, Freeman advancing to third on the throw. Adam Duvall hit a ball deep to left field, Juan Soto leaped and caught it at the edge of the top of the fence to possibly rob Duvall of a three run homerun. Freeman tagged and scored on the fly ball to tie the game at two.

In the bottom frame the Nats struck back and it was again the kindness of Keuchel that hurt him. He walked Yan Gomes for the third time in the game. Adrian Sanchez pinch hit for Corbin and lined a single through the third base hole. Chad Sobotka came on to relieve Keuchel, striking out Turner for the second out. Adam Eaton walked to load the bases and that brought up Rendon to provide his heroics.

The Nationals bullpen came through in the seventh and eighth. Wander Suerro retired the Braves in order in the seventh. Fernando Rodney gave up a one out single to Freeman but retired the next two hitters. That brought on an appearance from Sean Doolittle, who was not seen in the Dodger’s series. He gave up a one out homerun to pinch hitter Charlie Culberson that carried over the left field bullpen, but otherwise struck out all three other Braves hitters he faced.

Game Notes: Soccer stars Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle threw out the first pitches. They got a little crossed up when throwing out their pitches, Mallory throwing a pitch to the National who was to catch the first pitch from Rose, leaving Rose to throw her pitch to the National stationed to catch the pitch from Mallory (or vice versa - I forgot who threw the ball first)…In the month of July Stephen Strasburg has driven in more runs (6) than earned runs he has given up (4)…Brian Dozier should have been charged with two errors in the game. He bobbled a ball in the first inning and in the sixth his errant throw allowed Freeman to advance to third…Dallas Keuchel was at 99 pitches after the fifth inning. With his fastball only at 87-89 he needs command of his pitches to be effective. That command does not seem to be there yet…In the seventh Jeremy Walker walked the first three hitters he faced. He was bailed out on a caught stealing by Dozier, the first batter he walked. In total he threw 14 balls and 7 strikes…The grand slam for Rendon was his third of his career and it got him to 500 RBIs for his career…The Braves were missing Nick Markakis (broken wrist) and Dansby Swanson (heel injury) from their lineup…Max Scherzer is back on the DL with his upper back strain.

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