Braves hit 3 homers to beat Max Scherzer, Nationals 5-2

May 21, 2017
Atlanta Braves' Rio Ruiz, front right, high-fives Bartolo Colon, left, after hitting a two-run home run to also score Dansby Swanson, rear, in the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals in Atlanta, Saturday, May 20, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s lineup hasn’t looked power-deprived without injured star Freddie Freeman in two wins over the NL East-leading Nationals.

A strong showing by rookie third baseman Rio Ruiz helped to fill the power void against Max Scherzer, and the Braves have more reason to be confident following a trade for Matt Adams.

Ruiz, Matt Kemp and Tyler Flowers hit home runs and Atlanta again relied on its bullpen for a 5-2 victory over Scherzer and Washington on Saturday night, the Nationals’ fourth straight loss.

The Braves also hit three homers in Friday night’s 7-4 win over Washington. Now there is help coming. The trade with St. Louis for Adams was announced during a rain delay that lasted 1 hour, 50 minutes.

“He’ll make us better,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Adams. “What it does is lengthen our lineup again. ... I’ve got him in (Sunday’s) lineup already.”

Ruiz had two hits, including a two-run homer in the second off Scherzer (4-3). It was his first career homer and first hit of the season.

Ruiz said “It’s even more special” to have his first homer off Scherzer, one of the game’s top pitchers.

Ruiz was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday when the team placed Freeman on the disabled list with a fractured left wrist. Freeman is expected to miss about 10 weeks.

Ruiz’s father, Rudy Ruiz, attended the game.

Kemp hit a line-drive homer off Scherzer in the fourth. Flowers homered off Matt Albers in the eighth.

After Bartolo Colon allowed two runs, one earned, in 4 1/3 innings, five relievers combined for 4 2/3 hitless innings. Ian Krol (1-1) recorded the final two outs in the fifth. Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.

Four relievers combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings in Friday night’s win. The Braves have won seven of nine.

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said before the game his relievers were “overworked and overtasked” and he was hoping for a long start from Scherzer. Instead, Scherzer lasted only five innings and had thrown 106 pitches, allowing three runs, four hits and three walks, before the rain delay.

“I just couldn’t find a way to consistently throw strikes,” Scherzer said. “Deep counts to everybody.”

He said both homers he allowed came on “fastballs in the middle part of the plate.”

Scherzer has allowed nine homers, second-most on the team behind the 10 allowed by Gio Gonzalez.


Nationals: LHP Sammy Solis, on the DL since April 19 with left elbow inflammation, still is not throwing. An MRI last month showed no ligament damage.

Braves: LHP Eric O’Flaherty was placed on the 10-day DL with a lower back strain. O’Flaherty has a 6.59 ERA in 18 games, allowing 10 earned runs in 13 2/3 innings. RHP Luke Jackson was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.


Braves 1B Jace Peterson jumped into the protective net between home plate and the Atlanta dugout to catch Matt Wieters’ foul ball in the sixth. Umpires huddled before ruling the catch was legal.


Nationals center fielder Michael Taylor made a diving catch of Emilio Bonifacio’s line drive in the right-center gap in the seventh. Taylor then slid on his chest several feet on the wet grass.


The Braves acquired Adams and cash considerations from St. Louis for minor-league infielder Juan Yepez. Atlanta also added bullpen depth by acquiring RHP Enrique Burgos from Arizona for cash considerations. Burgos was designated for assignment by the Diamondbacks this week after posting a 6.23 ERA at Triple-A Reno this season. He will report to Triple-A Gwinnett.


Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-1) will try to salvage one win for Washington in Sunday’s final game of the series. Strasburg is 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA in his last eight starts against Atlanta.

Braves: LHP Jaime Garcia (1-2) is 5-2 with a 3.21 ERA in eight career starts against the Nationals.


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