Donaldson's homer gives the Braves a win over the Nationals

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Josh Donaldson homered against Sean Doolittle in the top of the 10th, 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 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 (10-2), 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 (6-6) could not keep pace, allowing four runs on 10 hits in five innings of work.

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 and Gerardo Parra drove in runs against the combination of Luke Jackson and Sean Newcomb.

Duvall homered off of Sanchez with one out in the second to continue a torrid surge at the plate.

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 RBIs over five games.

Soto's home run to lead off the second marked the sixth consecutive game he has driven in a run, the longest such streak of his career.

Newcomb (5-1) earned the win after working out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth for the Braves. Josh Tomlin pitched a scoreless inning in the 10th for Atlanta.

Doolittle (6-3) took the loss for the Nationals.