Late homer, Taylor's bunt key in Nats' 10-9 win (updated)

The Nationals offense finally got off to a good start, scoring seven times in the first three innings Friday night. But the Braves used a dramatic Freddie Freeman grand slam to tie the game in the fourth.

With the way things had gone for the Nats during their seven-game losing streak, many wondered if the Braves would again just finish them off.

Not so fast, said the Nats' hottest hitter, Trea Turner.

Trea-Turner-swing-blue-sidebar.jpgHis solo homer in the sixth broke the tie, helping to steer the Nats to a 10-9 victory in a seesaw affair that earned the Nats a split of the Friday doubleheader at Truist Park.

"These guys, I say it all the time, they don't quit," said manager Davey Martinez during the postgame Zoom video session with reporters. "We could be down and they just find a way to stay in the game and do what they do. It was a battle today. From the first inning on we jumped up and they came back, and we came back and they came back. Finally we thought we broke it open and luckily we had some good at-bats in the top of the seventh, got some more runs."

In the top of the sixth with the game tied 7-7, Turner drove an 0-1 slider over the center field wall off Braves reliever Will Smith, giving the Nats the lead again and raising his batting average to .364.

"He has been unbelievable this year," said Martinez. "He gets up there and he does what he does. He puts the ball in play hard and it was a big lift for us. Because we battled to get where we were. We gave a lead back and he comes up there and hits a home run. To me, that was huge."

Turner on the game-changing homer: "Got a good pitch in the zone and didn't miss it, and happy to give us a chance to win because scuffling pretty bad. We ended up holding on and hopefully we can get the ball rolling."

It was the most runs the Nats have scored in a game in exactly one week, since their 10-2 dispatch of the Red Sox last Friday night, which was also their last win.

The Nats scored early and often against Braves starter Huascar Ynoa, building a 7-3 advantage.

Victor Robles was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. After a balk by Ynoa and a groundout, Robles came home on a sacrifice fly to center field by Asdrúbal Cabrera. The Nats led 1-0.

In the second, Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch with one out. A single by Luis García moved Harrison up and he scored on a Brock Holt single and the Nats led 2-1. It marked Holt's first hit and first RBI as a Nationals player.

In the third, the Nats erupted for five runs on five hits.

Ynoa was sent to the showers, thanks to three hits and a walk by the Nats. Cabrera singled, Kurt Suzuki doubled and Eric Thames' single to shallow right brought them both home. The Nats led 4-3.

Luke Jackson relieved Ynoa and was greeted by another single from García. With the bases loaded, a passed ball by catcher Travis d'Arnaud scored Thames to make it 5-3 Nats.

Michael A. Taylor ripped a double off the third base bag and two runs scored. The Nats led 7-3.

Wil Crowe allowed homers by Austin Riley and Ronald Acuña Jr., and an RBI double to Marcell Ozuna. Crowe ended up going 2 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits.

"Just trying to throw quality strike-one pitches and then staying in the zone," Crowe said. "I think today I got kind of out of my mechanics a little bit and I could feel it. I'm so close. I'm really close to being there it's just a thing here, a thing there. I make a good pitch and then I make three bad ones. So it's just staying consistent in my mechanics and throwing that quality first-pitch strike."

He got into trouble in the third. Freeman led off with a double. After striking out Ozuna, Crowe then walked d'Arnaud and Nick Markakis to load the bases.

Kyle Finnegan came in and induced a huge 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Riley to end the inning.

The Braves completed the comeback in the fourth against Finnegan and Tanner Rainey.

Adam Duvall singled and Johan Carmargo reached on a García fielding error. Rainey came in and struck out Acuña. But then he walked Dansby Swanson. With the bases loaded, Freeman crushed a 1-0 fastball well over the right-center field wall to the game at 7-7. It was Rainey's third appearance in as many days. Surprisingly, it was Freeman's first career grand slam.

After Turner's solo shot, Thames doubled and Wilmer Difo added an RBI sacrifice fly. Taylor singled and drove in a run with a perfect bunt.

Thames ended up with two hits, two runs and two RBIs. Taylor finished with two hits and three RBIs. García added two hits a run scored. Up and down the lineup, players delivered on offense.

"It just felt good to put up a bunch of runs and have everyone contribute," said Turner. "Felt like that was one of the first games that the lineup from top to bottom has been really solid and really good."

Will Harris allowed a base hit to Camargo but then struck out Acuña and Swanson. Freeman connected on a line drive but García played him perfectly, catching it on the fly in shallow right field for the final out of the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh, Daniel Hudson surrendered a two-run shot to d'Arnaud, but found a way to record three outs for his seventh save of the season.

Injury update: Harrison had to leave the game after scoring in the second inning. He had been hit on his left arm with a pitch. Difo came into the game to play third base and Holt moved to left field. Martinez said Harrison went for an X-Ray and an MRI postgame and both came back negative.

"He's got a contusion on his forearm," Martinez said. "We got lucky on that one, because he got hit pretty good."

Juan Soto was scratched from the lineup of the opener with soreness in his left elbow. He did not appear in the nightcap. He was seen in the dugout wearing a compression sleeve on his sore elbow.

"Soto came in and his elbow was sore," Martinez said. "He got an MRI, everything came out clean. We are going to give him a couple of days. He's pretty tender. It's his throwing elbow. We are going to see how he feels tomorrow and then go from there."

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