Folty's best stuff on display in win vs. Nationals
ATLANTA -- Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz left his mark all over Atlanta's 7-1 win over the Nationals at SunTrust Park on Wednesday, quieting the hot bat of Bryce Harper and adding to Washington ace Max Scherzer's rough day.
Foltynewicz allowed just one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in 5 1/3 dominant innings, and walked to the dugout to a standing ovation.
"I thought he was really, really good again," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I just love the fact that he got us into the sixth, and it was a really strong outing by him."
Foltynewicz treated Harper to his first strikeout of the season -- it took 26 plate appearances -- in the third inning and fanned him again before exiting in the sixth.
"Usually I think with me and [Harper], he gets a hit or I walk him," Foltynewicz said. "It's either one, so I was just going to attack him today."
Foltynewicz was at ease with newly acquired catcher Carlos Perez, who happened to be a teammate of his in the Minors. After he gave up the Nationals' lone run in the top of the second on a Scherzer single, Perez promptly picked Scherzer off first base to end the frame.
The Braves jumped to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first after a two-out fielding error by Nationals second baseman Wilmer Difo set the stage for Preston Tucker's second three-run homer in as many days on a 2-2 curveball.
"Once you get to two strikes against a guy like [Scherzer], you're really just trying to put it in play," said Tucker, who has eight RBIs in six games. "You're fighting pitches off until you get a mistake, and fortunately I did just that and I took advantage of it."
The Nationals threatened with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning, but righty Arodys Vizcaino got Harper to pop up to shortstop, and he then struck out Matt Adams on three pitches.
"It's about your pitching when you beat a team like this, because offensively they just keep coming at you," Snitker said. "There are no breaks."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Foltynewicz doubles home a pair: Even as the Braves ran up Scherzer's pitch count, he had held Atlanta to those initial unearned runs in the first inning until the fourth. After a leadoff walk and a single, he nearly escaped the jam until Foltynewicz tagged him for a two-run double into left field to extend the Braves' lead to 5-1.
"Any way to contribute is great, and I haven't gotten a hit in who knows how long, so to get a hit off [a three-time] Cy Young Award winner is kind of cool," Foltynewicz said.
Freeman freezes Zimmerman: The Nationals brought the tying runs to the plate when they loaded the bases in the sixth inning. Seeking to capitalize on their best offensive opportunity of the day, Washington manager Dave Martinez pinch-hit for catcher Pedro Severino, initially with Brian Goodwin, who is left-handed, and the Braves countered with left-hander Sam Freeman. But Martinez countered again with first baseman Ryan Zimmerman off the bench, but he was called out on strikes on a full count after Freeman painted the top of the strike zone with a fastball to end the threat.
"Huge," Snitker said of Freeman's strikeout. "I wasn't sure when I brought him in. I didn't like the left-handed/right-handed matchup, but you know, with Sammy if they wanna flip somebody, I'd still feel pretty good. Because I mean he's not a left-handed specialist, and right there ... all I wanted was for him to try and get us that inning, and he did a great job."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Foltynewicz's two-run double off Scherzer in the fourth was the first extra-base hit a pitcher has hit off of him since 45-year-old Jamie Moyer doubled in 2008 in Scherzer's second career start.
Atlanta embarks on its first road trip of the season, starting with a three-game series against the Rockies in Denver on Friday. While Braves coaches Walt Weiss and Eric Young Sr. will return to their old stomping grounds, veteran righty Brandon McCarthy will make his second start of the season with his new team after pitching 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball in a 15-2 win over the Phillies on Saturday. The Rockies will send righty German Marquez to the hill..
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