WASHINGTON (AP) — As the entire stadium erupted around him, Anthony Rendon put his head down for another routine trip around the bases.
The notoriously even-keeled Rendon hit a tiebreaking grand slam in the sixth inning, and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series to close within 4¢ games of the NL East leader.
“Hit it far and loud,” manager Dave Martinez said. “It was clutch.”
With the score 2-2, Rendon connected off of Chad Sobotka for his 23rd home run this season and third career slam, raising his career RBIs total to 500. Rendon, who had two hits, is hitting .370 in his last 19 games with nine doubles, three homers and 20 RBIs.
“I wanted to be ready for the fastball, be on time, just see something over the middle of the plate,” the soft-spoken Rendon said.
Patrick Corbin (9-5) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, striking out eight and walking one. Sean Doolittle gave up a home run to pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson in the ninth.
Dallas Keuchel (3-4) gave up four runs, six hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings, dropping to 0-3 with a 5.08 in five starts against Washington.
Making his eighth start for the Braves since signing in June, he is 0-2 in three outings since winning at San Diego on July 12.
“Very disappointing. That’s about it,” said Keuchel, who expressed frustration with umpire Adam Hamari’s strike zone. “I thought I punched out about 10 guys. I got rewarded with extra at-bats. That’s where that lies.”
Juan Soto singled home a run in the first and Trea Turner hit an RBI double in the second.
The 20-year-old Soto also made a leaping catch at the left-field wall in the sixth to deny Adam Duvall a possible two-run homer.
Atlanta scored in the fourth when Duvall hit a sharp two-out grounder to Rendon. The third baseman made a diving backhand stop, but his throw attempting to prevent an infield single sailed past first for an error and Freddie Freeman, who had been on second, came home.
“I don’t know how you airmail that ball,” Rendon said. “I had a lot of juice on that. Statcast that.”
Duvall hit a tying sacrifice fly in the sixth that Soto grabbed at the wall.
Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. went 0 for 4, ending his on-base streak at a career-best 32 games. Acuna stretched and reached to the grass to rob Adam Eaton of a hit in the second with Turner on second.
Josh Donaldson singled off the glove of second baseman Brian Dozier in the sixth for his 1,000th hit.
Rockies 9, Dodgers 1
DENVER — Jon Gray allowed three hits over eight innings to win for the first time in a month, and Colorado beat Los Angeles for its third win in 11 games this season against the NL champions.
Nolan Arenado had a two-run single in a five-run fifth inning, David Dahl hit a two-run homer in the eighth, and Ian Desmond finished a home run short of the cycle.
Gray (10-7) allowed one run, struck out six and walked three. Wade Davis finished the four-hitter.
Kenta Maeda (7-8) allowed six runs and seven hits in four-plus innings for the Dodgers.
Reds 11, Pirates 6
CINCINNATI — Jose Iglesias’ grand slam completed Cincinnati’s 10-run second inning in a win over Pittsburgh.
Before the game, the Pirates traded scheduled starter Jordan Lyles to the Brewers.
The last-place Pirates lost their ninth straight, their longest skid since they dropped 10 in a row in 2011.
The Reds piled up six hits and three walks while sending 13 batters to the plate. Joey Votto singled home a pair of runs, first baseman Josh Bell had a throwing error, and Iglesias’ second career grand slam off Montana DuRapau made it 10-1. Every Reds player scored in the inning.
Sonny Gray (6-6) gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings, including Starling Marte’s 18th homer and Bryan Reynolds’ ninth. Colin Moran hit his third career grand slam off Wandy Peralta.
Marlins 11, Diamondbacks 6
MIAMI — Caleb Smith endured a bad stretch after a baserunning adventure and recovered to pitch seven innings as Miami beat Arizona.
Smith laid down a bunt in the second inning and wound up at third base thanks to two errors on the play. The jaunt may have taken a toll, because in the next inning he gave up three hits, including a three-run homer by Ketel Marte.
Smith (7-4) allowed only one other run, struck out nine and retired his final 10 batters.
The Marlins, who won three of four games from Arizona, improved to 10-9-1 in their past 20 series. They started the year 1-10-3.
Miami’s Miguel Rojas homered for the third game in a row, increasing his season total to four. Teammate Brian Anderson added his 15th homer. Both homers came off Merrill Kelly (7-11), who allowed seven runs in six innings. He has lost his past five decisions, and his ERA has climbed to 4.52.
Carson Kelly hit his 13th homer for Arizona.
Blue Jays 7, Royals 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Cavan Biggio hit the go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, Randal Grichuk and Teoscar Hernandez also went deep, and Toronto rallied past Kansas City.
Top prospect Bo Bichette singled in the first at-bat of his big league career, and the Blue Jays got a strong spot start from Thomas Pannone in the opener of a 10-game trip.
Tim Mayza (1-1) earned the victory with a scoreless inning of relief.
Brad Keller (7-10) let just three balls out of the infield until Hernandez’s tying home run in the fifth inning. He went on to allow three homers in a game for the first time in his career, and four runs total in seven-plus innings.
Tigers 7, Angels 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jordan Zimmermann got his first win in 18 starts dating to last season and Detroit beat Los Angeles.
Zimmermann (1-8) allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings to get his first victory since Sept. 5, 2018.
Miguel Cabrera homered and drove in three, and Jordy Mercer also connected.
Kole Calhoun homered for the Angels, who dropped to 1-4 during their seven-game homestand. Jaime Barria (4-4) gave up three runs, two earned, in five innings.
Padres 8, Orioles 1
SAN DIEGO — Rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. and Franmil Reyes homered on David Hess’ first two pitches, and Eric Hosmer connected twice and drove in five runs San Diego’s win over Baltimore.
Luis Urias also went deep for the Padres, who hit four homers off Hess and five overall. The long balls carried rookie Chris Paddack (7-5) to his second victory in three starts.
It was the first time that the Padres homered on the first two pitches they saw.
Paddack held the Orioles to one run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Hess (1-10) allowed five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked none.