WASHINGTON — — Ehire Adrianza made the most of a rare start on a day off for slumping NL MVP Freddie Freeman, providing a nice defensive play and a two-run single to back Drew Smyly‘s strong outing Thursday, leading Atlanta past Washington 3-2 for the Braves’ first sweep of the Nationals since 2014.
Atlanta outscored its division rival 14-6 over the three games.
In a contest streamed on YouTube instead of aired on TV, Smyly (1-2) pitched into the seventh and allowed four hits and an unearned run.
After the left-hander walked a man on his 98th pitch and was lifted, righty Luke Jackson gave up a hit to put a pair of runners on for pinch-hitter Juan Soto. But Jackson got the 2020 NL batting champion to fly out.
Braves manager Brian Snitker left Freeman out of the lineup after a 1-for-24 stretch over the six games preceding Thursday’s dropped the first baseman’s average to .202. Austin Riley shifted from third base to first, and Adrianza played third, where he robbed Trea Turner of a hit in the third inning.
Lester allowed three runs and four hits and left after facing one batter in the sixth.
Washington pulled within 3-1 when a run scored on an error by Ronald Acuña Jr. in the fourth. It was 3-2 after Yan Gomes‘ RBI single in the eighth, but Grant Dayton entered with two runners on and struck out Kyle Schwarber and Victor Robles.
Dave Martinez set a team record by managing in his 411th game with the Nationals, one more than Manny Acta’s total from 2007-09. Martinez found out about the milestone when Turner greeted him with a hug. “I said, ‘What was that for?’ He said, ‘You’re the longest-tenured manager in the history of the Nationals.’ So I said, ‘Oh, thanks.’ Then I said: ‘You know what? Keep playing the way you’re playing so I can be here a whole lot longer,’” Martinez recounted with a laugh. He entered Thursday with a 213-197 record, a .520 winning percentage. Acta was 158-252, a .385 winning percentage.
Braves: Signed C Tyler Flowers to a minor league deal with Travis d’Arnaud on the 60-day injured list. Flowers, 35, spent the past five seasons with the Braves but wasn’t re-signed after hitting .217 in 2020.
Nationals: INF Hernán Pérez opted to become a free agent rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A Rochester after clearing waivers. Washington designated him for assignment Tuesday.
Braves: OF Ender Inciarte (IL, left hamstring) was scheduled to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday. … RHP Chris Martin (IL, right shoulder) started his rehab stint Wednesday, charged with two runs while getting two outs.
Nationals: 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg (IL, right shoulder) threw 35 pitches over two innings in a simulated game Thursday. He’s expected to appear in another Monday or Tuesday, Martinez said, “and then we’ll go from there. … We’re going to take it slow.” … RHP Wander Suero (IL, side muscle) threw 22 pitches in Thursday’s simulated game and could head to Triple-A Rochester soon for a rehabilitation outing.
Nationals: Open a three-game series at the New York Yankees on Friday, with LHP Patrick Corbin (1-3, 8.10) facing RHP Jameson Taillon (1-2, 5.24). It’ll be the second career start at Yankee Stadium for Corbin; the other came in 2013.