Robles catch helps Nats hold on for 8-5 win over Braves

MLB

ATLANTA (AP)Victor Robles denied a homer with a brilliant catch above the center-field wall and the Washington Nationals bounced back from a stunning loss to beat the Atlanta Braves 8-5 Tuesday night.

With every starter contributing to a 17-hit attack and Eric Thames driving in three runs, the Nationals overcame a 5-2 deficit with a four-run fifth inning.

This time, the bullpen made it stand up – one night after closer Daniel Hudson surrendered a three-run lead in the ninth, giving up a pair of homers including Dansby Swanson’s two-run, two-out shot.

Freddie Freeman homered for the Braves, and Austin Riley could’ve had one in the fifth if not for Robles.

With two outs and a runner aboard, Riley hit a shot that appeared headed over the wall in the deepest part of Truist Park. But Robles drifted back, timed his leap perfectly and stretched above the yellow line to make the catch, preserving a 6-5 lead.

Rounding first, Riley buckled backward in disbelief when he saw Robles holding up his glove to display the ball. On the mound, Wander Suero thrust his right arm toward the sky, clearly relieved that his teammate had bailed him out.

Josh Tomlin, coming out of the bullpen to make his first start of the season for Atlanta, gave the Braves four decent innings before handing off to a 5-2 lead to Tyler Matzek.

But the Nationals torched Matzek (2-2), who surrendered six hits and four runs – and committed a throwing error – while recording only a single out.

Adam Eaton, Juan Soto and Yan Gomes all had RBI singles off Matzek before Thames drove in the go-ahead run with a hard grounder to first. Freeman knocked it down, but his only play was to step on the bag while Asdrubal Cabrera scooted home.

Suero (1-0) earned the win with that big assist from Robles. Hudson was handed another three-run lead in the ninth, and this time he held on for his fifth save.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: 2B Starlin Castro will undergo surgery Friday to insert a pin in his broken right wrist. He still hopes to return before the end of the season. ”They’re doing it this way because it will recover a lot quicker,” manager Dave Martinez said. ”He said, `If you get to the playoffs, I’ll be back to help you guys.’ That’s encouraging.” … LHP Sean Doolittle (left knee) reported no issues after throwing about 20 pitches off flat ground. If he doesn’t have any setbacks, Doolittle will advance to throw 10-12 pitches off a mound ”and go from there,” Martinez said. … Washington still doesn’t have a prognosis for RHP Stephen Strasburg (right wrist), who will next be examined by a hand specialist. ”I’ve not really heard definitively what’s going on,” Martiinez said. ”They want to run more tests.”

Braves: OF Nick Markakis went on the 10-day injured list just before the start of the game after possibly being exposed to Covid-19. Markakis initially opted out of the season because of coronavirus concerns, only to change his mind and rejoin the Braves a couple of weeks ago. He was replaced on the active roster by OF Cristian Pache, one of the team’s top prospects.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RH Erick Fedde (1-1, 2.55) will make his first start since July 30. He has worked out of the bullpen in his last three appearances, but essentially made a start his last time out after taking over for the ailing Strasburg. Fedde pitched two-hit ball over 5 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the win in a 15-3 rout of Baltimore.

Braves: RH Kyle Wright (0-3, 7.20) will take another shot at his first big league win. He has a career mark of 0-6, struggling to find any consistency despite being one of Atlanta’s top pitching prospects. Wright is coming off another rough outing in a loss at Miami, giving up three runs and six walks over three innings. ”It’s not a healthy formula,” manager Brian Snitker said. ”We need our starting pitching to shoulder most of the workload.”

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