Nationals manager Davey Martinez had some cautiously optimistic news on the status of Matt Adams. The first baseman had to leave the game after getting hit by a pitch on the outside near the lateral longitudinal arch of his right foot.
"He had a CT scan today - came back negative," Martinez said. "He's good. It's a contusion. He's getting treated right now. Hoping that he's available to pinch-hit today for the game."
With Max Scherzer being placed on the injured list, Martinez confirmed right-hander Erick Fedde will start tomorrow night against Braves right-hander Julio Teheran.
The Nationals also announced they have returned right-hander Justin Miller from his rehab assignment, reinstated him from the 60-day injured list and designated him for assignment. Miller pitched in 17 games this season for the Nats, going 1-0 in 15 2/3 innings with a 4.02 ERA.
* The Nats and Braves match up for the 10th of 19 regular season meetings tonight. Washington is 5 1/2 games back of Atlanta for first-place in the National League East, and are tied for the top spot in the NL wild card.
Martinez was asked about what it was like for him as a player when his team was in the thick of a real pennant race.
"As a player, this is where you want to be," Martinez said. "You work hard. Just think about your preparation going to spring training, getting to spring training, get yourself ready for the season and then start playing the games. And then all of a sudden, now you're in a race. That's really what you play for: to get to that next stage, which is the playoffs. Like I always say to the players, the way we get there is taking care of the here and now. That's what we're about today, like we been doing, and we'll go from there."
Martinez used the resurgence of the bullpen as an example of why the Nationals have been able to put themselves back in the playoff hunt. The bullpen has calmed down from its tough beginning to the season. But the relievers can be blamed in part for the getting the club in their 19-31 predicament in the first place.
"Everybody talked about how are bullpen was, and this and that," Martinez said. "We wouldn't be in the position we are in if our bullpen didn't pitch fairly well. And they pitched fairly well. We need these guys. I tell them all the time: You got to come out here and perform today. They've done a great job. I tell them: Keep it going. We are all in this together. We can do a lot of things but we obviously can't win without you guys."
Heading into the series with Atlanta, the Nats have the good fortune of having a fresh Fernando Rodney and Sean Doolittle. Rodney has not pitched since Thursday and Doolittle has not pitched since Wednesday's doubleheader.
"They are all fresh," Martinez said. "(Tanner) Rainey didn't throw that much. (Wander) Suero came in yesterday, threw 14 pitches. He's good. So, yeah, definitely helps."
* Something can be said for the way the Nats hung tough with the Los Angeles Dodgers, falling just 4-3 in the overall season series. Martinez mentioned Sunday night after his team throttled the 69-win Dodgers 11-4 that his club matched up well with them. He feels like that about tonight's matchup with the Braves, too.
"Honestly, I think we match up well with everybody," Martinez said. "When you have the starting pitching that we have and they keep you in the ball game, we compete. That's all we can ask. If you look at our lineup, we can compete. We got to go out and play our kind of baseball and not worry about the Braves or the Dodgers or whoever we are playing. Just play good baseball consistently and hopefully we'll stay on top."
Update: The Nationals struck first against veteran southpaw Dallas Keuchel. Juan Soto laced an RBI single to center field to score Adam Eaton in the first inning. In the second, following a Yan Gomes free pass, Trea Turner dropped in a run-scoring double to left field.
Nats left-hander Patrick Corbin has not allowed a base hit in three frames. The official scorer changed a single from Ozzie Albies in the first inning to a fielding error by second baseman Brian Dozier.
After three innings, the Nats lead the Braves 2-0.
Update II: The Braves got on the board in the fourth with three hits. Freddie Freeman notched the first single of the game for Atlanta and went to second on a wild pitch. Adam Duvall singled to third base. Anthony Rendon's throw sailed over Howie Kendrick's glove, allowing Freeman to score. Rendon was charged with an error. Despite another base hit from Johan Camargo, Corbin bounced back to strike out Austin Riley looking to end the rally.
Mid-fourth, the Nats lead the Braves 2-1.
Update III: With one out in the sixth, Freeman singled again. Josh Donaldson singled to put runners on the corners. Adam Duvall drove a ball to deep left field that was caught by Soto in front of the bullpen fence, scoring Freeman.
Mid-sixth, the Nats and the Braves are tied 2-2.
Update IV: The Nats took control of the game in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Rendon launched a 2-0 pitch from Braves reliever Chad Sobotka deep over the left field wall for a grand slam, his 500th RBI of his career and 23rd homer of the season.
Rendon's third career grand slam gave the Nats the lead again. It was the fourth grand slam by the Nats this season.
Corbin went six innings, allowing two runs on five hits with one walk, one wild pitch and eight strikeouts. The southpaw threw 107 pitches, 67 for strikes.
After six innings, the Nats lead the Braves 6-2.
Update V: Wander Suero and Fernando Rodney combined to pitch a pair of scoreless innings. Sean Doolittle allowed a solo homer to pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson. Ender Inciarte struck out to end the game. Doolittle struck out the side.
Final score: Nats 6, Braves 3.
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