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Nationals hand Braves first ever loss at new SunTrust Park

Nationals hand Braves first ever loss at new SunTrust Park

Max Scherzer pitched two-hit ball over seven scoreless innings and the Washington Nationals handed Atlanta its first loss at SunTrust Park, escaping a major jam in the ninth to beat the Braves 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Atlanta scored a run against Nationals closer Blake Treinen and had the bases loaded with one out. But Shawn Kelley came on for his first save, getting Emilio Bonifacio to fly out to short right field and striking out Chase d'Arnaud -- twice, actually -- to end the game.

D'Arnaud clearly missed a pitch in the dirt, but the umpires gave him a second chance by inexplicably ruling it a foul tip. D'Arnaud made it a moot point, swinging and missing again.

Scherzer (2-1) got an inning-ending double play to work around his only serious trouble in the fourth. The 2016 NL Cy Young Award winner allowed only one other runner as far as second base, finishing with seven strikeouts.

Mike Foltynewicz (0-2) ended up on the short end of the pitching duel. He went seven innings, allowing five hits and a pair of runs.

Washington's Adam Eaton kept up the hot start for his new team with an RBI single.

Sparked by the debut of their new suburban stadium, the Braves swept San Diego in a four-game series and came in having won five straight overall, getting back to .500 after a 1-6 start.

But Washington has dominated its division rival over the last two-plus season, improving to 37-13 over their last 50 meetings.

Even on a balmy night for the opener of a three-game series against the defending NL East champions, the crowd of 21,834 was the smallest in five games at SunTrust Park.

The Braves had their best scoring chance against Scherzer when Freddie Freeman led off the fourth with a walk and Nick Markakis followed with a single to center.

Brandon Phillips grounded into a forceout, leaving runners at first and third for Adonis Garcia. On a 3-1 pitch, he grounded sharply to shortstop Wilmer Difo, who started an easy double play to end the inning.

Washington broke through the very next inning. Matt Wieters got it started with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and trotted home when Difo slapped a single to right. Scherzer moved the runner along with a sacrifice bunt, setting up Eaton's run-scoring hit to center.

The Nationals added an insurance run in the eighth on doubles by Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.

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Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

Nationals stage spirited rally in ninth but fall just short in series opener vs. Cubs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Wade Davis struck out batting leader Ryan Zimmerman with runners on second and third to end Washington's ninth-inning rally, and the Chicago Cubs held off the Nationals 5-4 Monday night.

In jeopardy of being shut out for the first time this season, the NL East-leading Nationals scored four times in the ninth. Their comeback began against Hector Rondon and continued when Davis entered.

MORE: CSN'S UPDATED MLB POWER RANKINGS

With Washington down 5-3, Bryce Harper's single loaded the bases with two outs. Davis threw a wild pitch that scored a run before striking out a swinging Zimmerman, who's hitting .344. The final pitch bounced, and catcher Willson Contreras zipped a low throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo to close out the victory.

Contreras hit a leadoff home run in his first career game-opening at-bat and Eddie Butler (4-2) worked five scoreless innings to keep the Cubs ahead.

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2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

2017 MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers don't lose anymore

The Dodgers are living their best life right now. 

Cody Bellinger looks like he's just going to go and hit two home runs a game for the rest of the year, Yasiel Puig is fun again and they're fresh off a 10-game win streak. Kenley Jansen went 112 batters without issuing a walk. All of this is coming, by the way, during a year when Clayton Kershaw is more Very Good than he is Great.

It's a good time to be a fan of an incredibly young and talented team in a top-5 market with a well-regarded front office that's been written a blank check. How did everyone not named the Dodgers do this week? To the rankings! 

2017 MLB POWER RANKINGS

30. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2017 Record: 24-49
Previous Ranking: 30
Last 10 Games: 3-7
Notable Performance:  Maikel Franco (.333/.419/.481 last week)

And there goes Maikel Franco, right back on the trade block. The Phillies' rebuild is starting to look a lot murkier. 

29. SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

2017 Record: 27-50
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Brandon Belt (.316/.409/.947 last week)

It's weird to see the Giants play THIS poorly. Johnny Cueto is arguably the best available starter on the trade market though, and that obviously bodes well for their future. 

28. CINCINNATI REDS

2017 Record: 29-38
Previous Ranking: 27
Last 10 Games: 1-9
Notable Performance: Joey Votto (.360/.385/.680 last week)

When you go 1-9 over the last 10 and let the Nats put an 18-spot on you, you drop a spot or two in the rankings. Them's the rules. 

27. SAN DIEGO PADRES

2017 Record: 31-44
Previous Ranking: 29
Last 10 Games: 6-4
Notable Performance: Yangervis Solarte (.364/.462/.909 last week)

In an annual July tradition, the Padres will fleece someone for one of their relievers. Brad Hand in a Dodgers uniform, anyone? 

26. DETROIT TIGERS

2017 Record: 32-42
Previous Ranking: 15
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Notable Performance: Miguel Cabrera (.400/.444/.840 last week)

The Tigers are our biggest fallers of the week. 2-8 in their last 10, including a frustrating Perfect Game bid broken up by a bunt single. Not their best week. 

SEE THE REST OF THE RANKINGS HERE