By Sam Bush

The Nats won a game.

Let us rejoice.

But they are 13-24 after barely splitting a doubleheader with the Atlanta Braves, who used a position player to finish the top of the seventh inning in Game 2 despite being down just three runs.

The night included 303 pitches thrown during a 3:12-minute, seven-inning game.

But they scratched out a 10-9 victory, snapping an eight-game losing streak, moving to within 9 ½ games of Atlanta in the National League Eas.

Wil Crowe pitched in the evening. He lasted 2 ⅓ innings and walked four. Austin Voth pitched in the afternoon. He made it through 4 ⅔ innings and allowed five runs. Washington torched its bullpen the opening night of a four-game series with the second-best team in the National League. Saturday and Sunday will be laborious. Two more home games follow. Then, a touch of mercy with a day off.

In between, the Nationals will be monitoring Juan Soto. He was a late scratch before Game 1 and sat out Game 2 because of left elbow soreness. Davey Martinez said nothing acute happened to Soto. Rather, he came in Friday and told athletic trainer Paul Lessard his elbow was sore. An MRI exam didn’t reveal damage beyond the existing inflammation and accompanying stiffness. Soto’s elbow was iced, then placed in a sleeve, and he is about to receive at least the rest of the weekend off.

As for the team’s overall status following a 7-1 loss and 10-9 win, it is in dire straits. Their best player is now injured. Only 23 games remain. They are five games out of a postseason spot, which is most likely to go to a team with around a .500 record. To get to 30-30, the Nationals would have to finish 17-6. Their chances to do so are slim. There’s little evidence they won’t eventually get down to none.

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