WASHINGTON — The reigning World Series champions are at the bottom of their division, sporting one of the worst winning percentages in the National League and running out of hope for making the playoffs with less than three weeks remaining in Major League Baseball's shortened season.
In other words, the Washington Nationals are much more concerned with how often they win than how they win.
Michael A. Taylor's RBI single in the 12th inning led the Nationals to an 8-7 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, with Washington winning despite blowing a five-run lead for the second straight game.
Kyle Finnegan and James Borque (1-0) worked out of bases-loaded jams in the 11th and 12th innings, respectively, and the Braves couldn't score in three extra frames with a runner starting at second base.
"A win is a win is a win, and when you battle like we did tonight, it was good to come out on top," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said.
Adam Eaton began the 12th on second base for Washington and advanced to third on Trea Turner's lineout. Juan Soto was walked intentionally before Grant Dayton (2-1) allowed Taylor's single.
It was the longest game of the season by innings for both teams. Washington jumped out to a 5-0 lead, just like it did Thursday before Atlanta rallied to win 7-6.
This time, the Braves tied it at 7 by scoring three runs in the ninth with two outs against Daniel Hudson, who blew a save for the fourth time this season.
Atlanta, which sits atop the NL East as it guns for a third straight division title, left 22 runners on base in the game.
"It's not even a small village, it's a small state we left," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Juan Soto drove in three runs for Washington, which has won five of its past seven games.
Soto hit a two-run double in the first, and the Nationals led 3-0 before Atlanta starter Josh Tomlin recorded an out. His RBI single in the third gave Washington a 5-0 lead.
The Braves lost Ronald Acuña Jr. in the fourth when he fouled a ball off his left foot. The team said X-rays showed no fracture for the star slugger and outfielder who has already missed considerable time due to injuries this year. Ender Inciarte replaced Acuña in center field.
"They told me it hit a nerve or something," Snitker said. "When he did it, he couldn't stand on it. When he got upstairs, X-rays were good. It's a heck of a lot better than when it happened. I'm hoping he'll be able to play. He said it wasn't bad right now."
Marcell Ozuna went 5-for-6 and drove in four runs for the Braves. He hit his team-leading 14th home run in the eighth inning and added a two-run single in the ninth.
Eric Thames and Yan Gomes homered for the Nationals, who didn't adhere to social distancing rules while celebrating the walk-off hit, sharing plenty of high-fives on the field.
"We probably broke some protocol right there," Taylor said. "You have to do the best you can."
Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle (right oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list for the second time this season. The team is awaiting results of an MRI on the 33-year-old left-hander, who was hurt after recording one out in Thursday's loss.
Doolittle had been effective since returning from his earlier stint on the IL with right knee fatigue. He allowed one unearned run in six appearances, lowing his ERA from 15.00 to 5.87.