WASHINGTON (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are getting contributions from almost everyone on the roster, playing all three facets of the game at a high level and riding a hot streak that’s been sprinkled with a healthy portion of good luck.
With all that going for them, the NL East leaders are beginning to widen the gap between themselves and their pursuers.
Johan Camargo delivered a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the 10th inning, and Atlanta beat the Washington Nationals 4-3 Sunday to win its fifth straight series.
Overcoming an injury to standout rookie starting pitcher Mike Soroka, the Braves used the long ball and their bullpen to win the deciding matchup of a three-game set between division rivals.
For the first time since June 12, Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman failed to drive in a run. His streak of 10 straight games with an RBI matched the franchise record set by Sid Gordon in August 1951.
No matter. The unlikely stars were Camargo, Josh Donaldson and 34-year-old reliever Josh Tomlin, who threw four innings of one-hit relief to cover for the loss of Soroka.
“It’s incredible. There’s a new hero every single night,” Soroka said. “We really do feel like a team. It’s awesome to see.”
Donaldson had two hits, including a home run , and Ronald Acuña Jr. also went deep for Atlanta, which expanded its lead to 6 ½ games over Philadelphia and 8 ½ over the third-place Nationals.
Soroka, a native of Canada, had the misfortune of being struck in the right arm by a pitch from Austin Voth in the third inning. Luckily for him and the Braves, x-rays were negative and the team won anyway.
“I’ve been hit by enough pucks and baseballs in my lifetime to know what the aftermath is of getting hit,” he said. “It’s just a bruise, so it’s good.”
Unbeaten since April 18 and sporting an 8-1 record, the 21-year-old Soroka allowed one hit, faced the minimum six batters and lowered his ERA to 2.07.
Tomlin replaced Soroka and stymied the Nationals through the sixth. He left with a 2-0 lead, which quickly dissipated in the seventh when Juan Soto homered off Grant Dayton and Gerardo Parra followed with an RBI single off Jacob Webb.
But that didn’t mar an otherwise top-notch performance by six Atlanta relievers. A.J. Minter (2-4) worked the ninth and Luke Jackson earned his 11th save despite giving up a run, two hits and a walk.
Camargo connected in the 10th off Tanner Rainey (1-2) after Ozzie Albies drew a one-out walk, and Atlanta held on for its seventh victory in 10 extra-inning games this season.
“This lineup and this pitching staff have been clicking on all go,” Soroka said. “We’ve got all three parts of the game going hot.”
The Nationals, on the other hand, have lost two in a row following a five-game win streak. Despite the back-to-back losses, Washington remains upbeat.
“After today and (Saturday), we know we’re capable of keeping up with any of these guys,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win today and it didn’t come our way.”
START ME UP
Recalled from Double-A Harrisburg before the game, Voth gave up two runs and four hits in six innings. In his third career start, the rookie notched a personal-best seven strikeouts.
“Really, really awesome to see him come up here and do what he did,” manager Dave Martinez said.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-5, 6.37 ERA) was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett and RHP Chad Sobotka was recalled from the same club. After giving up eight runs in four innings on Saturday, Foltynewicz — a 2018 NL All-Star — said, “It’s just frustrating. I have a 7.00 ERA on a first-place team.” Pitching coach Rick Kranitz said, “He’s an All-Star, and he has great stuff. He just needs to go down, clear his head and relax and start making pitches.”
Nationals: Reliever Trevor Rosenthal was released after compiling a 22.74 ERA and allowing 15 walks in 6 1/3 innings. Washington also recalled righty Kyle McGowin from Triple-A Fresno and optioned right-hander Joe Ross to the same minor league club.
Nationals: OF Victor Robles wasn’t in the starting lineup but pinch hit in the sixth innings after leaving Saturday’s game due to dehydration. Describing his symptoms from the night before, Robles said, “I had a real bad headache and felt some dizziness, and I felt like I had some blurred vision at the same time.”
Braves: Julio Teheran (5-5, 3.40 ERA) faces the Cubs on Monday night in the opener of a four-game series at Wrigley Field.
Nationals: After taking Monday off, Washington launches a six-game road trip by sending ace Max Scherzer (6-5, 2.62) to the mound against the Miami Marlins.
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