Nats rally on Rendon’s grand slam (Nats win 9-7)

The Braves were able to connect off left-hander Gio Gonzalez quickly in the first inning. Ender Inciarte singled and then scored on an Adonis Garcia double that rolled all the way to the right-field wall. Two batters later, a Matt Kemp grounder scored Garcia for a 2-0 Braves lead.

Gio Gonzalez throws white close.jpgThe Braves added a run in the second on one of the rarest plays in baseball. Former Vanderbilt star Dansby Swanson slammed a pitch off of the right-center field wall and the ball ricocheted past center fielder Trea Turner. With no one backing Turner up, Swanson raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run, his first career homer.

After an inning and a half, the Braves lead 3-0 over the Nationals.

Update: Gonzalez helped his own cause with an RBI single in the second. With Anthony Rendon on after being hit by a pitch and following a Danny Espinosa single, Gonzalez delivered a clean single up the middle with two outs. The hit put the Nats on the board. After two innings, the Braves lead the Nationals 3-1.

Update II: Gonzalez’s top of third inning got off to a similar start as his first frame. Inciarte and Garcia contributed base hits. Freddie Freeman then delivered an infield single to score Inciarte and the Braves extended their lead back to 4-1. Gonzalez was able to catch Freeman off first thanks to a great diving tag by Danny Espinosa for the first out. The lefty then struck out Kemp and Nick Markakis.

Heading to the bottom of the third, the Braves lead 4-1.

Update III: The Nationals took it to Williams Perez in the third. Jayson Werth, Murphy and Bryce Harper all singled to load the bases. Anthony Rendon then connected on his first career grand slam to lift the Nationals to their first lead of the game at 5-4. Rendon’s homer was his 17th of the season.

Ryan ZImmerman added a solo homer over the right-center field wall, his 14th of the season, and the Nationals chased Perez. Perez finished just 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts. The five runs in the third matched Monday’s series opener total in the same inning.

Update IV: Gonzalez could not hold the lead. Tyler Flowers singled and Gordon Beckham doubled to begin the fourth. Gonzalez was lifted for Matt Belisle. Swanson added a RBI groundout and relief pitcher Joel De La Cruz singled to score another run. The Nationals short-lived lead had evaporated that quickly, and the game is tied at 6-6 heading to the bottom of the fourth.

Update V: In the bottom of the eighth, Michael A. Taylor scored when catcher Tyler Flowers’ throw on Ben Revere’s sac bunt attempt with runners on first and second sailed into left field and the Nats lead 7-6. With two men in scoring position, Trea Turner delivered a two-run broken-bat single and the Nats led 9-6.

Update VI: Mark Melancon came on in the ninth. Flowers doubled. WIth one out, Swanson brought him home with a single, his third RBI of the night. A.J. Pierzynski grounded into a double play to end the game. Melancon earned his 39th save, his ninth with the Nats.

The Nationals come back from a 4-1 deficit to beat the Braves 9-7. Rendon hit a grand slam, Turner had two hits and two RBIs.

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