ATLANTA (AP) — Carter Kieboom, Jake Alu, Kibert Ruiz, Dominic Smith and Lane Thomas homered to help the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 10-6 on Friday night.
Washington tied a season high for homers on a night the NL East champion Braves started resting regulars to prepare for the postseason.
“Every day, they give me everything they’ve got,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “The energy is there. Coming (to Atlanta), the guys love it. They really do. The fans are great, and to beat a team like that. I know they took a few of their guys out, but they keep playing and they want to win the game.”
Jordan Weems (5-0) picked up the win with one inning of relief, and Kyle Finnegan closed out the game. The Nationals used six relievers after starter Trevor Williams gave up two runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings.
“I felt good today, bullpen did a tremendous job and the offense came to play today,” Williams said. “We’re making steps forward going into this last series against a really good ballclub.”
Ronald Acuña Jr. went 1 for 2 with a run and two steals before being pulled after two innings. He tied the Braves' steals record of 72, set by Otis Nixon in 1991. Matt Olson was lifted for a pinch runner in the third inning after getting an RBI single in the first and walking in the third.
Brad Hand (5-3) took the loss in relief of rookie Allan Winans, who gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings and surrendered three home runs. The Braves had won four straight.
Ruiz was 2 for 5 with three runs for the Nationals. Luis Garcia was 2 for 5.
Braves rookie Forrest Wall, starting in place of Michael Harris II, was 3 for 5 with a run and a steal.
Kieboom's home run was a three-run shot in the fourth inning that opened the scoring for the Nationals and gave them a 3-2 lead.
The Nationals scored three runs in the sixth inning to re-take the lead. A solo home run by Ruiz and a two-run shot by Smith gave the Nationals a 7-6 lead, and they tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning off right-hander Jesse Chavez. Thomas led off with a homer, and the Nats added two unearned runs after errors by Chavez and Nickey Lopez.
With a five-day lay-off scheduled from the end of the regular season to Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the Braves have decided to take a more intense approach to the one they took last year during the same five-day layoff before starting the postseason.
“We talked with the players and the staff and figured we would try to do something different, something more engaging,” manager Brian Snitker said.
The Braves will play intrasquad games Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with members of the Triple-A Gwinnett. The games will be at 5 p.m. and are free to the public. Fifteen thousand tickets were claimed on the Braves’ website over the first 24 hours.
“Last year, they hit, but I think playing the games and keeping their bodies ready will be a bigger thing this year and playing games and having people in the stands," Snitker said. "I think we will be surprised at how many people will show up for this thing.”
The Nationals correctly challenged an out call on a stolen base attempt in the third inning. Jacob Young was called out at second, but the call was reversed, giving the Nationals an MLB-best 75%t success rate (21 for 28) on challenges.