ATLANTA — Yan Gomes hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, Jon Lester gave Washington's thin rotation a boost and the Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 5-3 on Wednesday night.
Gomes' drive to left-center off A.J. Minter (1-2) with two outs broke a 3-all tie and helped the Nationals earn their second consecutive win over the Braves after Atlanta won the opener of the four-game series.
Juan Soto's two-run homer in the fifth gave Washington a 3-1 lead. Ozzie Albies' two-run double in the seventh tied the game.
Soto had been 0 for 7 against Drew Smyly before he hit a fastball into the stands in left-center to break a 1-all tie. The drive was Soto's sixth of the season and second in two days.
Lester, starting on three days' rest, was asked by Nationals manager Dave Martinez to “just take us as long as he can go.” Lester came within one out of matching his longest start of the season as he gave up only one run on five hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
Lester's start was especially important after Washington placed right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the 10-day injured list with a neck strain before the game. Strasburg previously was on the 10-day IL from April 15 until May 21 with right shoulder inflammation.
Dansby Swanson's homer to right-center tied the game in the second.
The Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the third before Smyly struck out Gomes and Kyle Schwarber. Smyly allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Washington right-hander Tanner Rainey gave up a double to pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte to open the seventh. Rainey struck out pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and Ronald Acuña Jr. before walking Freddie Freeman.
Albies' double to the wall in right-center off Daniel Hudson (4-1) drove in Almonte and Freeman to tie the game. Hudson remained in the game to pitch a perfect eighth.
Brad Hand worked the ninth for his ninth save in 11 chances.
Trea Turner’s run-scoring single off Chris Martin in the ninth pushed the lead to two runs. Turner’s single up the middle drove in Victor Robles, who was hit by a pitch and stole second.
Nationals: Schwarber left the game after appearing to hurt his left leg on a dive for Almonte's double in the seventh. Andrew Stevenson replaced Schwarber in left field. ... RHP Erick Fedde (illness) apparently is not a candidate to take Strasburg's spot in the rotation Sunday at Philadelphia. Fedde is still scheduled make a rehab start for Class A Wilmington on Thursday and could rejoin the Washington rotation next week. ... RHP Kyle McGowin was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
Braves: RHP Edgar Santana favored his right leg leaving the field after he was hit by Josh Harrison's liner in the seventh. Santana threw out Harrison. ... OF Cristian Pache (right hamstring strain) was activated from the 10-day IL and optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Pache was hitting only .111 before the injury. “He needs to play every day,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He needs to hit.”
Nationals LHP Patrick Corbin (3-4, 6.23 ERA) starts Thursday in the finale of the four-game series.
Sticking with his season-long plan to give starters an extra day of rest when possible, Snitker has pushed back RHP Ian Anderson one day to Friday night's series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers and delayed announcing his new Thursday starter.