Olson, Riley homer as Braves send Nats to 9th loss in a row

Jul 16, 2022, 5:51 AM | Updated: 6:37 pm

Atlanta Braves' Michael Harris II runs home to score on a double by Dansby Swanson during the seven...

Atlanta Braves' Michael Harris II runs home to score on a double by Dansby Swanson during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, July 16, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Matt Olson and freshly minted All-Star Austin Riley hit consecutive home runs in the third inning, and the Atlanta Braves rolled to a 6-3 victory Saturday night and dealt the Washington Nationals their ninth loss in a row.

Atlanta has won nine consecutive games against Washington and is 10-2 against the Nationals this season. The Braves have also won 14 in a row in Washington dating to last year.

Earlier in the day, Washington outfielder Juan Soto expressed irritation after The Athletic, citing unidentified sources, reported he turned down a $440 million, 15-year contract offer to remain with the Nationals that would have been the most lucrative in baseball history. The 23-year-old is a two-time All-Star who finished second in NL MVP voting last year.

The Braves took the lead in the third against Washington starter Paolo Espino (0-3). With two men on, Olson poked an opposite-field shot just over the fence in left for his 17th homer of the season. Riley, who was selected to his first All-Star team earlier in the day, then blasted his 27th home run to center.

Riley ranks second in the NL in homers, two behind Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber.

“That guy is just the real deal,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s just a really, really good player. He’s All-Star caliber. Hopefully he’s in the MVP talk in another couple of months.”

Riley is batting .412 (21 for 51) with seven homers and 13 RBIs during his 12-game hitting streak.

Atlanta starter Max Fried (10-3) earned his 50th career win, allowing three runs in seven innings while striking out four. He and Kyle Wright (11-4) are the first Braves duo with double-digit victories at the All-Star break since Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens in 2011.

“They had some really good at-bats and I would have liked to keep a couple more runs off the board, but the guys did a great job of grinding out at-bats and getting a good lead. So I just had to try to hold it,” Fried said.

After a rain delay of 1 hour, 49 minutes, Jesse Chavez worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Kenley Jansen handled the ninth for his 22nd save in 26 attempts.

The Nationals (30-63) have the worst record in the majors, have lost 15 of 16 and are 7-36 against the NL East. The nine-game skid is Washington’s longest since dropping 11 consecutive games spanning the 2008 and 2009 seasons and its lengthiest in a single season since a 12-game slide in August 2008.

The Nationals are 33 games under .500 for the first time since going 59-103 in 2009.

“It would be nice to come out there tomorrow and get a victory, it really would,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “What I do know is these guys are going to come out and play hard. Every day, these guys don’t let up. They keep going.”

Soto extended his on-base streak to a career-high 25 games with a single in the fourth. Josh Bell then tripled Soto in before scoring on Keibert Ruiz’s groundout. Bell added an RBI single in the sixth.

Espino allowed four runs (three earned) in 5 1/3 innings and struck out five.


Braves: RHP Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery) struck out two in a perfect inning Saturday for Atlanta’s Florida Complex League affiliate in his first appearance at any level since August 2020.

Nationals: DH Nelson Cruz, who left Friday’s game with quad tightness after two plate appearances, was out of the lineup. … RHP Tyler Clippard suffered a leg cramp while warming up in the bullpen and ultimately was not used.


Soto, who will not be a free agent until after the 2024 season, was unhappy contract negotiations became public.

“It feels really bad to see stuff going out like that because I’m a guy who, my side keeps everything quiet and try to keep it to them and me,” Soto said before the game. “They just make the decision and do what they need to do.”


Riley learned Saturday morning he was a late addition to the NL All-Star team, replacing St. Louis’ Nolan Arenado.

“Excited, that’s about as plain and simple as I can put it,” Riley said. “It’s something you work for and try to accomplish. To be going, I’m super thankful.”


Braves: RHP Spencer Strider (4-2, 2.56 ERA) has struck out 31 and allowed two earned runs in 16 2/3 innings over three outings this month.

Nationals: Washington will opt for a bullpen game Sunday for the finale of the four-game series.


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

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


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

Olson, Riley homer as Braves send Nats to 9th loss in a row