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Braves’ three home runs sink Tommy Milone, Nationals in loss

August 9, 2018

For perhaps their most important game of the season, the Nationals turned to a journeyman pitcher who posted an ERA of 8.56 last season with the Mets and had made just 10 big league starts in two years.

The results caught up with Tommy Milone and the Nationals on Wednesday night, as the veteran lefty allowed three homers and seven runs as the Atlanta Braves defeated Washington 8-3 at Nationals Park.

The third-place Nationals (58-56) remained six games back of the first-place Phillies, who lost 6-0 earlier at Arizona. But Washington is now 5 games behind second-place Atlanta (62-49), with the series finale Thursday at 1:05 p.m.

Nationals rookie Juan Soto, was ejected when he came to bat in the sixth by home plate umpire Greg Gibson. Soto was most likely upset since he was called out on strikes in the fourth, and hitting coach Kevin Long was also tossed.

The night started off ugly as Nationals nemesis Charlie Culberson hit a three-run homer off Milone in the second inning for a 3-1 lead. The Braves made it 5-1 in the top of the fourth as Tyler Flowers hit a two-run homer. The next batter, Culberson, singled and two batters later Ronald Acuna, Jr. blasted a two-run, 452-foot shot to center for a 7-1 lead.

Milone entered the game with 3.00 ERA, having fanned 15 batters with no walks in his first two starts. But the longball has long been a problem for Milone (1-1), who gave up 15 homers in just 481/3 innings last season with the Mets and Brewers.

The Nationals also hit a ball over the fence except Braves star center fielder Acuna, Jr. robbed Matt Adams of a homer with a catch over the wall in the fourth. Bryce Harper finally put the ball where it couldn’t be caught as he smashed a solo homer to left in the sixth to make it 7-3.

Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (9-7) gave up three runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings for the win. Milone allowed 10 hits in six innings.

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