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Acuña, Braves Get 1st Win; Top Nats 7-6 To Open Doubleheader

WASHINGTON: Sure, Pablo Sandoval is 34 and in his 14th 12 months within the majors, a two-time All-Star and a World Collection MVP. He nonetheless wanted to show himself in spring coaching to earn a roster spot with the Atlanta Braves and a $1 million, one-year deal.

He’s positive paying dividends rapidly.

The man affectionately often called Kung Fu Panda hit his second pinch-hit homer in every week Wednesday, driving a two-run shot to the deepest a part of the ballpark off a Washington reliever who took over after Stephen Strasburg’s six scoreless innings and lifting the Braves to a 2-0 victory over the Nationals for a doubleheader sweep.

I dont wish to lie, mentioned Sandoval, who hit three homers in a single recreation for the San Francisco Giants within the 2012 Fall Basic. Its a type of moments while you get goose bumps.

Atlanta entered the day 0-4 however acquired headed in the fitting path in the course of the opener, when Ronald Acua Jr. led the way in which with a double and a pair of singles to assist the Braves win 7-6.

Sandoval signed a minor league contract in January with the Braves, then earned a job, which positive seems like a clever selection by the membership.

No conditions going to be too large, supervisor Brian Snitker mentioned. Not solely in that function, however within the clubhouse, too. This man is superior to have in your crew.

Sandoval got here off the bench to homer on opening day, then did the identical Wednesday. He turned on a 96 mph fastball from Tanner Rainey (0-1) with a 3-2 depend, sending it greater than 400 ft following Dansby Swanson’s two-out single within the seventh and ultimate inning.

I missed my spot, Rainey mentioned, and he didnt miss his swing.

The righty hadn’t confronted hitters for the reason that exhibition finale in Florida 9 days earlier. A coronavirus outbreak that hit the Nationals saved them from understanding or taking part in for almost a full week.

Luke Jackson (1-0) earned the win in Sport 2 by pitching round a pair of walks within the sixth.

Sean Newcomb acquired three strikeouts for the save.

Thats nearer stuff, proper there, Snitker mentioned.

Strasburg hadn’t pitched in a regular-season recreation since being shut down final August and having carpal tunnel surgical procedure on his proper wrist.

Reaching 95 mph together with his fastball, Strasburg struck out eight and walked two whereas exceeding his complete inning output for 2020, which was simply 5.

The 2019 World Collection MVP made solely two appearances final 12 months. The 32-year-old right-handers preparation this spring was slowed by a left calf situation, however he confirmed zero indicators of being something however at his finest Wednesday, retiring his final 10 batters.

That was superior to see, supervisor Dave Martinez mentioned. Man, he seemed nice.

The one hit Strasburg allowed was a single to the video games second batter, Ozzie Albies. The one actual hassle got here within the third, when Strasburg walked Acua and Albies, bringing Freddie Freeman to the plate. However Strasburg retired the reigning NL MVP on a fly to heart.

Strasburg, who doubled in his first at-bat, was lifted for a pinch-hitter within the sixth after 85 pitches.

Spot starter Huascar Ynoa went 5 scoreless innings for Atlanta, permitting simply two hits.

In Sport 1, the Braves put up 5 runs within the second inning off Erick Fedde (0-1), then wound up barely holding on with a save by Will Smith a day after he gave up a walk-off hit to Juan Soto.

Smith, Atlantas fifth pitcher, didn’t have a simple time of issues, although.

Attempting to guard a 7-5 lead Wednesday, the primary batter he confronted was Soto. This time, Soto walked, and Starlin Castro drove him in with a double. One other stroll put the successful run on base with one out, however Smith acquired Andrew Stevenson to floor right into a double play to finish it.

This was sort of an agonizing week, Snitker mentioned after Atlanta averted what would have been its first 0-5 begin since 2016. day to finish the street journey.

HUMDRUM

Despite the fact that 4,927 spectators had been current not like final season, when all followers had been banned – there nonetheless was faux crowd noise piped in, providing an odd, and annoying, hum of a soundtrack.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: RHP Mike Soroka, sidelined since August after tearing his Achilles tendon, will probably be shut down for 2 weeks due to irritation in his proper shoulder. He threw an inning throughout a simulated recreation Tuesday and doesn’t have any structural harm, Snitker mentioned. … Sport 1 pitcher Max Fried was hit by a batted ball however neither he nor Snitker sounded too apprehensive in regards to the lefty’s leg. Nothing too severe,” the pitcher mentioned.

Nationals: Lacking 9 gamers due to their COVID-19 outbreak 4 who examined optimistic, 5 who had been quarantined due to potential publicity. These beneath quarantine presumably might rejoin the membership on its upcoming six-game journey, Martinez mentioned.

UP NEXT

Braves: House opener is Friday in opposition to the Phillies, with Charlie Morton beginning for Atlanta in opposition to Zack Wheeler.

Nationals: Deliberate to fly to California on Wednesday night time; they open a three-game set on the Dodgers on Friday. Its been a protracted week, Martinez mentioned. “Its been a protracted week for all of us.

___

Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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