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Washington Nationals' left-handers John Lannan and Ross Detwiler came up big against the Atlanta Braves this weekend, offering a glimpse of what they have to offer for the stretch run.
The Washington Nationals were able to salvage a series split with the Atlanta Braves after a 9-2 win on Sunday with an offensive onslaught that included 18 hits.
Led by a two home run performance from Ryan Zimmerman and a solid start from Ross Detwiler, the Nationals were able to retain their position as best team in the National League. Detwiler went seven innings, allowing one earned run while striking out three.
The Nationals got to Braves starter Jair Jurrjens, scoring four runs in the first inning and two in the third. Jurrjens was knocked out after just 2.1 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits.
The offensive show included great performances from Zimmerman and Michael Morse who both went 3-for-5 on the afternoon, while Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa went 3-for-4. Every Nationals starter had at least one hit on the day.
The Washington Nationals went the first 13 innings Saturday without a run. They were shut out in a 4-0 loss in the opener of a doubleheader at home against the Atlanta Braves, and they continued that scoreless streak through the first four innings of game two. But after tacking on seven hits and five runs over the final five innings, the Nats grabbed a 5-2 win to snap a three-game losing skid and maintain a 2.5-game lead over Atlanta in the N.L. East.
Starting pitcher John Lannan was credited with the win after lasting seven innings and giving up two runs.
All five of the Nats' runs came between the fifth and eighth innings. They took the lead for good in the seventh when a single from Roger Bernadina drove in catcher Sandy Leon to give them a 3-2 edge they wouldn't surrender.
Closer Tyler Clippard came on for the ninth inning to record the save.
The final game of the four-game series is scheduled for Sunday at Nationals Park at 1:35 p.m. EST.
Earlier Saturday, the Washington Nationals collected just six hits in a 4-0 home loss to the Atlanta Baves. Through five innings of the team's second contest of the day, those hitting woes have carried over. Nonetheless, the Nats trail just, 2-1.
Starting pitcher John Lannan has, though, kept Washington close. The left-hander from Long Beach, N.Y. has given up just five hits and two runs through five innings of work. But the Nats' offense has struggled to keep pace with three hits and no extra base hits.
The Nats' sole run came in the fifth inning when Danny Espinosa scored off a wild pitch/
The Washington Nationals will be looking to rebound this evening after being shut out 4-0 in the first game of their double-header this afternoon at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.
The starters for each time have been announced for the nightcap, so first, the Nationals lineup courtesy of the Twitter feed of Amanda Comak, Nationals beat writer for the Washington Times:
#nats lineup for G2: Lombardozzi LF, Bernadina CF, Zimmerman 3B, Morse RF, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Espinosa 2B, Leon C, Lannan P— Amanda Comak (@acomak) July 21, 2012
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was scratched from the lineup after injuring his left ankle in the afternoon game during his at-bat in the first inning. He's been officially diagnosed as having a contusion.
And now the starters for the Atlanta Braves, courtesy of the teams official Twitter feed:
Tonight's Game 2 lineup at WSH (7:05, PTV/680AM/BRN): Bourn 8 Prado 7 Heyward 9 Jones 5 Freeman 3 Uggla 4 Ross 2 Janish 6 Delgado 1— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 21, 2012
First pitch for the second game of the double-header will be at 7:05 p.m. ET.
According a report from the Washington Post, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will be questionable for the second game of the Saturday double-header with the Atlanta Braves. Harper injured himself in the first inning after fouling a ball off of the inside of his left ankle.
Harper finished the at-bat and stayed in the game before being removed in the top of the third inning. Thankfully, the injury was nothing too serious but it could keep him out in the evening's finale:
An MRI on Harper's ankle showed that there was no break and he's been diagnosed with a contusion. Harper, batting against Braves right-hander Ben Sheets, squared to bunt the 0-1 offering and fouled an 89-mph fastball into the inside of his left ankle/foot.
The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves played the first of their two games on Saturday and the visitors from Atlanta shout out the Nats by a final of 4-0.
Washington's bats were nowhere to be found on Saturday afternoon as they registered just six hits on the afternoon while going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position while leaving six men on base. Nats outfielder, Roger Bernadina is the only Washington player that had more than one hit in the ballgame as he connected on two.
Pitcher Edwin Jackson had a strong showing on the mound for Washington, but it was all for naught as he couldn't get any run support. Jackson pitched seven strong innings giving up five hits and just one earned run while striking out nine Atlanta batters.
According to the Twitter feed of Nationals beat reporter for the Examiner, Brian McNally, Harper injured himself while at the plate and fouling a ball off his foot:
Uh oh. Bryce Harper is out of the game. Fouled a ball off his foot earlier and Roger Bernadina now in CF.— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) July 21, 2012
About 30 mins later, McNally gave an official status report from the Nationals on the extent of Harper's injury:
"Sore left ankle" is how the #Nats describe Bryce Harper's injury. Precautionary removal from the game. He was limping around pretty good— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) July 21, 2012
The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves will play a double-header on Saturday at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Both teams have announced the lineups for the afternoon game via their official Twitter feeds.
