By Will Beverina
A rain-soaked and shortened farewell to Turner Field turned into a disappointing 6-2 loss for the Nationals against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
After an initial rain delay in the top of the sixth inning lasted more than an hour, a second delay was called again in the bottom of the seventh. Nationals manager Dusty Baker described the infield as feeling “like quicksand”, and the match was eventually called short during the second delay.
Joe Ross got his first start on the mound for Washington since July 2 after being out with shoulder inflammation. Ross was pulled after three innings, giving up a single run on six hits and striking out five.
His replacement, Reynaldo Lopez, had less of a good time. The 22-year-old came into the fourth inning and immediately gave up hits to Dansby Swanson and Adonis Garcia, who went 3-4 with 3 RBI’s, extending the Braves’ lead to 3-0. They were the only two hits the right-hander gave up.
The Nats would start clawing back in the sixth. After hitting a two-out triple, rookie Trea Turner scored on a double by Jayson Werth, who then was scored on a single by Bryce Harper to make it 3-2.
The first rain delay didn’t seem to do the Nats any favors, though. After Rafael Martin gave a leadoff walk to Swanson, Marc Rzepczynski gave up three runs, one a two-run single by Garcia and another a double by Freddie Freeman. The 6-2 score would stand until the game was ended with two outs left in the bottom of the seventh.
Ross picked up the loss on the day, dropping his 2016 record to 7-5. Braves pitcher Matt Wisler earned the win in a battle of San Diego Padres draft picks, improving to 7-12 on the year.
The loss means the Nats dropped two of three against the Braves in the final series the two teams will play in 2016. Washington’s magic number remains at six after the New York Mets beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Sunday.
Washington’s next series will be a three-game tie on Monday, Sept. 19 against the Marlins. First pitch from Marlins Park is slated for 7:10 p.m.