ATLANTA (AP) Washington had a rare power surge against the Atlanta Braves.
Dominic Smith and Jeimer Candelario hit two-run homers in the sixth inning and the Nationals beat Atlanta 6-2 on Sunday to stop a six-game skid and the Braves' seven-game winning streak.
“If they keep swinging like that in the middle of the lineup, we're going to do some good things,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
Trevor Williams (3-4) allowed two runs, seven hits and one walk in five innings with six strikeouts, winning for just the second time since April 8.
“We were able to attack the edges with my fastball and spin,” Williams said. “Thankfully, the defense made some big plays behind us. They are a really good hitting squad. It is just a matter of executing pitches.”
Carl Edwards Jr., Kyle Finnegan and Hunter Harvey combined for two-hit relief.
Bryce Elder (4-1), who entered with a National League-leading 2.26 ERA, saw it rise to 2.69 after giving up a season-high five runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Elder struck out a season-low one - Lane Thomas starting the game.
Keibert Ruiz had two hits and an RBI for the Nationals, and Luis García also had two hits. Matt Olson hit his 18th home run for the Braves.
Matt Olson put the Braves ahead with a two-run homer in the first, a 421-foot drive that landed on top of the Chop House in right field.
“You wipe the slate clean,” Williams said. “You are going to give up home runs. You hit the reset button and then my goal is to keep us in the game.”
Ruiz cut the deficit with an RBI single in the fourth, and the Nationals burst ahead with a five-run sixth.
García doubled leading off, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Joey Meneses that extended his on-base streak to 18 games. Candelario homered for a 4-2 lead, Ruiz singled to chase Elder and Smith homered on Kirby Yates' first pitch, a 444-foot drive over the bullpen in right-center that was the longest home run of Smith's big league career.
Alex Call robbed Michael Harris II of a possible two-run home run in the sixth inning, leaping at the top of the wall in left-center for a backhand grab.
“It's what you practice for,” Call said. “The ball has to be hit just in the right spot. You might get one or two opportunities a year for a play like that.”
After Call made the grab, he jumped and celebrated on the way back to the dugout.
“I'm a pretty even-keeled player out there, but that was a lot of fun and gave us some momentum,” he said. “That gets everybody excited.”
Elder’s start marked the third straight game the Braves’ starting pitcher was age 24 or younger. Jared Shuster (24) started Saturday and A.J. Smith-Shawver (20) started Friday. The Braves have an MLB-high 38 starts from pitchers 24 or younger, twice as many as the Cleveland Guardians, second with 19. The Braves have 59%t of starts from pitchers 24 or younger; the MLB average is 11%.
The win by Williams was the first by a Nationals starting pitcher since May 26 ... The Braves are 32-12 against the Nats since the start of 2021. ... Ronald Acuña led off the game with an infield single, the 33rd time in 65 games he’s reached base to start a game. He has scored 20 first-inning runs. ... Braves DH Marcell Ozuna, who was hitting .085 at the end of April, extended his hitting streak to eight games and is hitting .242.
Braves: RHP Charlie Morton (2-3, 4.64 ERA) will open a three-game series at Detroit on Monday.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (4-6, 4.89) starts Tuesday Houston, which goes with RHP Hunter Brown (4-1, 3.46).
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