Braves win 12th straight game but lose Ozzie Albies to broken foot

WASHINGTON — The Braves still have not lost in June.

Atlanta defeated the Nationals, 9-5, in Monday’s series opener at Nationals Park. The Braves are now 35-27.

Here are five observations:

1. The Braves experienced a mix of emotions in Monday’s game.

On one hand, they extended their winning streak to 12 games. On the other, they lost Ozzie Albies, who fractured his left foot, for an indefinite time.

With home runs and two-out RBIs and more, the Braves continued to roll. They continued looking dangerous. Michael Harris hit his first big-league homer. But losing Albies, an important part of the lineup, hurts.

The Braves continued playing well in the series opener. Their 12-game winning streak is their longest since 2013, when they won 14 in a row.

This club is also creeping closer to the franchise’s longest winning streak of the modern era, which was the 2000 team’s 15-game winning streak.

“We started playing really good baseball, all around,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Our starting pitching. The bullpen’s been unbelievable. And guys started to hit. Playing good defense. It’s just been a total team thing, just playing good, solid baseball day in and day out.”

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2. The Braves are now 24-4 when they score the first run of the game. That’s the best such record in the majors.

It helps when you score the game’s first six runs.

Due to the rain, which delayed the start of this game by 1 hour, 33 minutes, the Nationals chose not to send scheduled starter Josiah Gray to the mound. Instead, they opted for Erasmo Ramirez.

The Braves hammered him.

Travis d’Arnaud led off the second inning with a home run, and Dansby Swanson later plated two more with a two-out single. In the third inning, Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall hit back-to-back home runs. (The Braves have gone back-to-back in consecutive games and four times this season).

3. After Harris entered the dugout following his home run trot, Braves fans behind the visiting dugout began chanting.

Michael! Michael! Michael! Michael!

On the night he hit his first big-league homer, Harris also experienced his first curtain call.

“That just shows the love that Braves Country has for the team,” Harris said. “The whole game, it felt like a home game honestly, with the crowd behind our dugout.”

In the top of the eighth inning, Harris hit a 388-foot, opposite-field home run that landed in his team’s bullpen. The solo blast gave the Braves a four-run lead.

Harris has impacted the game offensively, with his glove and with his wheels thus far.

And on Monday, he added another moment he’ll never forget.

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Credit: Sam Baskin

Credit: Sam Baskin

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4. Albies took an awkward swing and crumpled to the ground. He never left the batter’s box as the ball he hit rolled to the shortstop.

He got up and limped back to the dugout. Orlando Arcia replaced Albies at second base.

The Braves don’t yet know how long he will be out.

“I hate it for Ozzie, hate it for us,” Snitker said. “It’s unfortunate. But it’s one of those things. He’ll be fine. He’s young, he’ll heal quick. Like I said, I just hate it for the kid, because he loves to play baseball. He’s such a big part of our club here. It’s just a chance for somebody else to do something good.”

Albies, who has two Silver Slugger Awards, has not performed at that rate this season. That said, he’s a proven hitter who could have quickly turned it around and gotten hot. His absence will hurt the Braves, even if their lineup is deep enough to overcome it.

5. Swanson went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. In addition to his two-run single, he blasted a two-run home run in the sixth inning.

Swanson is batting .292 with an .816 OPS. He’s also playing tremendous defense.

“Just continued growth, confidence, keeping things simple,” Swanson said. “Just continue to focus on being on time. Obviously, you can’t hit if you’re not on time.”

He struggled at the plate to begin the season. Now his performances have you wondering how much he might earn if he hits free agency after this season.

Braves 9, Nationals 5 (box score)

Stat to know

48 – Atlanta has outscored opponents by a combined 48 runs over its winning streak, an average of four runs per game.

Quotable

“Obviously, winning is the goal and continuing to play well is obviously just as important. But at the end of the day, I think the guys that we’ve got in this clubhouse consistently show up and do the work to be successful that day. I think that focus is going to obviously lead to good things down the road.” – Swanson on the team amid the winning streak

Up next

Max Fried toes the rubber for Tuesday’s game versus the Nationals, which begins at 7:05 p.m.