Nationals phenom and Braves pest Trea Turner interrupted right-hander Matt Wisler’s strong start before a rain delay ended it. Once play resumed the Braves’ bullpen and bats made sure Wisler still got the win.
The Braves beat the Nationals 6-2 at rain-soaked Turner Field to secure the series victory. Umpire crew chief Joe West called the game with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, following two rain delays that lasted nearly three hours total.
The first delay ended Wisler’s outing after just 5 2/3 innings and 66 pitches. Wisler (7-12) allowed five hits and two earned runs, one of which was charged to him after he departed with a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning.
Wisler skipped a turn in the rotation after suffering a left oblique strain and then the Marlins roughed him up for six runs in his return. He’s had three good outings in four starts since returning from a demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett.
“It’s good when they go down, work on things, come back and put it to use,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s done that. We just want him to keep building, get confidence, trust in himself, (have) conviction in his pitches. If he ever believes in himself as much as we believe in him, then he’s going to be something.”
The Braves (58-91) took two of three games from the Nationals, who won the season series 15-4. The Mets (80-69) gained ground on the Nationals (88-61) in the race for the NL East title.
Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. First baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 22 games and his on-base streak to 38. Both are the longest active streaks in the majors and career-highs for Freeman.
Wisler had little trouble during his first five innings against the Nationals, who managed just three hits (all singles) with no walks over that span.
“Obviously I was disappointed in my last outing,” Wisler said. “Today I came out aggressively and made them put the ball in play. They were swinging early, getting a lot of bad contact, which was good to see. They weren’t squaring balls up like (the Marlins) were last game. That was some stuff to build on.”
Wisler had a 3-0 lead with two outs in the sixth when Turner tripled and Jayson Werth scored him with a double. Turner entered the game hitting .482 with six homers in 12 games against the Braves, including .395 with five home runs in nine games at Turner Field.
A 67-minute rain delay followed Werth’s double, and left-hander Ian Krol relieved Wisler to face Nationals slugger Bryce Harper. Harper scored Werth with a weak fly ball that dropped into shallow left field as center fielder Ender Inciarte couldn’t make a diving catch.
After Krol hit Clint Robinson with a pitch, Snitker called on right-hander Chaz Roe to face Wilson Ramos. Roe struck out Ramos to end the threat and preserve the 3-2 lead, and the Braves added to it with three runs in the bottom of the inning against left-hander Marc Rzepczynski.
Shorstop Dansby Swanson led off with a walk and pinch hitter Emilio Bonifacio singled before Inciarte moved both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Garcia followed with a two-run single and Freeman scored him with a double.
Wisler got double-play ground balls in the second and fifth innings. Turner lined out to center field to end the third inning after Ross hit a two-out single.
“Phenomenal,” Swanson said of Wisler’s start. “Whenever somebody can command a couple of good pitches and keep the ball down in the zone and throw strikes, keep everybody involved, the flow of the game goes a lot better. It gives you a better chance to sustain momentum offensively, as well.”
The Nationals activated right-hander Joe Ross (7-5) from the 60-day disabled list for the start and he allowed one run over three innings. The Braves added Swanson’s RBI double and Garcia’s RBI single in the fourth against right-hander Reynaldo Lopez.
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