On paper, this looked like the Braves would dominate this game with their hottest pitcher, Mike Soroka, on the mound, and the Nationals calling up a minor leaguer. Soroka was as good as advertised (2.07 ERA) but after he sustained a hit-by-pitch on his right forearm, he exited the game after facing just six batters and giving up one-hit in two innings. The Nats spot starter was Austin Voth, and he was very good and went 6.0 innings of 2-run baseball with seven strikeouts. Voth’s two issues were a long home run to Josh Donaldson, and a home run that just snuck over the wall for his two infractions on the day. Voth’s fastball on the day was 93-96 mph which is much faster than his 91.6 mph average from last year.
The Nats battled back against the Braves’ bullpen, and in a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning with runners on second and first and no outs, Adam Eaton pushed a bunt too hard eliminating the lead runner, hurting the potential rally — but it was Anthony Rendon who picked a poor time to go 0-5 as he stranded the winning run in that 8th inning by hitting into the inning ending doubleplay. In the 10th inning, Rendon got a second chance to change what has eluded him in his career which was the dramatic walk-off home run. In this case, a single would most likely tie the game, and unfortunately Rendon fouled out in the 10th inning and stranded four runners in this game. In Rendon’s entire career (3,553 plate appearances), he has just one walk-off hit.
“We couldn’t get nothing going early. We had our chances, and we couldn’t capitalize,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We had that opportunity late in the game to score runs and just couldn’t get that big hit.”
With the loss last night and today’s loss, the Nationals fall back to three games under .500, and they had their chances to win both of these games. The Nats scored three runs off of the Braves bullpen, and the Braves only scored two runs off of the Nats bullpen — but like everything, it is the final score that matters and the Nats lost 4-3 in the 10th inning. Tanner Rainey took the loss in this game, and with all of the mileage on his arm this week it is understandable that he was not sharp.
One thing the Nationals have shown is their ability to comeback with a Juan Soto home run in the 7th inning then a Gerardo Parra opposite field clutch tying single. With a two run deficit in the 10th inning, the Nationals scored a run on a walk, two singles, and a fielder’s choice, and had the tying run (Trea Turner) on second base and the winning run (Adam Eaton) on first base with Rendon in the batter’s box with one out and Juan Soto standing on the on-deck circle. Rendon fouled out just off first base and Juan Soto went to the left side with a groundball and unfortunately right to a Braves’ fielder to end the game.