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Jun 8, 2024 2:10 am

Charlie Morton, Braves look to solve Nationals

charlie morton

Atlanta right-hander Charlie Morton will be looking for a measure of revenge when the Braves visit the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Morton (3-2, 3.88 ERA) faced the Nationals in Atlanta on May 27 and it did not go well. In his worst outing of the season, Morton allowed eight runs on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings of an 8-4 loss.

The 40-year-old Morton, however, bounced back in his next start. Against Oakland on Sunday, he tossed six shutout innings and allowed only one hit with five walks and six strikeouts, taking a no-decision in a 3-1 win.

“I had really good command of the zone, for the most part,” Morton said of his most recent start. “If you are not giving up a ton of hard-hit balls, you can afford to try to make pitches. That’s basically what we did today.”

Morton, who will be making his 364th career start, is 6-7 with a 5.23 ERA in 17 outings against the Nationals.

Washington left-hander MacKenzie Gore (4-5, 3.57) will be making his 53rd career start. On May 29, Gore beat the Braves by allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. It extended his 2024 streak of allowing three earned runs or fewer to 11 games.

That streak ended against the New York Mets on Monday when he was roughed up for six runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in a loss.

“I just didn’t execute. It just was not good,” Gore said. “… I wasn’t able to make pitches when I needed to get out of that traffic. So it’s frustrating.”

Gore is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in four career starts versus Atlanta.

On Friday night, the Nationals evened the four-game series with a 2-1 win. Jake Irvin outdueled Chris Sale as Washington ended a four-game losing streak.

Jesse Winker went 2-for-3 for the Nationals and has four multi-hit games during a five-game hitting streak. Over this stretch, he is 10-for-16 (.625) with three RBIs and three runs scored.

Set-up man Hunter Harvey allowed one run in the eighth inning but the Nationals defense let him down. Center fielder Jacob Young lost track of Marcell Ozuna’s fly ball, which fell in for a double, and Matt Olson’s RBI single made it 2-1. Kyle Finnegan worked the ninth for his 17th save.

“Harv did a great job of limiting the damage there,” Finnegan said. “Unfortunately, we lose a ball in the lights. … He kept his composure and kept the lead. … I think the difference tonight was we were able to limit that big swing.”

After scoring five late runs to rally on Thursday, Atlanta couldn’t duplicate the feat Friday. The Braves went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base.

Since winning six of seven to improve to 26-13, Atlanta has been a sub-.500 team, posting a 9-13 record. The Braves have scored one or fewer runs 10 times this year after doing so only 12 times all of last year.

“The attitude is good,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Nobody is sulking. It’s just not happening for us. I still believe it’s going to happen. At some point in time, we’re going to get this thing rolling.”

–Field Level Media

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