ATLANTA (AP) — Riley Adams’ two-run homer in the ninth gave Washington the lead and the Nationals rallied with three runs off Atlanta closer Will Smith, beating the Braves 3-2 on Saturday night.
Smith blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth, wasting a strong start from Charlie Morton and costing Atlanta an opportunity to move past the New York Mets and into second place in the tight NL East.
Adams, a rookie catcher who took a .091 batting average into the game, crushed the first pitch he saw from Smith for a high homer, the first of his career, into the left-field seats. The homer drove in Ryan Zimmerman, who had a pinch-hit double.
Morton allowed only three hits in six scoreless innings to outpitch Washington rookie Josiah Gray.
Smith (3-6) suffered his third blown save in 25 chances. The left-hander walked Josh Bell before giving up Zimmerman’s double to open the ninth. Bell scored on Luis García’s groundout as Zimmerman advanced to third.
Jorge Soler had two hits, including a homer for Atlanta.
Morton escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth by striking out Yadiel Hernandez and Josh Bell.
With runners on first and second, Hernandez ended the eighth with a fly ball off Luke Jackson to the warning track in left field. Hernandez saw his nine-game hitting streak end.
Gray, making his second start following his trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 30, set a career high with 10 strikeouts. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits in five innings.
Soler pulled a fastball from Gray into the left-field stands for his 16th homer in the first. Atlanta added an unearned run off Gray in the third when Stephen Vogt struck out but reached on a wild pitch and scored on Ozzie Albies’ single and center fielder Andrew Stevenson’s fielding error.
Andres Machado (1-0) had two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. Kyle Finnegan pitched the ninth for his third save.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman left the game with an upper respiratory infection after playing only one inning.
Nationals: After an MRI on his right knee was negative earlier on Saturday, revealing only a bruise, OF Juan Soto walked as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Soto was held out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game. Before the game, manager Dave Martinez said Soto was “moving around a little better today.”
Braves: RHP Huascar Ynoa (right hand fracture) could be nearing the end of his minor league rehab. Ynoa gave up three runs, one earned, in 3 2/3 innings for Gwinnett on Friday night. “One more time out and he’s stretched out,” manager Brian Snitker said Saturday. Ynoa had a 3.02 ERA in nine games and had 50 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings for Atlanta before breaking his hand when punching the dugout on May 16.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (6-10. 5.74) has lost his last three decisions and has allowed four or more runs in each of his last four starts. He gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 5-1 loss at Atlanta on June 3, his only start against the Braves this season.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (8-7, 4.05) has an ugly 8.82 ERA and 1-1 record in three starts against Washington this season.