Michael A. Taylor took advantage of a surprise opportunity and Gio Gonzalez threw seven strong innings as the Washington Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 6-3 in a Thursday matinee at Nationals Park.
Bryce Harper was in the original starting lineup for the Nationals. Manager Dave Martinez scratched the All-Star in favor of Taylor due to Harper experiencing lower right leg discomfort as a result of being hit by a pitch Wednesday.
Taylor hit a homer in the fourth to stake Washington to a 3-1 lead. Gonzalez gave up one run on six hits and ended a six-game losing streak as the two teams split a four-game series.
Gonzalez (7-8) last won on May 28 and failed to get the victory in 11 consecutive starts.
Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez did not last as long. Taylor hit a hard shot off the pitcher’s left calf, and even though Sanchez made the play and threw him out to end the top of the second inning, Sanchez did not return.
Wes Parsons came on for Sanchez (left calf contusion) and made his major league debut in the third. Parsons (0-1) entered with a 1-0 lead thanks to a Nick Markakis homer off Gonzalez in the second.
Markakis nearly added to the lead when he singled in the third, but right fielder Adam Eaton threw out Freddie Freeman at home.
Also in the third, Parsons gave up a one-out hit to Gonzalez (only his third hit this season) and another to Eaton before walking Trea Turner. Juan Soto walked and tied the game before Anthony Rendon’s sacrifice fly gave the Nationals a 2-1 lead.
Parsons went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits.
The Braves cut the lead to 4-2 when Ronald Acuna Jr. homered off Justin Miller in the eighth.
Adam McCreery made his major league debut for Atlanta in that eighth inning and gave up RBI singles to Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds. Dansby Swanson added a sacrifice fly for the Braves in the ninth.
—Field Level Media