Adams’ first career HR in 9th lifts Nats past Braves, 3-2

Aug 7, 2021, 7:29 AM | Updated: 8:58 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — Riley Adams’ two-run homer in the ninth gave Washington the lead and the Nationals rallied with three runs off Atlanta closer Will Smith, beating the Braves 3-2 on Saturday night.

Smith blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth, wasting a strong start from Charlie Morton and costing Atlanta an opportunity to move past the New York Mets and into second place in the tight NL East.

Adams, a rookie catcher who took a .091 batting average into the game, crushed the first pitch he saw from Smith for a high homer, the first of his career, into the left-field seats. The homer drove in Ryan Zimmerman, who had a pinch-hit double.

Morton allowed only three hits in six scoreless innings to outpitch Washington rookie Josiah Gray.

Smith suffered his third blown save in 25 chances. The left-hander walked Josh Bell before giving up Zimmerman’s double to open the ninth. Bell scored on Luis García’s groundout as Zimmerman advanced to third.

Jorge Soler had two hits, including a homer for Atlanta.

Morton escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth by striking out Yadiel Hernandez and Josh Bell.

With runners on first and second, Hernandez ended the eighth with a fly ball off Luke Jackson to the warning track in left field. Hernandez saw his nine-game hitting streak end.

Gray, making his second start following his trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30, set a career high with 10 strikeouts. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits in five innings.

Soler pulled a fastball from Gray into the left-field stands for his 16th homer in the first. Atlanta added an unearned run off Gray in the third when Stephen Vogt struck out but reached on a wild pitch and scored on Ozzie Albies’ single and center fielder Andrew Stevenson’s fielding error.

Andres Machado (1-0) had two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. Kyle Finnegan pitched the ninth for his third save.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman left the game with an upper respiratory infection after playing only one inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: After an MRI on his right knee was negative earlier on Saturday, revealing only a bruise, OF Juan Soto walked as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Soto was held out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game. Before the game, manager Dave Martinez said Soto was “moving around a little better today.”

Braves: RHP Huascar Ynoa (right hand fracture) could be nearing the end of his minor league rehab. Ynoa gave up three runs, one earned, in 3 2/3 innings for Gwinnett on Friday night. “One more time out and he’s stretched out,” manager Brian Snitker said Saturday. Ynoa had a 3.02 ERA in nine games and had 50 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings for Atlanta before breaking his hand when punching the dugout on May 16.

UP NEXT

Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (6-10. 5.74) has lost his last three decisions and has allowed four or more runs in each of his last four starts. He gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss at Atlanta on June 3, his only start against the Braves this season.

Braves: LHP Max Fried (8-7, 4.05) has an ugly 8.82 ERA and 1-1 record in three starts against Washington this season.

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Adams’ first career HR in 9th lifts Nats past Braves, 3-2