MLB GAME RECAP

Nationals hand Braves first loss at new stadium

Sports Xchange

April 18, 2017 at 8:14 pm.

Apr 18, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) delivers a pitch to an Atlanta Braves batter in the third inning at SunTrust Park. Photo Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 18, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) delivers a pitch to an Atlanta Braves batter in the third inning at SunTrust Park. Photo Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — Max Scherzer allowed only two hits over seven shutout innings on Tuesday, and the Washington Nationals defeated Atlanta 3-1 to hand the Braves their first loss in new Sun Trust Park.

Scherzer (2-1) struck out seven and walked three in recording his third consecutive quality start. He allowed only two runners to reach scoring position and improved to 6-3 in his career against the Braves.

Washington survived a bullpen meltdown. Sammy Solis pitched a scoreless eighth inning but closer Blake Treinen loaded the bases in the ninth and allowed a run. Shawn Kelley entered and retired Emilio Bonifacio on a fly to right and struck out Chase d’Arnaud to end the game and earn his first save.

Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (0-2) pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits and four walks. He had three strikeouts and one wild pitch.

Washington’s seven-hit attack was led by right fielder Bryce Harper, who had a pair of opposite-field doubles, a walk and a run. Harper is 5-for-8 with two doubles and two homers over his past two games and is hitting .354.

Harper’s second double came in the eighth against reliever Eric O’Flaherty. He came around to score on Ryan Zimmerman’s two-out double to right. Zimmerman was 2-for-3 with a walk.

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman was 2-for-2 with two walks. He is 6-for-6 over the past two games, reaching base in his past 10 plate appearances while improving his batting average to .444.

Washington (8-6) has won two straight games. Atlanta (6-7) had its five-game winning streak broken. The Braves had been 4-0 in the new ballpark.

The Nationals had a scoring opportunity in the fourth inning but failed to execute.

Harper led off with an opposite-field hustle double and Zimmerman reached on a one-out walk. But Harper got caught wandering too far off the bag and was thrown out at second base. Jayson Werth was called out on strikes to end the threat.

The Braves also wasted an opportunity when they had runners on the corners in the fourth inning. Adonis Garcia grounded into a double-play, the first turned in support of Scherzer this season, to put out the fire.

The National broke through for two runs in the fifth. Matt Wieters led off with a double, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Wilmer Difo, his first RBI of the season. Scherzer sacrificed Difo to second and he scored on Adam Eaton’s single up the middle.

NOTES: Washington improved to 37-13 against the Braves since June 21, 2014. … Washington will recall RHP Joe Ross and place him in the rotation, beginning with Wednesday’s game in Atlanta. Ross was sent to the minor leagues to start the season because the team did not need a fifth starter. … Nationals SS Trea Turner (right hamstring) is almost ready to return but is expected to require a rehab start in a warm climate, manager Dusty Baker said. … Atlanta OF Matt Kemp (right hamstring) will play a rehab game in Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday and is expected to join the Braves’ roster on Thursday. … Atlanta C Tyler Flowers (right hamstring) was expected to be available to play the field again on Wednesday.