Marcell Ozuna’s go-ahead 18th home run helps Braves edge past Nationals, 5-2

WASHINGTON – Austin Riley hit a go-ahead RBI single, Marcell Ozuna followed with a two-run homer and the Atlanta Braves scored three runs in the eighth inning to pull off a 5-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.

Adam Duvall homered in the seventh inning for Atlanta, which won three of four.

Rookie Mitchell Parker took a no-hitter in the sixth inning for Washington, which had dropped four straight and scored just six runs in its last three games.

The Braves took the lead against Washington reliever Hunter Harvey (2-2). Ozzie Albies doubled into the right corner and came around when Riley lined a single to center to make it 3-2.

It was Riley’s second RBI in 10 games since returning from a two-week absence due to an intercostal strain.

“That’s one thing I’ve seen this kid do his whole career when he was here,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said of the two-time All-Star. “He always stays true to himself. No matter how difficult things get, he stays true to himself and he lets himself get out of it. I told him, “I’ve seen you do this many times, and you always figure it out.” He’ll be exactly where he needs to be when it’s all said and done.

One pitch later, Ozuna ripped Harvey’s slider to deep left-center for his NL-leading 18th home run. Since the start of the 2021 season, Ozuna has hit 14 home runs in 37 games against the Nationals. He is batting .327 with nine home runs and 23 RBIs in 29 games since May 5.

“He’s not getting the love he deserves, that’s for sure,” Riley said. “What he has done for this team so far has kept us afloat offensively at times.”

Aaron Bummer (2-2) pitched a scoreless seventh for Atlanta and Raisel Iglesias added the ninth for his 16th save in 18 chances.

Parker plated the first 13 Atlanta batters before hitting Duvall in the fifth inning. He initially stranded Duvall, getting five in just 45 pitches. Orlando Arcia broke the no-hitter with a leadoff double in the sixth.

Parker pitched seven innings, matching the longest outing of his career of ten starts. He allowed three hits and two runs while striking out two.

“He stormed the offensive zone,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “They were aggressive. He got early outs. It was amazing. He threw really well.”

Atlanta starter Reynaldo Lopez stymied the Nationals before CJ Abrams hit a fastball to right field for his 10th home run to start the sixth. Four pitches later, Lane Thomas lofted a fly over the left field fence. It was the first time Washington hit back-to-back home runs this season.

Lopez, a former Washington prospect who made his debut with the Nationals in 2016, allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out seven.

Parker yielded Ozuna’s leadoff single in the seventh. After Matt Olson’s catch, Duvall ripped a fastball into the visitor’s left bullpen to tie the game.

Braves: OF Jarred Kelenic left the lineup a day after leaving in the eighth inning after jamming his wrist while making a diving catch.

Atlanta LHP Chris Sale (8-1, 3.06 ERA) looks to bounce back from allowing eight runs to Oakland in his last outing on Saturday. On Friday he will face Washington RHP Jake Irvin (3-5, 3.39).


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