Postgame analysis of the Nats' 7-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night at Turner Field.
How it happened: For years, Nationals fans have dreaded the sight of Freddie Freeman, the Braves first baseman who has absolutely killed Washington in head-to-head matchups ever since he entered the league back in 2010. But in Trea Turner, the Nats may have their equalizer.
Turner continued to have his way with Atlanta in Friday night's 7-2 win with four hits, including a two-run homer, his ninth of the season. It was Turner's 10 career home run and five of those have come against the Braves. He also scored four runs and stole two bases.
In 17 career games vs. Atlanta, Turner is now 28-for-64 (.438) with five homers, 15 RBI, 18 runs, six steals and five doubles. Turner has only played in 58 games this season, yet he has the most hits of any MLB player (23) against the Braves in 2016. And in those 58 games this year - 55 of them starts - Turner has 30 multi-hit outings. This was his third four-hit game and his ninth time with three or more.
Daniel Murphy landed an RBI double in the second inning to score Jayson Werth, who had three hits, two runs and an RBI. Anthony Rendon had two hits and singled in two runners in the first inning. Stephen Drew singled, walked and scored a run.
Murphy also singled and added a sacrifice fly to score Turner in the seventh. Murphy has 104 RBI, which is just six less than Ryan Zimmerman's team record set back in 2006.
The Nats scored five runs in the first two innings to give Max Scherzer a nice cushion early in his start. He allowed two runs across seven frames with eight strikeouts and two walks.
The Nationals have won nine of their last 11 games. They are 15-2 against the Braves, which is the most wins they've ever had against Atlanta in team history (2005-present). Their previous high was 14 wins, set in 2015.
What it means: The Nats moved to 88-59 overall on the year and dropped their magic number to win the NL East to six. The Mets won, so the Nationals' lead in the division remains at 10 games.
Scherzer goes seven again: Scherzer made it through the seventh inning for the 20th time in 31 starts this season. It was the 18th time he's gone at least seven innings with two runs or less surrendered and it was the 17th time he's struck out eight or more batters in a game. Scherzer's season ERA went unchanged at 2.78 on the season, good for sixth in MLB and right behind teammate Tanner Roark. Scherzer earned his 17th win, which is third-best in his career. He won 18 games in 2014 and 21 the year before, when he won the AL Cy Young award.
Rendon gets them started: The Nats got on the board early thanks to Rendon's two-run single with the bases loaded. He roped a line drive to left field off Braves starter John Gant to score Turner and Werth. Rendon now has 78 RBI on the season and 45 in the second half. In 55 games since the All-Star break, Rendon is now 62-for-197 (.315). His .355 on-base percentage this season is higher than it was in 2014 (.351), when he won a Silver Slugger and finished fifth in NL MVP voting.
Werth gets three: Werth's three hits on Friday represented a mini-breakthrough, as the Nats outfielder had been slumping with just two hits in his previous six games across 23 total at-bats. He also scored two runs for the first time since Aug. 26. In his last 34 games, Werth is 32-for-135 (.237) with 36 strikeouts. His bat has cooled down, but the Nats have gone 21-13 in that span, so it's not hurting them.
Up next: The Nats and Braves have a quick turnaround with a 1:05 p.m. start on Saturday, in the penultimate matchup between the two teams this season, and ever at Turner Field. Gio Gonzalez (11-9, 4.27) will face off with Braves right-hander Josh Collmenter (1-0, 4.84).
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