Washington second baseman Wilmer Difo delivered a triple to score Max Scherzer in the 14th inning and lead the way for the Nationals’ 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.
Scherzer led off the inning with a pinch-hit single against Atlanta reliever Miguel Socolovich (0-1) and scored easily when Difo tripled into the gap in center. Spencer Kieboom drove in Difo with a single to left to help the Nationals end their two-game losing streak.
The winning pitcher was Justin Miller (2-0), who threw three scoreless innings, did not allow a hit and struck out five. Sean Doolittle pitched a clean 14th to earn his 14th save.
The Nationals improved to 2-3 in extra-inning games, and the Braves dropped to 1-6. The Nationals are 4-5 against Atlanta and pulled to within a half-game of the Braves for first place in the National League East.
The Nationals had an earlier chance when they loaded the bases in the 11th inning against Jesse Biddle, but Juan Soto struck out swinging to end the threat.
Atlanta starter Brandon McCarthy pitched six strong innings but did not receive a decision. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out seven. McCarthy was looking for his first career victory against Washington.
Washington starter Gio Gonzalez pitched seven innings and allowed three runs, all coming on a home run, on five hits. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter.
The Nationals scored a pair of runs in the second inning when Michael A. Taylor connected on a long two-run shot to center field. It was Taylor’s fifth homer.
The Braves didn’t get a hit off Gonzalez until Nick Markakis led off the fifth with a single. Tyler Flowers followed with a hit, and Johan Camargo got them both in with a three-run homer, his fifth, to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.
The Nationals evened the score at 3-3 in the seventh when Soto hit the third pitch he saw from reliever Sam Freeman for a solo homer, his second. It was the only the fourth hit for a left-handed hitter in 32 plate appearances against Freeman.
Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a double.
Washington first baseman Matt Adams had to leave the game after his second at-bat when he fouled a ball off his foot.
—Field Level Media