Strasburgless Nationals Shut Out Braves, 3-0

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The Strasburg-less Nationals Win 3-0 Against The Braves

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Miguel Batista, thrust into emergency duty after the late scratch to phenomStephen Strasburg, hurled five scoreless frames as Washington downed Atlanta, 3-0, in the first of three games at Nationals Park.

Strasburg was a late scratch because he could not get loose during his bullpen session, putting Batista on the spot in front of a home crowd geared up to see the young hurler. Strasburg tugged at his right arm during his warm-up, constantly talking to trainers. He underwent an x-ray and MRI, both which showed no structural damage. The diagnosis was inflammation in the right shoulder, and the right-hander is day-to-day.

"He had instances of this as an amateur in his college days," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

Batista (1-2) shined in his absence. The right-hander scattered three hits and one walk with six strikeouts. The Nationals bullpen followed with four solid frames and Matt Capps picked up his 25th save as the club snapped a three-game losing streak.

"Miguel has been a staff saver for us," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "And tonight he was more thant that. He was outstanding."

Ian Desmond finished 2-for-3 with two RBI in the victory.

Tommy Hanson (8-7) was the hard-luck loser, surrendering three runs -- one earned -- on six hits with eight strikeouts over six frames. The Braves have dropped three of four. Eric Hinske was 2-for-4 in defeat.

"We didn't have many chances," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.

The Nationals broke in front thanks to speed in the home half of the first frame. Nyjer Morgan chopped a single to center, stole second then swiped third and raced home when Brian McCann's throw to third sailed high and wide right into left field.

Washington kept the pressure on and took advantage of another Braves miscue in the second. Roger Bernadina singled and raced around to third when Chipper Jones threw Ivan Rodriguez's grounder well wide of second base for an error. Desmond then drove both runners home with a single to center.

The Braves had a runner on second and one out in the fifth but failed to score, then put the leadoff man on base in the sixth, but McCann grounded into a double play in front of Hinske's double. He was stranded when Troy Glaus struck out swinging.

Washington has won four of seven meetings with Atlanta this season...Hanson fell to 1-4 in his last five decisions...Hinske now has 18 doubles on the season...The Braves went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position...Ryan Zimmerman clubbed his 22nd double of the season for the Nationals...Batista started for the first time since August 25, 2008 with Seattle.


Stephen Strasburg And Jason Heyward Face Off As Nats Host The Braves

(Sports Network) - The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg hasn't faced many hiccups since reaching the majors, but the 22-year-old phenom wasn't at the top of his game when he first faced the Braves.

Strasburg will look for better results tonight than that June outing in tonight's opener of a three-game series at Nationals Park versus the Atlanta Braves, who are coming off their first series loss to a National League club in almost three months.

The right-handed Strasburg is 5-2 with a 2.32 earned run average this season, but one of those losses came in Atlanta on June 28. Facing the NL East rivals for the first time, Strasburg gave up a career-high four runs, three of them earned, over 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts, leaving Braves manager Bobby Cox impressed.

"He's as advertised," Cox told Atlanta's website after the game. "He's dynamite. He's something really good for the game of baseball, something that special. He's got maybe the best changeup for a first-year player that I've ever seen. Everybody talks about his fastball, but his changeup goes straight down at 90 or 91 mph. It looks like some of the guys' best heaters going straight down."

The top pick of the 2009 draft, Strasburg has won three straight starts and is coming off Wednesday's victory over the Reds. He allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven to give him 75 through his first 54 1/3 innings. Strasburg also failed to reach seven innings pitched for a sixth start in a row.

Strasburg and 20-year-old Braves rookie Jason Heyward figure to engage in many battles over the course of their careers, but Heyward missed that first meeting due to injury. The outfielder comes into this game hitting .276 with 11 homers and 48 RBI, and is batting .486 over a nine-game hit streak.

Heyward had a pair of hits in Sunday's l5-4 loss to the Marlins, including a single with one out in the top of the 11th inning that loaded the bases. However, Nate McLouth hit into a double play and the Marlins won it in the bottom of the frame on Wes Helms' RBI single off Jesse Chavez.

Atlanta has lost six of 11 since going 17-8 from June 12-July 12 and the division leaders dropped their first set to an NL team since losing two of three to the Phillies on May 7-9. The club had been 12-0-4 in series versus the NL since.

The Braves' last series loss of any kind came in Chicago, where they were swept in three games by the White Sox from June 22-24.

"It's never good to drop a series, especially when they're within the division," Chipper Jones told Atlanta's website. "But we played well. A bounce here, a bounce there, we sweep the series. If we keep playing solid baseball, we're going to win a ton of games."

Atlanta will try to rebound behind a young gun of its own in 23-year-old Tommy Hanson, who is 0-1 with a 3.71 ERA over his last three starts and just 1-3 in his last four decisions.

Hanson did not factor into the decision of Wednesday's game versus the Padres, allowing two runs on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. On the season, the 23-year- old is 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA.

Hanson is 2-0 with a 2.94 ERA in five career starts versus the Nationals, but he did get a no-decision in Washington on May 5 after allowing four runs and nine hits over six frames of work.

He'll look to stay unbeaten against a Nats club that was swept in three games over the weekend by the Brewers and has lost seven of its last nine. Washington committed a pair of errors in Sunday's 8-3 loss, leading to five unearned runs allowed by losing starter Ross Detwiler.

"We did not have a good day defensively today," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "We certainly didn't get it done today, but Detwiler has to pitch around [the errors]. I thought he did a good job and minimized the damage. We're just having growing pains."

Adam Dunn had two hits and an RBI as his name continues to surface in trade rumors leading up to Saturday's non-waiver trade deadline. The slugging first baseman is hitting .281 with 23 homers and 63 RBI on the season, but has gone deep just once in his last 12 games while hitting .250 (10-for-40) in that span.

The Braves and Nationals have split six meetings so far this year, with Atlanta taking two of three at home in late June.

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