Donaldson’s HR lifts Braves over Nationals 5-4 in 10 innings

Atlanta Braves’ Josh Donaldson celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a solo home run in the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in Washington. Atlanta won 5-4 in 10 innings. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Photo Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — Josh Donaldson homered against Sean Doolittle in the top of the 10th inning, and the Atlanta Braves pulled out a 5-4 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday to take two of three in the series and pad their NL East lead to 6 1/2 games.

After the Nationals scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, Donaldson swatted a fastball from Doolittle (6-3) over the center-field wall for his 25th homer of the season.

Adam Duvall homered for the fourth time in five games. Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies and Tyler Flowers also drove in runs for the Braves, who won consecutive series in Washington for the first time since 2013. They also won two of three in late June.

Atlanta got another quality road start from Mike Soroka, who pitched seven innings and allowed just three hits, including a leadoff homer to Juan Soto in the second.

That caused his road ERA to climb to 1.20 in 11 starts this season. That’s still the best by a Braves pitcher since Greg Maddux posted a 1.12 mark over 15 starts in 1995.

Washington starter Anibal Sanchez allowed four runs on 10 hits in five innings.

The Nationals rallied against the Braves’ bullpen. Matt Adams hit a pinch-hit home run against Anthony Swarzak in the eighth to pull within 4-2. In the ninth, Kurt Suzuki singled in a run off Sean Newcomb, who replaced Luke Jackson with no outs and two runners on. Newcomb (5-1) limited the damage from there, getting a double-play grounder from Gerardo Parra that tied the game at 4.

Josh Tomlin worked a scoreless 10th for his second save.

Duvall homered off Sanchez with one out in the second to continue a torrid stretch.

Since being recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on July 27 after Nick Markakis broke his left wrist, Duvall is batting .578 with four homers and six RBI over five games.

Soto’s home run to lead off the second was his 20th, making him the third player in major league history with two 20-homer seasons before his 21st birthday. It was also the sixth consecutive game he has driven in a run, the longest such streak of his career.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) took 15-20 swings in the batting cage Tuesday and could return soon, manager Dave Martinez said.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Max Fried (11-4, 4.21 ERA) aims for his third straight victory as Atlanta opens a four-game home series against Cincinnati.

Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (0-3, 9.85) will make his first career start in Arizona on Friday, as the Nationals begin a nine-game trip with the first of three against the Diamondbacks.

More AP MLB: HERE and TWITTER.

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