By The Sports Xchange
WASHINGTON — Mike Foltynewicz was sitting in a player’s lounge in the visiting clubhouse late Monday night, feeling a little down about his most recent outing.
The Atlanta Braves right-hander had allowed three home runs and eight earned runs after not giving up a run in his previous two starts.
With his team two outs from a loss, Foltynewicz watched on a television as his batterymate — catcher Tyler Flowers — lofted an opposite-field, three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning to give the Braves a thrilling 11-10 win over the Washington Nationals on a night eight homers flew out of Nationals Park.
“He is a big strong man and he got it up there and it kept going,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Flowers.
“It was awesome,” Foltynewicz said of the Flowers homer. “I didn’t do my job. (The ball) is going to fly a little bit tonight. You have to keep the ball down.”
That certainly wasn’t the case for the Washington pitchers, as starter Stephen Strasburg gave up three homers in five innings. Reliever Jacob Turner allowed a homer in the eighth and Matt Albers, who has been a reliable arm in the bullpen, yielded the game-winner to Flowers.
Washington entered the game with a bullpen ERA of 4.97, second-to-worst in the National League behind San Diego (5.00). The Nationals’ bullpen gave up five runs in four innings to the Braves.
“When you score 10 runs, you expect to win,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said. “There are no answers right now.”
The Nationals have lost four in a row and have allowed 82 homers this year, including nine by Strasburg, six by Turner and three by Albers.
“We are in a bad streak. We have to keep fighting,” Baker said. “Every team is going to go through it. It seems like we are getting beat by the homer.”
Flowers was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts against Strasburg before he took a 2-0 pitch and sent it the opposite way into the Washington bullpen to make a loser of Albers (2-1).
“It was definitely one of those games where you could have rolled over a few times there, just as they could have too,” Flowers said. “Lot of big hits early and throughout the game. Strasburg, I personally felt like he had really good stuff to me at least. The other guys did a good job of jumping on some mistakes.”
The winning pitcher was Jason Motte (1-0), who pitched a scoreless eighth.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth for his 13th save despite allowing an RBI single to Trea Turner. Johnson got Bryce Harper to fly out to end the game with a runner on base.
“I wanted to give us a chance to win. I was able to do that,” said Braves reliever Jason Hursh, who pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh.
Matt Adams had three hits, including two homers, and four RBIs for the Braves, including a solo shot off Turner in the eighth that trimmed the Nationals’ lead to 9-7.
Ender Inciarte hit a sacrifice fly off Enny Romero to make it 9-8 and set the stage for the ninth-inning rally.
Matt Kemp (two hits) and Nick Markakis also homered for the Braves. Harper, Turner and Brian Goodwin went deep for Washington.
Goodwin, Michael A. Taylor, Turner and Adam Lind had three hits for Washington, and Matt Wieters and Daniel Murphy had two apiece.
Strasburg allowed seven hits and six runs in five innings. He got his 10th strikeout on his 100th pitch as he fanned Flowers for the third time in the fifth inning.
“It doesn’t happen very often, especially the way he pitches,” Snitker said of Strasburg.
The Braves (28-35) entered hitting just .121 in their last 33 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
That was quickly improved upon as Markakis hit a two-run homer in the first with Inciarte on second base. Kemp, the next batter, crushed a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in center off Strasburg to give the Braves a 3-0 lead.
Washington (38-25) got two runs in the last of the first. Turner led off with a homer to straightway center and Harper, who followed with a walk, eventually scored on an RBI single by Wieters.
Those runs broke a streak of 14 scoreless innings by Foltynewicz, who gave up 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Taylor had an RBI single off reliever Sam Freeman in the fourth to make it 8-6. Taylor then scored all the way from first on a single to right by Goodwin to give the Nationals a 9-6 lead before the Braves responded.
“They just kept playing,” Snitker said. “They kept getting after it. It was good to see.”
NOTES: The Braves took RHP Kyle Wright in the first round with the fifth overall pick in the draft. Atlanta SS Dansby Swanson, a product of Vanderbilt, was drafted first overall in 2015. Washington picked LHP Seth Romero, who was kicked off the team at the University of Houston in May, with the 25th overall pick. … The Nationals called up RHP Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. To make room for Gott, the Nationals sent INF Wilmer Difo to Syracuse. … Atlanta RHP R.A. Dickey (4-4, 4.73) will face Washington RHP Joe Ross (3-2, 6.16) on Tuesday. … Washington has scored at least one run in every game this season.