The Atlanta Braves will look to continue their dominance over the host Washington Nationals when the teams meet for the second game of a four-game series on Friday night.
Atlanta has won seven straight over Washington, though Thursday’s 5-4 victory wasn’t easy. The Nationals rallied from 5-2 down to having the tying run on second base before Kenley Jansen struck out Josh Bell to end it.
The Braves continued their streak of living or dying by the home run. They are 2-2 over their past four games, and all their runs have come via the long ball.
One of Thursday’s homers came courtesy of rookie center fielder Michael Harris II. On a team loaded with All-Stars, Harris has quickly become a solid contributor.
With the score tied 2-2 in the fifth, Harris came up with a runner on third and two outs. Facing veteran Anibal Sanchez, Harris battled and came out the winner when he homered on the 10th pitch, snapping an 0-for-10 stretch.
He then went out to center and robbed a run, fielding Juan Soto’s line-drive single and throwing Luis Garcia out at home by inches.
“A credit to him that he puts yesterday behind him and focuses on today and I hope he understands that he can help us win a game out of the batter’s box,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “When he’s out there on the grass, he’s a difference-maker.”
Right-hander Ian Anderson (7-5, 4.98 ERA) will start Friday for Atlanta. He allowed two runs on two hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Sunday but gave up back-to-back walks that led to the go-ahead homer after he departed in the sixth. Atlanta rallied to win.
“It’s not ideal, obviously, then to see those two guys score, you wish you hadn’t done it,” Anderson said about giving up the walks. “The (Juan) Soto one you’re kind of fine with, but the (Nelson) Cruz one, that’s the one that I was thinking ‘double play’ the whole time, and I just couldn’t execute.”
Anderson is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA in three career starts vs. Washington.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin (4-11, 5.70 ERA) gets another shot at the Braves after allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings during a loss on Saturday. He was coming off successive outings in which he allowed just two runs over 15 innings.
“I thought Corbin threw the ball really well again,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said after the loss. “Just a homer and an error got us today. But he was really good again, which is what we love to see. He’s had some really good outings as of late, so we got to keep him right there.”
Corbin is 6-9 with a 4.07 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) against the Braves.
Bell and Maikel Franco homered on Thursday for the Nationals, who have lost seven straight and 13 of 14. A Washington rally fell short in the ninth inning for the third straight game.
The Nationals got two scoreless relief innings from Tyler Clippard, who was called up from Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday. A Nationals bullpen stalwart for seven years, the 37-year-old made his 415th appearance as a National and first since 2014.
“It felt fun,” Clippard said. “That run in from the bullpen was probably the coolest part for me. I haven’t felt that good running in a long time.”
–Field Level Media