Ronald Acuna Jr.’s two-run double highlighted a four-run seventh-inning rally Saturday that sparked visiting Atlanta to a 10-1 win over the Washington Nationals — and propelled the Braves into the playoffs.
While the win reduced Atlanta’s magic number for clinching the National League East to four, it also ensured the Braves will at worst get one the NL’s two wild-card spots. The Braves (93-57) increased their division lead to 10 1/2 games over the Nationals (81-66). The Braves have won 13 of their last 16 and are 11-7 against the Nationals.
Mike Foltynewicz (6-6) continued to pitch well since his return from the minor leagues. The right-hander worked six innings and allowed one run on four hits, one walk and five strikeouts. Foltynewicz has allowed only two runs in his last 18 innings. The Braves have won his last 11 starts.
The seventh-inning rally began when Wander Suero (5-8) walked Brian McCann and Swanson to start the inning. The Nationals called in Fernando Rodney from the bullpen, and his inside pitch hit Charlie Culberson below the right cheek. But home plate umpire Tim Timmons ruled Culberson had offered at the pitch while attempting to bunt, which resulted in a strike rather than a hit batter. The decision incensed Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, who was ejected for arguing. Duvall replaced Culberson and finished the at-bat, striking out before Acuna’s big hit.