WASHINGTON — National League victories leader Stephen Strasburg struggled again at home as the Washington Nationals lost to the Atlanta Braves 8-5 on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
Strasburg allowed six runs in 5 1-3 innings, giving up home runs to Jace Peterson and Freddie Freeman on a humid night at Nationals Park. Strasburg has a 9.00 ERA over 16 innings in his last three outings (all losses) at home.
“This happens no matter who you are,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “These things happen. He is not infallible. He’s human and sometimes you hit a bad period of time like this.”
Anthony Recker also homered for the Braves, who snapped a 14-game losing streak in Washington and won for the 11th time in 17 games.
Mike Foltynewicz (6-5) allowed four runs over 5 2-3 innings, while Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 10th save in 13 tries.
Atlanta had not won in Washington since Sept. 10, 2014, and was 0-6 against the NL East leaders this season.
The Braves scored in the first and second innings before the Nationals rallied for three runs. But after Foltynewicz doubled to lead off the fifth and Erick Aybar singled with one out, Freeman smacked his 22nd home run.
“He’s a really good hitter so it’s kind of been a back and forth for years now and I just got to do a better job of hitting my spots with him,” Strasburg said. “Didn’t do that tonight and he beat me on it.”
Strasburg left trailing 5-3 with a man on base in the sixth, and Recker hit reliever Matt Belisle’s first pitch deep to left for his first homer this season. Washington would not get any closer than three runs.
Anthony Rendon hit his 14th homer for the Nationals, who remained 7 1/2 games ahead of Miami in the NL East.
WERTH EXTENDS ON-BASE STREAK
Nationals LF Jayson Werth’s RBI double in the seventh inning extended his streak of reaching base safely to 41 games. It is the longest streak in the majors and two shy of Ryan Zimmerman’s Nationals record set in 2009.
Braves: Atlanta selected the contract of RHP Jason Hursh from Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled RHP Akeel Morris from Double-A Mississippi, optioned RHP Brandon Cunniff to Gwinnett and designated RHP Roberto Hernandez for assignment.
Nationals: OF Bryce Harper, who has not played since Saturday, remained out of the lineup with a stiff neck. Baker said the team might have to make a decision about placing Harper on the DL in the next few days, but has not discussed the possibility based on his progress. Brian Goodwin started in right in Harper’s place.
Braves: Rookie RHP Rob Whalen (1-0, 5.73 ERA) makes his third career start and first against Washington.
Nationals: The club plans to recall RHP Reynaldo Lopez (0-1, 9.35) to start Saturday. Lopez did not last more than 4 2-3 innings in either of his first two career starts.
Follow 106.7 The Fan on Twitter
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)