By BOBBY BANCROFT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Michael A. Taylor hit a game-ending single in the 12th inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 8-7 on Friday night after blowing a five-run lead for the second straight game.
Nationals relievers Kyle Finnegan and James Borque (1-0) worked out of bases-loaded jams in the 11th and 12th innings, respectively, and the NL East-leading Braves couldn’t score in three extra frames with a runner starting at second base. Atlanta left 22 runners on base in the game.
“A win is a win is a win and when you battle like we did tonight, it was good to come out on top,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
Adam Eaton began the 12th on second for Washington and advanced to third on Trea Turner’s lineout. Juan Soto was walked intentionally before Grant Dayton (2-1) allowed Taylor’s single.
It was the longest game of the season by innings for both teams. Washington jumped out to a 5-0 lead, just like it did Thursday before Atlanta rallied to win 7-6.
This time, the Braves tied it at 7 by scoring three runs in the ninth with two outs against Daniel Hudson, who blew a save for the fourth time this season.
Juan Soto drove in three runs for last-place Washington, which has won five of seven.
Soto hit a two-run double in the first and the Nationals led 3-0 before Atlanta starter Josh Tomlin recorded an out. His RBI single in the third gave Washington a 5-0 lead.
The Braves lost Ronald Acuña Jr. in the fourth inning when he fouled a ball off his left foot. The team said X-rays showed no fracture.
“They told me it hit a nerve or something,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “When he did it, he couldn’t stand on it. When he got upstairs, X-rays were good. It’s a heck of a lot better than when it happened. I’m hoping he’ll be able to play. He said it wasn’t bad right now.”
Marcell Ozuna went 5-for-6 and drove in four runs for the Braves. He hit his team-leading 14th homer in the eighth inning and hit a two-run single in the ninth.
Eric Thames and Yan Gomes homered for Washington.
HOW TO CELEBRATE
The Nationals didn’t adhere to social distancing rules while celebrating the walk-off hit, with plenty of high-fives on the field.
“We probably broke some protocol right there,” Taylor said. “You have to do the best you can.”
“It’s not even a small village, it’s a small state we left,” Snitker said about the runners Atlanta left on base.
Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle (right oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list for the second time this season. The team is awaiting results of an MRI on the 33-year-old left-hander, who was hurt after recording one out in Thursday’s loss.
Doolittle had been effective since returning from his earlier stint on the IL with right knee fatigue. He allowed one unearned run in six appearances, lowing his ERA from 15.00 to 5.87.
Braves: LHP Cole Hamels (triceps tendinitis) threw three simulated innings at Atlanta’s alternate training site on Friday. Snitker said reports were positive for Hamels, who could join the rotation as early as next week. … C Tyler Flowers had the night off after being hit by a pitch in his left triceps on Thursday. … Ender Inciarte replaced Acuña in center field.
Nationals: Recalled LHP Ben Braymer to take Doolittle’s spot on the roster. … Soto (sore left elbow) was again limited to DH.
Braves: RHP Ian Anderson (2-0, 2.40 ERA) makes his fourth major league start as the four-game series continues Saturday. He lasted a season-low three innings in Atlanta’s 5-4 loss to the Marlins on Monday.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (2-4, 4.34 ERA) allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Braves last Sunday.