Markakis, Suzuki deliver in 8th, Braves beat Nationals 7-4
By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA (AP) — Nick Markakis hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning and Kurt Suzuki added a two-run homer to give the Atlanta Braves a 7-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
With one out in the eighth, Enny Romero (2-2) walked Brandon Phillips, who then stole second base. Markakis lined a single and Phillips scored on a head-first slide as right fielder Bryce Harper's throw skipped past Matt Wieters.
Suzuki drove in three runs on two hits, including an RBI double off Gio Gonzalez in the fifth for a 4-all tie.
Arodys Vizcaino (2-1) recorded three straight outs, two on strikeouts, in the eighth. Jim Johnson pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save.
Dansby Swanson hit a two-run homer off Gonzalez in the second. Jace Peterson, making only his second career start at first base, missed Harper's grounder in the third for a fielding error that allowed two runs to score, giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. Trea Turner had a run-scoring single earlier in the inning.
Peterson is playing the position after Braves star first baseman Freddie Freeman was injured earlier this week.
Atlanta's Matt Kemp hit his seventh homer in the third. Washington's Daniel Murphy led off the fourth with his eighth homer off R.A. Dickey.
The Braves couldn't take advantage of a chance to take the lead in the sixth. Swanson led off with a double by beating out Jayson Werth's weak throw from left field. Swanson was thrown out at the plate by center fielder Michael Taylor on Ender Inciarte's single.
Shawn Kelley walked Peterson and Swanson to load the bases in the seventh but struck out pinch hitter Rio Ruiz to end the inning.
Gonzalez gave up four runs on nine hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. Dickey allowed four runs, two earned, on eight hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer pointed to his left knee and said "It's unbelievable, I don't even have a mark." A line drive hit by Philadelphia's Michael Saunders hit Scherzer on the knee in Sunday's game. Scherzer fell to the ground but recovered to last two more innings and is set to start the second game of the series on Saturday.
Braves: Manager Brian Snitker said he would be "real surprised" if 3B Adonis Garcia (left Achilles tendon tendinitis) doesn't come off the 10-day DL when eligible next week.
Nationals: Scherzer (4-2) is 5-0 with a 3.12 ERA in six starts against the Braves since the start of 2016. The Nationals are 6-0 in those starts.
Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (2-4), who has allowed five or more earned runs in four of eight starts, will take an ugly 6.80 ERA into the game against Washington.
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