Advertisement

Rookie lefty Parker logs another strong start as the Nationals beat Morton and the Braves 8-4

ATLANTA (AP) — Mitchell Parker pitched five-hit ball into the seventh inning and CJ Abrams homered, helping the Washington Nationals beat the depleted Atlanta Braves 8-4 on Monday.

Parker (4-2) allowed three runs, struck out six and walked none in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 100 pitches, 74 for strikes.

The rookie left-hander has permitted three runs or fewer in each of his first eight major league starts. A key to Parker's success has been efficiency.

“Just a lot of early contact, a lot of ground balls,” Parker said. “Fielders were making a lot of plays and ... just keeping the counts short, the pitch count down. That’s all that matters.”

Jacob Young had three of the Nationals’ season-high 15 hits. Nick Senzel had two hits, including a two-run single in a four-run first inning against Charlie Morton.

“We love it, playing defense behind him,” Abrams said of Parker's quick innings. “The more time you spend in the dugout and hitting the better off you are.”

The Braves adjusted their lineup in their first game since losing 2023 NL MVP Ronald Acuña Jr. to a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Sunday.

Second baseman Ozzie Albies was the team’s new leadoff hitter. Jared Kelenic and Adam Duvall, who have been sharing time in left field, each started. Duvall replaced Acuña in right and Kelenic started in left.

Parker was working with an 8-0 lead before fading in the seventh.

Sean Murphy, who was activated off the injured list before the game, drove in Marcell Ozuna with a groundout for Atlanta's first run. Duvall followed with a two-run homer that knocked Parker out of the game.

Morton (3-2) was charged with eight runs and 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings. It was the most runs allowed by Morton, a 40-year-old right-hander, since he gave up nine runs in a 9-2 loss at Washington while pitching for Pittsburgh on June 21, 2015.

Manager Brian Snitker said his choice to have Albies lead off was a “day-to-day thing. I like him against a lefty, obviously. I may stay with him.”

Albies opened the game with a single to right field. Parker retired Atlanta's next 14 batters before Michael Harris II singled up the middle with two outs in the fifth.

Eddie Rosario, who hit 21 homers for Atlanta last year and then agreed to a minor league contract with Washington in March, received a warm reception from fans in the first inning. Rosario took off his batting helmet, tapped his chest over his heart, and delivered a run-scoring double to drive in Washington's first run.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Victor Robles was designated for assignment as OF Lane Thomas (left knee sprain) was activated from the 10-day injured list. Robles, 27, was hitting only .120 with four stolen bases this season and .236 for his career. Thomas had two doubles and scored a run in his return after missing 29 games.

Braves: Acuña was placed on the 10-day injured list. OF J.P. Martinez was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett. INF Joey Wendle was designated for assignment. 3B Austin Riley had no hits in his return after missing two weeks with tightness in his left side.

UP NEXT

LHP Max Fried (4-2, 3.38 ERA), who is coming off his second complete-game victory of the season, is scheduled to start for Atlanta against Washington RHP Jake Irvin (2-5, 3.79 ERA) on Tuesday night. Fried is 7-4 with a 4.22 ERA in 17 career games against the Nationals.

__

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb