Riley hits RBI single in 12th, surging Braves top Nationals

Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley swings for the game winning hit off Washington Nationals' Jordan...
Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley swings for the game winning hit off Washington Nationals' Jordan Weems in the twelfth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 10, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)(Ben Margot | AP)
Published: Jul. 10, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley hit a tying home run in the eighth inning and a winning single in the 12th, lifting the surging Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The defending World Series champion Braves have won six of seven and improved to 29-8 since June 1, the best record in the majors in that span. They are 1½ games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets and open a three-game series against them Monday night in Atlanta.

Washington has lost 10 of 11. Juan Soto extended his hitting streak to 13 games — he’s batting .409 during the run — and also has a 20-game on-base string.

Dansby Swanson started the Braves 12th as the automatic runner at second base. After an intentional walk to Matt Olson, Riley lined a single to left off Jordan Weems (0-1).

Riley was the automatic runner in the 10th when William Contreras lined an infield single that second baseman Alcides Escobar bobbled. Escobar recovered in time to throw out Riley at the plate to end the inning.

Riley also had an RBI single in the third.

Collin McHugh (2-1) earned the win after pitching clean innings in the 11th and 12th.

Riley, going deep for the second straight day, hit his 23rd homer to tie it at 3 off Kyle Finnegan in the eighth. He is batting .489 with multiple hits in eight of his last 10 games.

Lane Thomas hit the Nationals’ first pinch-hit homer of the season, a three-run drive off reliever Dylan Lee in the sixth that made it 3-2. Thomas drove his ninth homer into the left-field seats to give Washington its first lead of the three-game series.

The Braves have won six straight in the season series against the Nationals. Washington was swept in Atlanta for the first time since April 11-13, 2014.

Atlanta starter Ian Anderson, who had the NL’s highest ERA over six starts in June at 6.91, was trying to win his second straight start, but left after issuing consecutive one-one walks to Soto and Nelson Cruz in the sixth.

Nationals starter Paolo Espino allowed two run and six hits in four innings.

NICE GLOVES

Atlanta 1B Olson dove to his left in the second for a backhanded spear of Maikel Franco’s grounder. He flipped the ball to Anderson for the out. ... Franco returned the favor from third base in the fourth, ranging to his right to make a tough jump-throw from foul territory across the diamond on one hop to retire Orlando Arcia.

ROSTER MOVE

The Nationals reinstated RHP Hunter Harvey from the 60-day injured list and optioned RHP Joan Adon to Triple-A Rochester. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Jackson Tetreault was transferred to the 60-man injured list.

UP NEXT

The Braves and Mets meet Monday night to begin a three-game series with LHP ace Max Fried (9-2, 2.52 ERA) going against Mets RHP ace Max Scherzer (5-1, 2.26). Fried is 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 12 career starts and five relief appearances against New York.

Washington is off Monday. RHP Josiah Gray (7-5, 4.14) will face Seattle when the Mariners and Nationals begin a two-game series on Tuesday.