WASHINGTON (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. hit a pair of solo home runs and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 8-2 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win, moving them into a first-place tie in the NL East with the New York Mets.
Orlando Arcia also homered and Michael Harris II had a two-run triple for the Braves, who caught the Mets when they lost 6-4 at home to Miami. Both teams have seven games remaining, including a head-to-head three-game series beginning Friday in Atlanta.
With the win, the Braves (97-58) are guaranteed the No. 2 playoff seed in the National League if they finish ahead of the Mets.
Victor Robles homered and Luke Voit had two doubles for the last-place Nationals (53-101).
Kyle Muller, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to start for the Braves, allowed two runs in 4 2/3 innings. Collin McHugh (3-2) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.
Paolo Espino (0-8) retired the first 10 Braves batters before giving up four runs and five hits.
Harris tied the score 2-all with a two-run triple in the fourth.
With two outs in the fifth, Arcia’s fly ball just cleared the wall in left for his second homer in two games. Acuña followed with a line drive down the left-field line to make it 4-2.
Harris started a two-out rally in the sixth with an infield single. He was initially called out at first base, but Atlanta challenged and it was overturned. William Contreras singled and Eddie Rosario smacked a two-run double off the wall in center.
Acuña’s second home run of the night and 15th of the season made it 7-2 in the seventh.
Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (elbow inflammation) had his fourth rehab outing at Triple-A Rochester on Monday night, pitching 3 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on six hits. He will throw a bullpen in Washington this week.
Braves: RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 4.61 ERA) is 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in four starts since his last win. He has never faced the Nationals.
Nationals: RHP Josiah Gray (7-10, 5.17) threw five scoreless innings while allowing one hit in his only other 2022 start against the Braves on April 13 in Atlanta.