By PATRICK STEVENS, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals turned down trade offers for top prospect Victor Robles this summer, instead dealing other minor leaguers to fortify their roster for the postseason.
Robles provided his latest glimpse of why Washington insisted upon keeping him Thursday, using his speed to spur a pair of two-run rallies to lead Washington to a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
“You’ve got to like what you see,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “You can see why everyone wanted to trade for him and you see why we didn’t want to give him up and include him in those trades. He can be an impact player.”
Tanner Roark (13-9) pitched six strong innings, Sean Doolittle earned his 18th save in as many opportunities since Washington acquired him in a trade from Oakland in July, and the Nationals salvaged the final game of the three-game set to earn their first victory since clinching the NL East on Sunday.
Making his second career start, the 20-year-old Robles tripled to right-center in the fourth off Mike Foltynewicz (10-13), showing no interest in settling for a double as he zipped around second. He scored two batters later on Pedro Severino’s fielder’s choice grounder to make it 3-0.
“I’m always thinking third base unless coach stops me,” Robles said.
Foltynewicz departed after four innings with a cut on the tip of his right middle finger. That forced Atlanta manager Brian Snitker to use his youthful bullpen earlier than anticipated, and Robles instigated another two-run inning in the sixth.
Braves third baseman Johan Camargo overthrew first on Robles’ infield single with a man on, allowing both runners to move into scoring position. Adrian Sanchez then delivered a two-run double.
“That sixth is a big inning when you lose your starter,” Snitker said. “That’s the big thing. Folty was throwing the ball good and doing great, and it’s just unfortunate that happened because we needed him to get through that inning right there. If he’d done that, things were lined up pretty good.”
Roark (13-9) at one point set down 12 in a row and did not yield a hit until the fifth. He struck out seven over six innings, giving up four hits and two runs.
Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies hit a two-run homer to left-center just beyond the reach of center fielder Michael A. Taylor in the sixth to briefly pull the Braves within 3-2. The blast, Albies’ fourth of the season, extended the rookie’s hitting streak to 12 games.
After waiting out a 30-minute rain delay at the start of the game, Foltynewicz allowed three runs in four innings.
“I kind of felt it a little bit (in the fourth) and didn’t think anything of it,” Foltynewicz said. “When I continued to throw and once I got into the dugout and looked at it, it was just bleeding. … There was nothing I could really do about it.”
CATCH OF THE DAY
CF Ender Inciarte robbed Washington’s Jayson Werth of an extra-base hit in the third when he raced across left-center and leaped against the wall to make the catch. Inciarte showed no ill effects from the jammed left thumb that sidelined him Wednesday.
Braves: 1B/OF Matt Adams (right hamstring tightness) struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh. Adams had not played since Sunday.
Nationals: C Jose Lobaton departed in the second inning with a left ankle contusion after he was hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative. “He’ll be hobbling for a couple of days,” Baker said. … 2B Daniel Murphy (neck stiffness) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive day. … 3B Anthony Rendon, C Matt Wieters and 1B Ryan Zimmerman received routine days off.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (2-8, 4.38 ERA) draws the start against the New York Mets as Atlanta begins a nine-game homestand Friday.
Nationals: RHP Edwin Jackson (5-5, 3.88 ERA) gets the nod Friday as Washington remains at home to face the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game series between playoff-bound teams.