Albies, Duvall go deep in Braves’ 8-5 win over Nationals

Sep 7, 2021, 9:02 AM | Updated: 10:23 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — Ozzie Albies hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer off Ryne Harper in the seventh inning, Adam Duvall took Paolo Espino deep with an early three-run shot, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 8-5 on Tuesday night.

Albies, who had four RBIs and went deep for the fourth straight game, put the Braves up 5-1 in the fourth with a sacrifice fly before the Nationals scratched back to score four runs in the seventh against Tyler Matzek on Juan Soto’s RBI single and Yadiel Hernandez’s eighth homer, a three-run shot.

Albies’ 27th homer, which sailed into the seats in left-center, made it 7-5. Duvall, the NL RBIs leader with 97, gave the Braves a 3-1 lead in the first inning with his 32nd homer, which landed in the left field seats.

The switch-hitting Albies told Braves manager Brian Snitker that he wanted to hit right-handed against the right-handed Harper, and Snitker told him to go for it. Albies hit right-handed against Harper last month in Washington.

“I hit right on right before,” he said. “I was telling myself ‘If you get a pitch in the zone, try to drive it.'”

It’s been four games since Albies returned from fouling a ball off his kneecap last week in Los Angeles and had to be carried off the field. Now, he feels as good as ever.

“I mean I hit the ball off my kneecap,” he said. “You saw what happened. I just wanted to come back and do what I do.”

Atlanta, the three-time NL East defending champion, increased its division lead to 2½ games over Philadelphia, but the Braves entered having lost six of nine.

Will Smith recorded his 31st save in 35 chances after facing the minimum in the ninth.

Freddie Freeman doubled in the third and scored on Travis d’Arnaud’s double to make it 4-1. Duvall was tagged out at home on the play to end the inning.

Braves starter Max Fried pitched out of a jam in the second when he struck out Lane Thomas to strand a runner at third, and escaped trouble in the fourth when he stranded two runners on Thomas’ groundout. The lefty left a runner at third in the fifth when he picked off Carter Kieboom at first. The pickoff was Fried’s sixth, and his 20 pickoffs since he debuted in 2017 are most in the major leagues.

Fried gave up one run and six hits with four walks and five strikeouts in six innings. He has a 1.97 ERA in his last 10 starts, a span of 64 innings.

“Mentality — going after guys a little bit more,” Fried said. “I’m feeling like I’m in a really good rhythm. Mechanically, I’ve just spread out my base a little bit more, just try to be a little bit more balanced so I can just make some more pitches. Beyond that, I just feel like I’ve gotten in a really good groove.”

The Nationals led 1-0 in the first when Alcides Escobar doubled, advanced to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on Kieboom’s single to right-center.

Espino allowed five runs and seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.

“We’ve got to get a little bit more from our starting pitchers and keep us close,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “When we do that, we end up winning ballgames. You can’t spot a team five runs and come back and sustain that every day.”

Luke Jackson (2-2) earned the win after replacing Matzek. Harper (0-2) took the loss.

Albies added an RBI single in the eighth to make it 8-5.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals C Keibert Ruiz (left knee bone bruise) was to perform all baseball activities, catch a bullpen and take batting practice before the game. Manager Dave Martinez said Ruiz still has some swelling, He popped up as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. … SS Jordy Mercer, sidelined since July 21 with a left calf strain, took batting practice.

HOMER HAPPY

The Braves, who are second in the NL with 204 homers, have the first infield since the 2008 Florida Marlins to have each starter hit at least 25 long balls. 2B Albies (27) and 3B Austin Riley (29) homered Sunday at Colorado to keep pace with 1B Freeman (28) and SS Dansby Swanson (26). The Marlins had Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramírez and Jorge Cantú reach the mark.

SCORING A LOT

Freeman, last year’s NL MVP, leads the league for the second straight season in runs scored. He has 103 this year and is attempting to become the first first baseman to have consecutive seasons leading the league in that category since Albert Pujols in 2009-2010.

HAPPY TO STAY

Before accepting a new $20 million, one-year contract the day before with Atlanta, RHP Charlie Morton said he had to decide if he wanted to return next year for a 15th season at age 38. The toughest part was knowing he will continue to miss being with his family of four in Bradenton, Fla.

“It was getting hard for me to look at next year and think I wasn’t going to play, and I love it here,” he said. “The group is awesome. It really did take me a little while to decide because it’s a big decision. It involves more than just me, but I’m extremely appreciative. The Braves have been nothing but great. I’m excited.”

UP NEXT

LHP Sean Nolin (0-2, 5.71 ERA) will pitch for the Nationals against Touki Toussaint (3-2, 4.19) as the teams play the second of a three-game series.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
1 day ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
1 day ago
Albies, Duvall go deep in Braves’ 8-5 win over Nationals