ATLANTA — Mike Foltynewicz outpitched Max Scherzer, Preston Tucker hit a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 7-1 on Wednesday.
Foltynewicz (1-0) allowed four hits, one run and two walks with eight strikeouts in 5 [1/3] innings. He snapped an eight-start skid during which he went 0-7 with a 7.34 ERA, ending the major leagues' second-longest active losing streak.
Scherzer (1-1) gave up six hits, two walks and five runs — two earned — in five innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out seven.
The Braves, with three straight seasons of at least 90 losses, improved to 4-2 and are two games over .500 for the first time since April 22, 2015. They earned a rare second straight win over the Nationals, having gone 20-40 in the series over the last four years.
Foltynewicz was 2-2 with a 5.63 ERA in six career starts against Washington, but he got some breaks, including a big one with his bat, to get the win.
The Nationals cut the lead to 3-1 in the second when Foltynewicz hit Pedro Severino by a pitch and let him advance to second on a wild pitch. After Severino scored on Scherzer's RBI single, Foltynewicz picked Scherzer off at first.
He benefited from a low called third strike against Severino to end the fourth with a runner at third. In the bottom half of the inning, Foltynewicz, a career .084 hitter, doubled to make it 5-1.
The Braves led 3-0 in the first when Freddie Freeman doubled, Nick Markakis reached on second baseman Wilmer Difo's fielding error and Tucker hit a three-run homer in the first for the second straight game.
Nationals slugger Bryce Harper began the day hitting .400 with four homers, nine RBIs and seven walks in the first five games. He went 0 for 3 with two walks and two strikeouts. He popped up with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Atlanta left-hander Sam Freeman faced one batter, striking out pinch hitter Ryan Zimmerman with the bases loaded to end the sixth. Freeman has no losses in 182 career appearances.
The Braves added two runs in the eighth.
Joe Torre threw out the ceremonial first pitch and joined his 1968 Braves teammates, Ralph Garr and Felix Milan, beforehand to discuss Martin Luther King Jr.'s impact on society.
Torre, a Hall of Fame manager, said he still felt deeply affected on the 50th anniversary of King's assassination. The Braves were in Savannah for an exhibition game against the Richmond Braves when word came that King was dead at 39.
"There were a lot of stunned people," Torre said. "There was a silence that was deafening. I do remember that. Somebody's life is snuffed out. It was frightening."
Torre and Garr both met King, an Atlanta native and lifelong resident, at the ballpark during their stints with the Braves.
"For such a big voice, he wasn't that tall," Garr said with a smile. "He was a little, short guy, but his voice just carried."
Garr and Milan endured racism during their career, but both were grateful that baseball, having integrated with Jackie Robinson in 1947, felt less constrictive than everyday life.
"When I came to the United States, being Latino from Puerto Rico and black, it was bad for me," Milan said. "Very bad, but thanks to my teammates, I was feeling better than I would feel in the South."
Atlanta purchased the contract of RHP Luke Jackson from Triple-A Gwinnett and designated C Chris Stewart for assignment.
Nationals: Play their first home game as RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-0) faces the New York Mets. Strasburg is 8-4 with a 2.64 ERA in 16 career starts in the series.
Braves: After an off day Thursday, they open a three-game road series with RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-0) facing Colorado. McCarthy is 0-2 with a 7.94 ERA in three career starts and one relief appearance at Coors Field.