The Braves endured “one of those days” on Sunday, falling 6-2 to the Washington Nationals to halt their winning streak at seven games and finish the six-game homestand 5-1. The homestand will still go down as an outstanding one overall, but Sunday’s game got away from starter Bryce Elder in the sixth inning.
The Braves held a 2-1 lead entering the inning, but the Nats recorded a Luis Garcia double, an advancement on a wild pitch, a Joey Meneses RBI single and a Jeimer Candelario two-run homer before Elder recorded an out. All that gave them a 4-2 lead. Two batters later, a Keibert Ruiz single ended Elder’s day after allowing eight hits in 5.1 innings. Kirby Yates came on in relief and promptly gave up another two-run homer to Dominic Smith, giving the visitors a 6-2 lead and closing the book on Elder’s outing with five runs allowed.
The home side got off to a good start in the first inning. Ronald Acuna doinked an infield single to third and Matt Olson followed with at least his second home run of the season onto the roof of the Chop House. With an early 2-0 advantage, the Braves proceeded to drop into Hibernation Mode for the remainder of the game. They collected seven hits after the Olson home run, but didn’t put much together in the way of threatening rallies. In a notable exception, they loaded the bases with two out in the fourth, but were unable to expand their two-run lead.
Elder suffered his first loss of the season Sunday, and he’s looked vulnerable now in each of his last two outings (he allowed four runs and two homers in six innings earlier in the week against the Mets). He was bound to have at least a brief downturn at some point, but I think it bears watching. He did only strike out one batter on Sunday, marking the first time this season that he’s collected that few.
The Marlins continue to be annoying, as they came off the mat today to beat the White Sox and pull back to within 3.5 games. Still, the Braves are now tied with Arizona for the best record in the National League and they just ended an undeniably successful homestand. They now travel to Detroit for three games before returning to Truist Park on Thursday to start another homestand against Colorado.