Nats drop series finale at Atlanta: Rivals split pivotal series

washington nationalsKevin Gausman pitched seven strong innings, limiting Washington to a run on five hits, pitching Atlanta to a 7-1 win to earn the Braves a series split on Sunday.

Gausman (3-5, 5.71 ERA) struck out eight Nats and didn’t walk a batter in his outing, earning his first win since May 11.

The Nats had touched up Gausman for eight runs in an inning of work in a 14-4 win on May 29.

Joe Ross (0-2, 9.45 ERA) took the loss in his first start for Washington in 2019, giving up three runs on eight hits in five and a third innings.

The loss leaves Washington (52-46) six and a half games back of Atlanta in the NL East. The Nats continue to hold the lead for the first of two wild-card playoff spots in the National League, a half-game ahead of Milwaukee, but there are six teams currently within three games of each other in the wild-card race, including the surging San Francisco Giants, who have won 15 of their last 18 games.

Ross got the start because Nationals ace Max Scherzer was scratched from the weekend set due to continued issues with his back. Scherzer appears to be improving and is expected to be activated off the injured list this week, with an eye toward him returning to the starting rotation on Thursday for the series finale with Colorado.

Story by Chris Graham

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