07/21 21:30 CDT Gausman makes strong return from IL as Braves beat Nats 7-1
Gausman makes strong return from IL as Braves beat Nats 7-1
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) --- Kevin Gausman pitched into the eighth inning after missing
more than a month, Josh Donaldson and Ronald Acua Jr. homered, and the Atlanta
Braves beat the Washington Nationals 7-1 on Sunday night to protect their NL
Nick Markakis hit a two-run single in the first off Joe Ross (0-2). Donaldson
added his sixth-inning homer off Ross and a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Acua launched a two-run homer off Kyle McGowin in the eighth.
Following a split of the four-game series, the first-place Braves still lead
the Nationals by 6 games.
Gausman (3-5) made his first start since June 10 after recovering from plantar
fasciitis in his right foot. He allowed five hits and one run in seven-plus
innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks.
The surprise was Gausman stuck with the same primary pitches --- fastball and
splitter --- after working on a new cutter and his curveball during his minor
league rehab assignment. The right-hander didn't change his plan even after the
first two batters he faced --- Trea Turner and Adam Eaton --- hit long fly
balls to the warning track.
Gausman had another scare when Anthony Rendon led off the sixth with a drive
caught by Ender Inciarte at the center field wall. The right-hander then struck
out Juan Soto and Matt Adams.
Gausman did not allow a runner to reach second base until the eighth, when he
was pulled after giving up singles to Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki to open the
inning. Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra's bloop single off Anthony Swarzak drove in
Ross, recalled from Triple-A Fresno before the game, allowed three runs on
eight hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.
The loss by Ross snapped a string of 27 consecutive starts without a defeat for
Washington starting pitchers since June 16. It was the longest streak since the
1916 New York Giants.
Acua singled up the middle and was thrown out at second by Victor Robles to
end the second inning. Acua, who also walked in the seventh before his homer
one inning later, has reached safely in 27 consecutive games, the longest
active streak in the majors.
Freddie Freeman had three hits and an RBI.
Robles raced in toward the infield to make a diving catch of Dansby Swanson's
shallow fly in the fifth.
Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman left with an apparent right foot injury following
an infield single in the second. Zimmerman, who missed 53 games with plantar
fasciitis in his right foot this season, showed obvious discomfort while
running down the line. ... RHP Max Scherzer (mid-back strain) could come off
the 10-day injured list and return to the rotation Thursday against Colorado.
Manager Dave Martinez said Scherzer "felt good" after he "let it go pretty
good" while throwing in the outfield. Scherzer is expected to throw a bullpen
Monday that could determine his status for Thursday. ... RHP Austin Voth, a
candidate to start the game, was placed on the 10-day IL, retroactive to
Thursday, with right biceps tendinitis.
Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett without appearing
in a game during his two days on the Atlanta roster.
Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.50 ERA) starts when Washington opens a home
series against Colorado on Monday night.
Braves: Following an off day, LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-3, 3.58) will start Tuesday
night's opener of a two-game series against Kansas City. Keuchel is 4-1 with a
2.56 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals.
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