Foltynewicz pitches first career complete game, Braves win
ATLANTA (AP) Mike Foltynewicz had everything working so well that he was ready to keep pitching after the game ended.
Foltynewicz pitched a two-hitter for his first career complete game, Dansby Swanson broke the game open with a three-run homer in the seventh and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 4-0 on Friday night.
”I’m just very energized still,” Foltynewicz said with a big smile. ”I feel I can go back and at least get one more. Great crowd. Great energy.”
Foltynewicz (5-3) retired 20 straight batters before issuing a leadoff walk in the eighth to outpitch Stephen Strasburg, who left the game cramping in his left wrist after 6 2/3 innings. Strasburg said he was not seriously injured.
The first-place Braves, winners of five of their last seven, moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals in the NL East. Atlanta has scored an NL-best 106 runs in the seventh inning or later this season.
A night after Sean Newcomb pitched seven strong innings to snap Washington’s six-game winning streak, Foltynewicz was even better as he improved to 3-1 with a 0.56 ERA in his last five starts. He struck out 11 and walked one, throwing 73 of his 106 pitches for strikes .
”They were really aggressive tonight,” Foltynewicz said. ”After the first pitch or two, they either popped up or grounded out, which helped me go deep in the game.”
Foltynewicz allowed a second-inning single to Bryce Harper, then set down 20 straight Nationals before Juan Soto walked in the eighth. He closed it out in the ninth by striking out pinch-hitter Michael Taylor, getting Wilmer Difo to ground out, allowing a single to Trea Turner and striking out Harper to end it.
The Braves got all the runs they needed with four in the seventh off Strasburg (6-5).
Nick Markakis singled, advanced to third on Kurt Suzuki’s single and scored when first baseman Matt Adams booted Johan Camargo’s grounder. Adams was trying to field the ball and throw out Markakis at the plate when the ball bounced off his glove and Adams inadvertently kicked it.
With runners on first and second and no out, Strasburg struck out Preston Tucker before Swanson hit his fourth homer into the left-field seats. He struck out Foltynewicz, then stepped back, placed his glove on the mound and called for a trainer. Strasburg left the game with cramps in his left wrist.
”It’s happened before,” Strasburg said. ”It’s obviously humid out there. I think it’s probably something related to dehydration. It was just spasming up on me.”
Strasburg allowed seven hits and four runs – three earned. He struck out 10, the third time this year he’s racked up double-digit strikeouts and the 39th time in his career.
He made one mistake, hanging a curveball to Swanson .
”The inning’s not possible without Kakes leading off and then Kurt,” Swanson said. ”Hitting is contagious. It just came down the line, and I was just the person who happened to get the hit.”
Nationals: OF Brian Goodwin was reinstated from the disabled list and went 0 for 3. He missed 39 games with a left wrist contusion. … LF Adam Eaton will begin a rehab assignment this weekend at Double-Harrisburg and continue early next week at Single-A Potomac. He has missed 46 games with a left ankle bone bruise. … 1B Ryan Zimmerman, sidelined 17 games with a right oblique strain, and 2B Daniel Murphy, still recovering from offseason micro-fracture surgery on his right knee, will be reevaluated by the team’s medical staff early next week to determine a timetable.
Braves: LHP Luiz Gohara, on the bereavement list, is expected to return Saturday from Brazil and throw a side session. When he returns to the active roster, manager Brian Snitker expects Gohara to pitch in relief before the team looks long term to getting him back in the rotation.
Freddie Freeman went 2 for 4, extending his hitting streak to 14 games and giving him a .407 average that dates to May 9. It was his 23rd multi-hit game, one behind teammate Ozzie Albies for the NL lead. Markakis has 22. … The Braves lead the NL in runs, hits, batting average and have struck out the second-fewest times in the league.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-2, 2.10 ERA) has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 starts this season. He has lost 11 of his 21 career starts and has a 5.11 ERA against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 5.02 ERA) had a rough May, going 1-2 with a 7.46 ERA in five starts. He is 0-2 with a 2.80 in four career starts against Washington.
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