The Braves squandered an opportunity Wednesday, running their way into a 3-2 loss to the Nationals at Truist Park.

Here are five takeaways from Wednesday:

1. The Braves led 2-1 before Joey Meneses’ two-run shot off Jesse Chavez gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead in the seventh. The Braves, who’ve mastered the art of late-game heroics, still had plenty of time to rally. Those opportunities came, but they wasted them.

In the bottom of the seventh, Dansby Swanson struck out and Vaughn Grissom was thrown out at second to end the inning. In the eighth, the Braves had two base runners, but a crucial blunder cost them.

When Michael Harris singled, Austin Riley ran from second to third. He rounded third, following the instruction of third-base coach Ron Washington, but Washington changed course last second, giving Riley the stop sign. Riley, who would’ve been out at out at home, retreated to third.

William Contreras, who was running to third, was caught for the second out. Eddie Rosario lined out to second to end the inning. The Braves went quietly in the ninth, seeing their five-game win streak end.

“You can’t make the base-running mistakes we did and expect to win a close game,” manager Brian Snitker said.

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2. Regarding Contreras, Snitker noted that a base runner must be aware of the person in front of him. Still, Contreras was in a difficult position after Riley went back to third.

“When you’re playing close games, those are the things you can control,” Snitker said. “There are so many things in this game you can’t control. We can control our base running.”

Riley, explaining the situation: “It’s tough to go on the fly (when it’s a liner). Wash was giving me the go the whole time, then right at the last second, he gave me the stop sign. I think at that point, Contreras was already there. It’s tough. It happens.”

3. The 23-year-old Bryce Elder made a spot start Wednesday, allowing one run on four hits across 5-2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked two, doing enough to exit with a 2-1 advantage.

Elder has spent most of the season in Triple-A, and he has impressed during his major-league opportunities. He has a 0.99 ERA with a 22:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his past three starts (18-2/3 innings). Elder is showing he could be a bigger part of the team next season.

“He was good again,” Snitker said. “It’s done him wonders, just leaving him in Triple-A and getting the reps, making the consistent starts. It shows you this guy can be a piece of this down the road. What he did today was really, really good. He helped us out a lot. … That was big. He gave us an opportunity. We couldn’t get anything going offensively. We didn’t run the bases great. When you do that, it’s probably not going to turn out really well for you.”

Nationals 3, Braves 2 (box score)

4. Wednesday’s defeat stopped Braves’ 10-game home win streak. They outscored opponents 47-16 over that run. Their pitching staff had a collective 1.50 ERA, with the rotation owning a 1.21 mark. It was the ninth double-digit home win streak in the franchise’s modern era. It was their longest run at Truist Park since winning 11 consecutive contests from May 29-June 20 in 2019.

5. The Braves completed a 5-1 homestand, sweeping the Phillies and taking two of three from the Nationals. They have three home games left, and they’re important: A series against the Mets that starts a week from Friday, one that very well could decide the National League East. The Mets lost to the Brewers 6-0 on Wednesday, so the Braves remained one game back.

“We took care of the Phillies and took two of three against Washington; you can nitpick as much as you want, but that’s a good homestand,” Riley said. “I think we took care of business.”

Stat to know

12-4 (The Braves are 12-4 against the Nationals, with three games remaining in Washington next week.)


“We shot ourselves in the foot too many times on the bases today to win a close game.” – Snitker

Up next

Max Fried (13-6, 2.52 ERA) will start the first of four games Thursday for the Braves in Philadelphia.