07/20 22:52 CDT Nats' Strasburg loses, beefs with Scherzer; Braves win 8-5
Nats' Strasburg loses, beefs with Scherzer; Braves win 8-5
By BENJAMIN STANDIG
WASHINGTON (AP) --- Families fight, even on special occasions. Birthday boy
Stephen Strasburg and Nationals ace Max Scherzer are leaving it at that.
Strasburg was batted around by the Atlanta Braves, then engaged in a heated
spat with Scherzer in the dugout during the Washington Nationals' 8-5 loss
The Nationals delayed opening their clubhouse to reporters after the game, and
Strasburg then offered no clarification for the animated discussion between him
"It's part of family, man," he said. "You got to be in the family."
The dispute occurred after Strasburg, activated from the 10-day disabled list
earlier in the day and throwing on his 30th birthday, gave up six runs and
eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked into the dugout, got a pat on the back
from Scherzer and sat down on the bench. They began barking at each other, then
both quickly went off-camera by leaving the dugout.
Another reporter asked if the two pitchers spoke again after the initial tiff.
"You got to be in the family," Strasburg said forcefully. "You're not."
Washington, which has lost six of nine, fell to 48-49, six games behind Atlanta
and 6 behind NL East-leading Philadelphia.
The Braves lost All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies in the third inning, and
the team said he was lifted as a precaution because of right hamstring
tightness. Manager Brian Snitker said Albies is "OK," but would help to rest
him "for a day or two and see how he is."
Albies had an RBI double and stole a base in a two-run first inning. Ronald
Acuna Jr. homered, doubled and singled, scored three runs and had two of
Atlanta's four stolen bases.
"It couldn't have been any better," Snitker said. "I loved the aggressiveness."
Anibal Sanchez (5-2) allowed three runs over six innings for the Braves, who
entered the All-Star break having lost eight of 11. A.J. Minter pitched the
ninth for his fifth save.
"We felt really good about Sanchy, the veteran he is, handling that after the
All-Star break," Snitker said.
The tone was far different in the other clubhouse. Manager David Martinez spoke
with reporters in his office rather than the standard press conference room
after meeting with his top starting pitchers.
"We had a really good conversation, I'll just say that," Martinez said. "It was
addressed. Look, they're very competitive. Everyone is. I'm glad we talked.
It's over. Let's move forward. These guys are professionals. They're good."
Matt Adams, Trea Turner and Juan Soto homered for the Nationals, who hosted the
All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Strasburg went on the DL on June 10 with right shoulder inflammation. He landed
in trouble quickly in his return as the Braves scored two in the first inning.
Albies' knocked in the Braves' first run with a double, stole third and
shrewdly came home on Freddie Freeman's groundout as third baseman Anthony
Rendon's wide throw forced Adams to reach at first base.
Culberson, who would later homer, pinch-hit for Albies in the third. The
21-year-old Albies entered Friday leading the National League in several
offensive categories, including runs, extra-base hits and total bases.
Adams' 16th home run of the season tied the score at 2 in the third, but
Atlanta countered with a single run in the fourth. Freeman's two-run double
highlighted a three-run fifth that put the Braves up 6-2 and ended Strasburg's
outing. He struck out six and threw 98 pitches.
Nationals catcher Matt Wieters said he believed Strasburg's command wasn't
quite right but the stuff was. Upon a reporter relaying hearing Wieters'
thoughts, a curt Strasburg said, "Yeah, pretty much."
Adam Eaton scored the Nationals' first run by stealing home in the first. Bryce
Harper, on the front-end of the double steal that sprung Eaton, went 1 for 4 in
his first game since his dramatic win in Monday's All-Star Home Run Derby.
Braves: Snitker said he is leaning toward starting LHP Max Fried on Tuesday
against Miami. Fried (middle finger blister), has been on the DL since July 6.
He pitched 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett on Wednesday.
Nationals: The Nationals also activated first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (strained
right oblique) from the 60-day DL. He entered as a pinch-hitter and grounded
out to end the sixth. ... Closer Sean Doolittle (left toe inflammation) threw
off the mound Friday for the first time since July 7.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (8-5, 3.51) is 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA in two previous
starts this season against the Nationals.
Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.72) has dropped four consecutive decisions
since a win at Baltimore on May 28.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball