Another Freeman grand slam dooms Nats in 10-3 defeat (updated)

Freddie Freeman had no grand slams to his credit prior to the Braves' series this weekend against the Nationals at Truist Park.

Now he has two.

Atlanta ran away from a close game with four runs in the sixth inning thanks to the second grand slam by Freeman in two days and the Braves dispatched the Nats 10-3.

Atlanta blasted 12 homers over the four games. The Nats also walked nine batters in the game, allowing the Braves extra baserunners, and finished 3-8 on the 11-game road trip.

Marcell Ozuna went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and four RBIs. Tyler Flowers added two doubles and two RBIs as the Braves rolled up 13 hits, extending their lead to 9 1/2 games over the Nats in the National League East.

Holt-Slides-Safely-Into-Home-Gray-Sidebar.jpgThe Nats jumped ahead in the second. Red-hot Brock Holt dropped in a single to right-center field with one away. One batter later, Eric Thames drove a 3-2 pitch deep into the right field corner. Holt came all the way around from first base and slid home safely.

Catcher Tyler Flowers did not have the ball in his glove when he reached to tag Holt at home plate. The Nats led 1-0.

Holt finished with eight hits in the series.

"I think it's finally getting some consistent at-bats," Holt said. "Obviously feeling better, seeing the ball better. Just trying to put together good at-bats. Not really focused on the numbers and what they are and just trying to go up there and have a good at-bat. It's good to see some results. Obviously, this is a game based off of results, so you want to see them. So it's nice to finally see some results happening."

Besides Thames' RBI single in the second, the Nats did not have another baserunner get into scoring position until the ninth inning.

The Nats added two runs in the ninth on a Trea Turner RBI triple and an Asdrúbal Cabrera run-scoring single.

Atlanta got going in the fourth, connecting off Nats starter Patrick Corbin thanks to extra-base hits from Adam Duvall and Tyler Flowers.

Austin Riley singled with one out. Duvall dropped in a ground rule double into the left field corner. Flowers then drove a double into the right field corner that Adam Eaton dove for but was unable to catch. Two runs scored to put the Braves up 2-1.

The Braves got to Corbin in the fifth. Leading off the inning, Ozuna crushed a solo shot over the left field wall. His 13th of the season extending their lead to 3-1.

In the sixth, Corbin allowed a base hit and a walk. Kyle Finnegan came on and walked Dansby Swanson. With the bases loaded, Freeman followed with the grand slam to boost the Braves lead to 7-1.

"Once again, he got ahead on Freeman 1-2 and he was trying to go away and the ball stayed down the middle," Martinez said. "Just bad location right there, but he's been throwing the ball well. He really has. I told him, 'Hey, keep your head up. You got 1-2, you really got to focus on making that next pitch. When you throw a ball like that to a hitter like that, it's going to get hit hard. So it's just a learning process, you are a young pitcher.' But he's been doing really well."

In the seventh inning during a Thames at-bat, there was a questionable called strike by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt that appeared outside on a Chris Martin sinker. After the pitch, the game was stopped as the umpires pointed up into the stands to ask security to eject someone from the game.

Nats general manager Mike Rizzo was seen on the Braves TV feed standing and facing the field from a box below Section 329, but it was unclear who was being ejected. In the Braves dugout, one umpire went over and spoke to someone via mobile phone. After a short delay, the game resumed.

"I honestly didn't even hear it," Martinez said. "They stopped the game. Joe West went over. I know MLB is going to take a look at what happened. I don't know the details or anything. They stopped for a little bit but we resumed play right away. I talk to Hunter Wendelstedt briefly and he just said, 'Hey, we want to see what we could do about getting a certain guy out.' Basically, I haven't heard from MLB about anything."

Major League Baseball issued the following statement: "We have already been in communication with the Nationals regarding what transpired during today's game, and we will speak with the umpiring crew today. We will expect Joe West's crew to provide a full account of their perspective, and we will follow up with them accordingly."

Ozuna delivered a three-run double in the seventh off Dakota Bacus, making it 10-1.

Corbin lasted 5 1/3 innings, firing 106 pitches and allowing five runs on nine hits with four walks (one intentional) with six strikeouts. The left-hander was hit by a comebacker off the bat of Ronald Acuña Jr. to open the contest, but remained in the game.

"It went right above the knee," Corbin said. "It got all muscle so it's a little sore. It will probably be sore tomorrow, but was able to go out there, pitch still. I am able to push off, so it will probably be a little sore for a little bit, but should be able to do everything that I normally do tomorrow."

The Braves did a nice job against Corbin by laying off the slider and making him work deep into counts. Corbin has gotten used to this strategy.

"I think a lot of teams try to do that," Corbin said. "I thought they had a good game plan today. We mixed it up a little bit. They had extended at-bats. I thought I made some good pitches and gave up some hits on those as well. I thought my stuff was better today. I felt good about that. I feel like we are in the right direction there."

Braves starter Josh Tomlin was outstanding. The right-hander allowed one run on three hits over six frames, with no walks and two strikeouts. He fired 75 pitches, 50 for strikes.

Second baseman Luis García had to leave the game and was replaced by Josh Harrison in the bottom of the sixth inning. Martinez said García's heel was bothering him.

"I guess he has a bruise on the bottom of his heel," Martinez said. "It was really bothering him today, so I wanted to make sure he got checked out. I didn't want to push it. He got checked out. They ruled it just a bruise, so he will be day-to-day."

The Nats finish splitting the four games with the Braves in Atlanta. Martinez saw some good things in the weekend series, and is looking for the club to bounce back Monday night when they finally return home.

"We came out and played," Martinez said. "The guys, as you could see, towards the end of the game today, they don't quit, we scored some runs. But we were behind too much. We got to keep playing baseball. Tomorrow we got Tampa coming in town, so we will bang heads with Tampa tomorrow, go 1-0 tomorrow. I'm pleased. We were one or two pitches away from keeping the game close. We didn't swing the bats very well early in the game, the bats came alive later in the game."

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