Left-hander Dallas Keuchel further established his credentials as ace of the Atlanta pitching staff with six scoreless innings and the Braves got two home runs in a 4-3 win over the visiting Washington Nationals on Friday. It was Keuchel's first career victory over Washington in his sixth try. Keuchel (7-5) allowed six runs and two walks, striking out three, and won his fourth straight decision.
Ozzie Albies and Josh Donaldson each homered for the Braves, who won their eighth straight and extended their lead in the National League East to nine games over Washington. Atlanta has won 12 straight at home, tying a franchise record for the modern era.
Shane Greene worked a perfect ninth inning to record his 23rd save, his first since joining the Braves. Washington starter Patrick Corbin (11-7) was visibly frustrated by the strike zone enforced by plate umpire Paul Emmel, often taking his hat off and gesturing when he thought a call was incorrect. He issued six walks, the most in his eight-year career. Corbin worked five innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits and nine strikeouts.
The Atlanta defense short-circuited a Washington rally in the first inning. Trea Turner and Howie Kendrick opened the game with singles. Anthony Rendon lined a ball to center field, but Ronald Acuna Jr. was able to fire a strike to third and retire Turner for a forceout. The Braves scored the first run in the third inning when Albies connected for his 20th home run. It was the first home run for Albies since Aug. 24 against the New York Mets.
Atlanta made it 2-0 in the fourth. Adam Duvall doubled, took third on Rendon's fielding error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Flowers. Donaldson hit a two-run homer off Wander Suero to put Atlanta ahead 4-0 in the seventh. It was Donaldson's 35th homer and made the Braves only the 17th team with three players with 35 or more home runs.
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