The Braves couldn’t complete the sweep Sunday against the Nationals, losing the series finale 6-2 at Truist Park.

Here are five takeaways from Sunday:

1. The Nationals used a five-run sixth to snap the Braves’ seven-game winning streak. Braves starter Bryce Elder, who’d pitched well to that point, surrendered four hits in the inning and was charged four runs. The big blow was Jeimer Candelario’s go-ahead two-run blast.

“At the end, it kind of got away from me,” Elder said. “It was just the whole game coming together of poor sinker command, falling behind a bunch, a couple hits there at the end.”

It was a rare unraveling for Elder, who began Sunday with a 2.26 ERA, lowest in the National League. His 2.69 ERA is now third in the league, trailing Cubs starters Marcus Stroman (2.42) and Justin Steele (2.65).

2. Elder allowed a season-worst five earned runs, surpassing the four runs he surrendered April 26 against Miami. His eight hits allowed tied a season most. Elder admitted he didn’t have his best stuff, but he’d managed through the first five innings allowing one run on four hits.

“I think there are always going to be some starts in the year where it’s really, really good, and there will be some starts where it’s really, really bad,” Elder said. “The other 25 or so are going to be a grind, and that was one of them.”

3. The Braves (40-25) have made a living off comebacks lately – they trailed in each of their wins during this homestand – but their fortune ran out Sunday. They fell just short of a perfect homestand, going 5-1 after sweeping the Mets and taking two of three from last-place Washington.

Perhaps they had a rally in them if not for Alex Call’s leaping snag to rob outfielder Michael Harris of an extra-base hit (possible two-run homer) in the sixth. Nonetheless, it was a successful six-game stretch as the team maintains its lead atop the NL East. It finished Sunday with a 3-1/2-game lead on the Marlins (37-29).

“When you come into these division games, I feel like guys are a little more locked in,” third baseman Austin Riley said. “At the end of the year, you want to be at the top. That’s the goal. It always starts there. Snit (Braves manager Brian Snitker) has always said that, you have to win the division first. Then you move on from there. So there are definitely asterisks on those games.”

4. Designated hitter Marcell Ozuna extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4 performance. Since hitting .091 in April, Ozuna has looked closer to the player he was in 2020, when he flirted with the Triple Crown during the truncated season and the Braves rewarded him with a four-year deal. It’s been a drastic turnaround after some outsiders called for the Braves to eat the money and release Ozuna earlier this season.

Ozuna, who hit .297 last month, has gone 11-for-28 (.393) with a 1.131 OPS in June. His revival, and Harris getting his season on track, has greatly lengthened the Braves’ lineup.

“I have a lot of respect for (Ozuna), that he hung in there and was accountable and worked his tail off,” Snitker said. “He had a great attitude about everything. When he wasn’t playing, he was right there on the bench with the guys continuing to work. I’m happy for him after everything he’s gone through to see where he’s come.”

5. The 101-win Braves found their best form last June, going 21-6 with a 14-game winning streak. Despite Sunday’s loss, these Braves have likewise played well in June. They’re 7-2 to start the month with the lowly Tigers on deck. Detroit is 0-9 in June.

Stat to know

8 (Following his blast to the Chop House roof on Sunday, first baseman Matt Olson’s eight first-inning home runs are the most in the majors, one more than Yankees slugger Aaron Judge.)


“This time of year, it should (start coming together). After all the games we’ve played, we’d had a couple long spells where we were playing every day. If you’re going to get something going, that’s the time to do it.” - Snitker

Up next

The Braves begin a three-game series in Detroit on Monday. They will start Charlie Morton (5-6, 3.89) in the opener.