EditorsNote: adds to sixth and 11th grafs; adds new final graf

Austin Riley belted a go-ahead homer to lead off the seventh inning to lift the visiting Atlanta Braves to a 4-2 victory over the slumping Washington Nationals on Friday.

Ozzie Albies homered in his third straight game and Dansby Swanson and Travis d’Arnaud also went deep for the Braves, who have won eight of their last 10 contests.

The victory propelled Atlanta into a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East. The Phillies dropped a 6-1 decision to the Cincinnati Reds earlier on Friday.

Juan Soto had an RBI single and Josh Bell added a sacrifice fly in the first inning for the Nationals, who have dropped five in a row and 10 of their past 11 games.

Riley deposited a 2-2 fastball from Josiah Gray (0-1) over the wall in right-center field to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning. The homer was Riley’s 24th of the season, tying him with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Freddie Freeman for the team lead.

The blast made a winner out of Charlie Morton (11-4), who allowed two runs on six hits in six innings. He finished with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Swanson provided insurance with a solo shot off Andres Machado in the top of the ninth inning. The homer was Swanson’s 21st of the season and first in August.

Will Smith put two runners on before retiring the next three batters in the bottom of the ninth to secure his 24th save of the season.

Washington got off to a fast start after rain and lightning delayed the start of the game by 3 hours and 12 minutes.

Victor Robles doubled to lead off the first inning, advanced to third on Alcides Escobar’s bloop single and scored on Soto’s base hit to center field. Escobar moved to third on the play and scored on Bell’s sacrifice fly to right field.

The Braves halved the deficit in the fifth inning as d’Arnaud deposited a 1-2 slider from Gray into the flowers over the wall in left field. The homer was the third of the season and first since April for d’Arnaud, who was activated from the injured list on Wednesday.

In the sixth, Albies forged a 2-2 tie after sending a first-pitch curveball from Gray over the wall in right-center field for his 21st homer of the season.

Gray gave up three runs on five hits and no walks in six-plus innings. He struck out six.

–Field Level Media


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