Washington Nationals' Lane Thomas (28) celebrates in the dugout after...

Washington Nationals' Lane Thomas (28) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against theAtlanta Braves, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Atlanta. Credit: AP/Brynn Anderson

ATLANTA — Lane Thomas hit a three-run home run and the Washington Nationals beat Atlanta 7-2 on Wednesday night to spoil Braves right-hander Spencer Schwellenbach's major league debut.

Schwellenbach (0-1), who had never pitched above Double-A, lasted five innings, giving up three runs and five hits with five strikeouts, one walk and a hit batter.

After a leadoff double in the fifth, Schwellenbach hit Jacob Young in the head with a fastball when the No. 9 hitter squared to bunt. Young fell, face-down at the plate and Schwellenbach immediately put both hands on his head and walked toward home plate.

“I felt bad for (Young), I felt bad for (Schwellenbach),” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “He didn’t want to do that, but it looks like it came out OK.”

Young was down for a minute, but stayed in the game. Two batters later, Thomas homered to give Washington a 3-1 lead. One inning later, Young laced a two-out, two-run single to push the lead to 5-2. Kelbert Ruiz capped the Nationals’ scoring with a two-run single in the ninth that a sliding Michael Harris could not quite come up with.

“That was scary for sure,” Schwellenbach said. "Obviously, very happy that he stayed in the game and that nothing was wrong with him. (Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz) came out and talked to me, just kind of got me settled down and it helped for sure. I was able to get back out there and keep going.”

MacKenzie Gore (4-4) picked up the win for the Nats, who have taken two of the first three games in the four-game series. Gore pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on six hits. He had 10 strikeouts and no walks.

Washington Nationals' Lane Thomas (28) celebrates in the dugout after...

Washington Nationals' Lane Thomas (28) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against theAtlanta Braves, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Atlanta. Credit: AP/Brynn Anderson

“I thought my offspeed was good and we had a good game plan and executed it and got some strikeouts,” Gore said.

Thomas was 3 for 4 with three RBIs and two steals and two runs, and Young was 1 for 2 with two RBIs. Ruiz was 2 for 5 with two RBIs, and Joey Gallo had two hits. The Nationals tied a season high with five stolen bases.

Dylan Floro, Robert Garcia, Hunter Henry and Jordan Weems did not allow a run out of the bullpen over 3 2/3 innings. Nationals pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.

The Nats stranded four runners in the first four innings before Thomas' home run.

Washington Nationals' Lane Thomas (28) hits a double the third...

Washington Nationals' Lane Thomas (28) hits a double the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Wednesday, May 29, 2024, in Atlanta. Credit: AP/Brynn Anderson

“We kept saying, we have traffic, someone is getting ready to drive in a run,” Martinez said. “It was a big one for us. After that, it seemed everyone opened up and had good at-bats.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: Third baseman Nick Senzel left the game in the second inning after taking a foul ball off his right knee. Senzel finished the at-bat and walked, but while at first base, called time and exited the game. Ildemaro Vargas pinch ran and stayed in the game at third base. Martinez said he should have a chance to play Thursday.

MOVES

Braves: To make room for Schwellenbach, the Braves sent RHP Jimmy Herget to Triple-A Gwinnett. He pitched three scoreless innings in two appearances over the last week.

UP NEXT

Braves LHP Ray Kerr (1-1, 5.40) was set to start the series finale Thursday night against Nationals RHP Trevor Williams (4-0, 2.29).

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