WASHINGTON (AP) Spencer Strider earned his major league-leading 19th win and the Atlanta Braves got their 100th victory of the season Sunday night by defeating the Washington Nationals 8-5 for a doubleheader split.
Kevin Pillar and Forrest Wall homered, and Orlando Arcia drove in three runs for Atlanta (100-56), which has won 100 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2002-03.
“It’s unbelievable,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s hard to do. I think it’s quite an accomplishment anytime you can win 100 games. A lot of things we’re doing are really hard. It’s taken the whole room in there, that’s for sure, to make something like that happen.”
Luis García and Lane Thomas homered for last-place Washington, which dropped three of four in the series and has lost nine of 13 overall.
In the opener, rookie Jackson Rutledge earned his first major league victory as the Nationals won 3-2.
Strider (19-5) pitched 5 2/3 innings and yielded four runs on seven hits, including García’s solo shot in the sixth. The right-hander struck out four to give him 274 for the year, two shy of John Smoltz’s 1996 single-season modern franchise record.
“We executed some pitches and they hit them, and we didn’t execute some pitches and they hit them,” Strider said. “I wasn’t very good. I need to be better, and I have one more start to tune it up.”
Washington scored three runs in the third inning off Strider when Keibert Ruiz hit a two-run double and scored on García’s single two batters later.
Atlanta quickly erased the deficit. Matt Olson and Arcia hit RBI doubles in the fourth against Nationals starter Joan Adon (2-4), with Arcia coming around on Pillar’s drive to left.
Adon gave up four runs and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings.
Wall’s two-run shot to right off Jose A. Ferrer in the sixth made it 6-3. It was his first big league home run. Arcia added a two-run single in the seventh.
Thomas lifted his 27th home run of the season to left off Raisel Iglesias in the ninth.
In the first game, Rutledge (1-1) allowed a run over five innings in his third career start while combining with three relievers on a six-hitter.
“It just tells me that I belong here, that I can do it against one of the best records in baseball, one of the best lineups in baseball,” Rutledge said. “That I’m able to have success, it gives me confidence going forward.”
Jacob Young had two RBIs for Washington.
Sean Murphy hit a broken-bat home run in the ninth off Kyle Finnegan, who then retired Eddie Rosario for his 27th save.
Allan Winans (1-2), recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett, allowed two runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out six in his fifth start for the Braves.
Kyle Wright, who led the majors with 21 wins last season but has been limited to seven starts this year because of shoulder issues, allowed a run over three innings in his first relief appearance since 2019.
“I still believe in myself,” Wright said. “I know the results have been a little tough, but I was really happy with the way I threw the ball today. I thought the command was pretty good and I executed in general, for the most part.”
The second game was a makeup of Saturday’s rainout.
Braves: Placed RHP Charlie Morton on the 15-day injured list. Morton left his start Friday after one inning with right index finger inflammation. “It’s just going to be one of those things where he’s going to miss the Division Series and hopefully we can advance and have him ready for the LCS,” Snitker said.
THOMAS JOINS 20-20 CLUB
Thomas stole his 20th base in the third inning of the second game, becoming the fourth Nationals player to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a season since the club moved to Washington in 2005 - and the first since Bryce Harper in 2016. Ian Desmond (three times) and Alfonso Soriano also did it.
Washington’s attendance for the season was 1,865,832, down 7.9% from last year’s total of 2,026,401. It is the lowest season attendance for the Nationals in a year without pandemic restrictions since the club drew 1,828,066 in 2010.
Braves: After Monday’s off day, RHP Bryce Elder (12-4, 3.63 ERA) starts Tuesday as Atlanta returns home to start a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.
Nationals: Washington is also off Monday. The Nationals had not announced pitching plans for Tuesday’s opener of a two-game series at Baltimore.
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