Turner’s HR lifts Nats, forces DH split with Braves

MLB

ATLANTA (AP)Trea Turner gave Washington the lead by hitting a sixth-inning home run off Will Smith and the Nationals held on in the seventh to beat the Atlanta Braves 10-9 on Friday night and split a doubleheader.

Ronald Acuna Jr. homered twice and Dansby Swanson added a two-run shot as the Braves beat the Nationals 7-1 in the first game. Acuna hit three home runs in the doubleheader.

The defending World Series champion Nationals ended a seven-game losing streak and snapped the NL East-leading Braves’ streak of five consecutive wins.

”You’ve got to start somewhere,” Turner said. ”Getting one of these games today is huge. … You just have to take them when you can and try to build off it tomorrow and do the same thing.”

The Nationals are facing new injury concerns as they were without two outfielders. Juan Soto was held out with a sore left elbow announced less than an hour before the first game. Adam Eaton did not play after leaving Thursday night’s game at Philadelphia with a jammed knee.

Manager Dave Martinez said a MRI on Soto’s throwing elbow ”came out clean.” Martinez said he expects Soto will need to rest ”a couple days.”

Also, Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch from starter Huascar Ynoa on his left forearm, knocking him out of the second game. Tests showed only a contusion.

”We got lucky on that one because he got hit pretty good,” Martinez said.

Travis d’Arnaud hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning of the second game off Nationals closer Daniel Hudson. Nick Markakis then hit a grounder off Hudson’s leg that Turner fielded before throwing high to first for an error.

With Markakis at second base, Hudson recorded three consecutive outs. Hudson struck out Johan Camargo to end the game, earning his seventh save.

Freddie Freeman’s first career grand slam tied the second game at 7-7. Acuna and Austin Riley hit second-inning homers.

The Nationals knocked starter Ynoa out of the game by scoring five runs in the third.

Turner, who began the day leading the majors with his .366 batting average, hit his ninth homer off Smith (2-1) with two outs in the sixth. The Nationals added two runs in the seventh off Patrick Weigel, making his major league debut.

With two outs in the seventh and the bases loaded in a three-run game, utility infielder Charlie Culberson was summoned to make his fourth career pitching appearance and first of the season. Culberson ended the inning on Turner’s flyball to right field.

”I didn’t want to face him,” Turner said. ”I was hoping they’d bring somebody else.”

Wander Suero (2-0) had two strikeouts in a perfect fifth inning.

Acuna slammed his bat to the ground in apparent frustration after hitting what appeared to be a harmless flyball in the first inning of the opener. Nationals center fielder Victor Robles drifted back as the ball kept carrying before finally landing behind the wall in center field.

”I thought it was a fly out,” Acuna said through a translator. ”I’ve hit it harder before. I threw the bat down and as it started carrying I started to run harder and harder.”

Nationals right-hander Austin Voth was as surprised as Acuna to see the ball clear the wall.

”I thought he hit it pretty well, high,” Voth said. ”I didn’t think it had the distance. I was kind of shocked when it went out.”

Acuna walked to open the third before Swanson’s homer to left-center off Voth (0-5), who allowed five runs and seven hits, including three homers, in 4 2/3 innings.

In the fourth, Acuna’s line-drive homer to center field drove in Adam Duvall, who doubled.

Acuna was on the injured list from Aug. 12-25 with left wrist inflammation and this week was held out with a sore hamstring.

”Whatever happens, an injury, I just try to forget it and play hard to help the team no matter what,” Acuna said.

Tommy Milone gave up one run on six hits with no walks in four innings in the opener. He made his second start since he was acquired by the Braves from Baltimore. Darren O’Day (3-0) pitched a scoreless fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: 3B Carter Kieboom, who was hitting .200 with no homers when he was sent to the team’s optional training site on Aug. 26, joined the Nationals in Atlanta and could be poised to return to the active roster. Martinez said he wanted to ”watch his swing and see where he’s at.”

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies (bone contusion in right wrist) took batting practice. He was placed on the IL on Aug. 5. … LHP Cole Hamels (triceps tendinitis) is expected to throw batting practice on Sunday as he tries to move closer to his 2020 debut.

HIT STREAK

Freeman led off the third inning of the second game with a double, giving him an 18-game hitting streak. It’s the longest streak of the season for an Atlanta hitter but not even close to the longest of Freeman’s career. He had a 20-game streak in 2011 and a career-best 30-game streak in 2016.

ROBBERY

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a triple off the right-field wall in the fourth. Cabrera scored when Duvall, celebrating his 32nd birthday, made a leaping catch over the left-field wall to take a homer from Yan Gomes.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Erick Fedde (1-3 4.71 ERA) will face the Braves for the first time this season, and the first time in Atlanta, on Saturday night.

Braves: LHP Max Fried (6-0, 1.60) will try to remain undefeated after allowing only eight runs in his first eight starts.

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