Freddie Freeman drove in three runs while Ronald Acuna Jr. and Charlie Culberson both homered as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Washington Nationals 8-5 in the first game of the second half of the season Friday night at Nationals Park.
Freeman (2-for-5) knocked in one run on a grounder and two more on a double. Culberson pinch-hit for Ozzie Albies in the third — Atlanta took him out as a precaution due to right hamstring tightness — and later hit a solo homer.
Anibal Sanchez (5-2) earned the victory for Atlanta. He threw six innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks, throwing 112 pitches and striking out eight.
A.J. Minter closed it in the ninth and got his fifth save.
Washington starter Stephen Strasburg (6-7) returned from the disabled list (right shoulder inflammation) to pitch for the first time since June 8. However, the veteran right-hander struggled on his 30th birthday, giving up six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, and then apparently getting into a bit of a disagreement with teammate Max Scherzer in the dugout.
After Strasburg was pulled, he was greeted at the dugout by Scherzer, where the two exchanged words before both heading down the tunnel toward the locker room.
The Braves — who stole four bases overall — started quickly, scoring twice in the first. Acuna (3-for-4, three runs, two steals) led off with a single, stole second and then scored on an Albies double. Albies then swiped third without a throw and scored on a Freeman grounder to third.
Washington used a double steal in the bottom of the first for its first run. Bryce Harper broke for second — where he was safe — and Adam Eaton then stole home and cut the lead to 2-1. Matt Adams tied it with a solo homer in the third.
Johan Camargo’s RBI double gave the Braves a 3-2 lead in the fourth before they scored three and knocked out Strasburg in the fifth.
Freeman lined his two-run double to right, and Nick Markakis added a sacrifice fly that made it 6-2. Trea Turner cut it to 6-3 with a leadoff homer in the bottom half of that inning.
Culberson homered in the sixth, and Acuna hit another solo homer in the eighth. Juan Soto belted a two-run homer for Washington in the bottom half, which made it 8-5.
Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals joined Strasburg in coming off the disabled list (strained right oblique). In his first action since early may, Zimmerman grounded out as a pinch hitter in the sixth.
—Field Level Media