Wisler, homers help Braves solve Nationals
ATLANTA -- Matt Wisler validated his status as a highly regarded pitching prospect and recorded his first career hit and RBI during a four-run fourth inning that propelled the Braves to Wednesday night's 4-1 win over the Nationals at Turner Field.
Wisler's two-out RBI single capped the fourth inning, which was highlighted by the back-to-back homers A.J. Pierzynski and Juan Uribe hit off Doug Fister. But most of the 22-year-old right-hander's most valuable contributions came in the process of limiting the Nationals to one hit, while recording six strikeouts and issuing five walks over 5 1/3 innings.
"It was just nice to win the game," Pierzynski said after the contest, which started after a 2-hour, 9-minute rain delay. "These guys have kicked our tail a lot this year. It was nice just to have an opportunity to score some runs and play with a lead against these guys, because it always seems like we're chasing them from behind."
The Nationals, who had won each of the past nine games played against the Braves, scored their run when Denard Span produced a two-out RBI single off Nick Masset in the seventh inning. But they were not able to overcome the damage incurred by Fister, who allowed four earned runs and seven hits over six innings.
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Early escape: Wisler, ranked by MLB.com as the Braves' No. 2 prospect, used three strikeouts to pitch around the two walks he issued during a 27-pitch first inning. The young hurler, who was making his third career start, also induced an inning-ending double play off Yunel Escobar's bat after a Danny Espinosa single put runners at the corners with one out in the third inning.
"He threw the ball over the plate, was locating on each pitch, working in and out and threw a very good ballgame," said Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. "As a team, I think we're swinging it well, and we just had one of those nights." More >
RISP struggles for Ramos: Wilson Ramos had a forgettable night with runners in scoring position. He struck out with runners on first and second to end the first inning, and he again left the Nationals hanging in the sixth inning, when he grounded into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play with runners on first and third.
"It's a function of the pitcher, too," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "He didn't make many mistakes. We didn't swing it as well tonight as we did last night. See if we can get them tomorrow."
Back-to-back: Pierzynski's two-run shot -- his first home run since June 3 -- sparked the fourth-inning uprising that included Uribe's solo shot and the RBI single Wisler produced immediately after Eury Perez was intentionally walked. The Braves had totaled four runs in just two of the previous 11 games they had played since Freddie Freeman was sidelined with a right wrist injury. More >
Frustrating fourth: Fister cruised through his first three innings against the Braves, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced. That all came undone in the fourth inning, though, with Atlanta center fielder Cameron Maybin starting the frame off with a single to a diving Ian Desmond. Maybin's hit set up the big inning against the Nationals starter, who allowed five of his seven hits in the fourth. More >
"Now that he got that first one out of the way, he can forget about hitting." -- Pierzynski, in reference to Wisler's first careeer hit
"He was effectively wild. We had some walks, had some guys on, but we just couldn't capitalize when guys got on base. ... We had him on the ropes a couple times. I think we had first and third a couple times, and he got a double play and he made pitches when he needed to. Good on him." -- Span, on Wisler's outing
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Maybin's stolen base in the fourth inning was the first that Fister has allowed since joining the Nationals. Since 2014, only three baserunners have even attempted stealing off of Fister: Gerardo Parra was thrown out on May 14, 2014, and Steven Souza was caught stealing June 18, 2015, before Maybin's successful steal.
Nationals: For Thursday night's 7:10 ET finale at Turner Field, Washington turns to staff ace Max Scherzer, hoping he continues his recent dominance. His scoreless-innings streak was broken in his last start against the Phillies, but he's still posted a miniscule 0.69 ERA over his last three starts (26 IP, 2 ER).
Braves: Atlanta will counter with Manny Banuelos, who will be making his Major League debut. Banuelos was a hot-shot prospect in the Yankees' organization before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012. He posted a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts with Triple-A Gwinnett this year. More >
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