Huascar Ynoa hit a grand slam and pitched seven stress-free innings in a dominant two-way performance, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
Ynoa blasted a fastball from Tanner Rainey 427 feet to center field in the sixth inning, extending his left arm on the follow-through like a polished slugger. It was the first grand slam by a major league pitcher since Cincinnati’s Anthony DeSclafani on June 23, 2018.
Perhaps it wasn’t a shock: Ynoa homered in his last start and was 4 for 5 at the plate in his previous two outings. He is hitting .385 (5 for 13) this season.
Ronald Acuña Jr. also homered for the Braves, taking a slow dance around the bases to break a scoreless tie in the fifth. He hit the ball hard every time he swung the bat against Nationals starter Joe Ross (2-2), lining a single on the right-hander’s first pitch and getting robbed by center fielder Victor Robles on a deep drive in the third. He scorched a foul ball to left before he took Ross deep.
Atlanta stopped a four-game skid while ending Washington’s four-game winning streak, which had bumped the Nationals into first place in the underachieving NL East.
Ynoa (3-1), who came in with the lowest ERA among Atlanta starters, allowed an unearned run in the seventh and four hits total, having little trouble against a Washington lineup that’s still missing Juan Soto and hasn’t gotten much out of free-agent signees Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber.
Ross worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. He left with two men on and Rainey gave up William Contreras’ run-scoring single. Rainey walked Pache before he grooved the 0-1 fastball to Ynoa, who didn’t miss it.
SLUMPING BRAVES SLUGGERS
Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman went 0 for 4 and struck out twice as his batting average dropped to .208. Marcell Ozuna lined out to the warning track in both left and right on an 0-for-5 night, dipping to .195.
Braves: OF Guillermo Heredia, on the 10-day injured list with right hamstring inflammation, has been throwing and hitting soft-toss but hasn’t done any running yet, manager Brian Snitker said.
Nationals: Soto, activated Tuesday from the IL, struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. He is still recovering from a strained left shoulder and isn’t ready to play the outfield yet, manager Dave Martinez said. … RHP Will Harris, reinstated from the IL on Tuesday, made his season debut, striking out two in a scoreless eighth.
The Braves recalled infielder Sean Kazmar Jr. from their alternate training site after optioning right-hander Sean Jones there a day earlier. Kazmar had an earlier stint with Atlanta this season after being out of the majors since 2008.
Braves left-hander Max Fried (0-1, 11.45 ERA) will come off the 10-day injured list to start Wednesday. Fried has been out since April 14 with a strained right hamstring and will likely be limited to 75 or 80 pitches, Snitker said. Right-hander Erick Fedde (2-2, 4.43) starts for Washington.