First, the lineups for the Washington Nationals:
#Nats Game 1 Lineup: Lombo LF, Harper CF, Zim 3B, Morse RF, LaRoche 1B, Desmond SS, Espinosa 2B, Flores C, Jackson RHP— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 21, 2012
And now the lineups for the visiting Atlanta Braves:
Today's Game 1 lineup at WSH (1:05, PTV/680AM/BRN): Bourn 8 Prado 7 Heyward 9 Freeman 3 McCann 2 Uggla 4 Francisco 5 Janish 6 Sheets 1— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) July 21, 2012
The first pitch of the afternoon game will be at 1:05 p.m. ET.
The Washington Nationals found themselves on the wrong side of a thrilling 11-10 comeback victory on Friday night at Nationals Park. The Nats have lost their last two outings and will be looking to get back on the winning track on Saturday afternoon in what will be a double-header between the top two teams in NL East.
Edwin Jackson will get the start on the mound for Washington in the afternoon set. Jackson is 5-5 on the season with a 3.89 ERA and is 4-4 in his last 10 starts.
Also worth noting, Ian Desmond will play his second consecutive game after returning to the lineup on Friday night after sitting out five consecutive games with strained left oblique.
In the nightcap for Washington, pitcher John Lannan will make his season debut.
First pitch of the afternoon game will be at 1:05 p.m. ET and first pitch of the finale will be at 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Washington Nationals suffered their worst loss of the season on Friday night, squandering a nine-run lead against the second-place Braves at a rain soaked Nats park. Washington jumped out to a 9-0 lead but as the rain started to come down, the Braves offense would warm up and chip away against a wild Nationals bullpen. After a back-and-forth ninth inning, Atlanta would score in the 11th to seal a miraculous 11-10 comeback win.
After chasing Stephen Strasburg and making things interesting with a four-run rally in the sixth, the Braves cut the once nine-run deficit to just one with another four-run rally in the eighth. Relievers Drew Storen and Sean Burnett failed to get the job done by doing the one thing you need to avoid while trying to maintain a comfortable lead -- walking the opposing hitters and giving them hope. Storen was making just his second appearance of the season and he lasted only two batters -- a Dan Uggla single that led off the inning and a Paul Janish walk which led to Davey Johnson making the call for Burnett.
Burnett came on and immediately struck out the first two batters he faced. But it quickly went downhill from there. The hard-throwing lefty issued back-to-back walks to Martin Prado and Jason Heyward, the latter a bases-loaded free pass which scored the first run of the inning. Chipper Jones flipped his bat at a Burnett offering that resulted in a softly lined single to left, scoring Janish and Prado to make it 9-7. Freddie Freeman followed that with another single to score Jason Heyward. The rally would end there with Jones stranded on second and the Braves one run short of a miraculous nine-run comeback.
But the Washington bullpen woes were not over. Tyler Clippard has certainly had some issues at the start of the second half and he was wild again on Friday. Clippard issued a leadoff walk to Dan Uggla to put the tying run aboard. Uggla then took second on another pitch from Clippard that was not close and went to backstop. Washington's closer could still not find the zone but instead of sending one to the screen, he hit Janish to put runners at the corners. With one out, Michael Bourn took advantage and completed the nine-run comeback with a triple off the very top of the wall in right-center. The ricochet off the wall allowed Janish to score from first, sliding headfirst just under the tag for the 10-9 lead.
The 10 unanswered runs appeared to be in good hands with the game's best closer, Craig Kimbrel, on the mound. But after Kimbrel blew away Ian Desmond to start the bottom of the ninth, Danny Espinosa stepped in and took a heater the other way into the bullpen to keep the Nats alive and send it to extra innings.
The Braves would not waste the comeback again though, re-taking the lead two innings later in the top of the 11th. It was Uggla once again providing the spark. The Braves second baseman sent a bouncer in the hole to the right side. Ryan Zimmerman snared it but as he twirled around, he threw it well wide of first, allowing Uggla to move to second. He then took third on a pitch that got away from Sandy Leon. The final, decisive winning run would cross on Janish blooper to shallow center that Desmond could not grab over his shoulder. Uggla raced home to make it 11-10.
Washington was unable to answer with another comeback in the bottom of the 11th, as Chad Durbin sent the Nats down in order to clinch it. After an exhausting and wild game that lasted more than four hours and twenty minutes, both teams now come back for a doubleheader on Saturday. Atlanta is 2.5 games back and will give the ball to the newly acquired Ben Sheets in the first game. Edwin Jackson will go for the Nationals.
The Washington Nationals burst out to a promising start to their huge four-game series with the Braves on Friday night. The Nats' offense hammered Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson for eight runs in just four innings of work. With a doubleheader on the docket for Saturday, chasing Hanson early on could be a crucial turning point right at the start of the series.
Most of the damage came via the longball with Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman each launching three-run homers. Morse slammed his in the bottom of the first, taking a Hanson offering over the right field wall with Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche on base. Zimmerman then blew things open with a pulled shot to left in the bottom of the fourth to make it 6-0. With a full count, Hanson continued to try to erase the Nats third baseman with a curve ball before finally trying to pound him inside with a fastball. But Zimmerman brought his hands in and managed to get a hold of it and send it into the bleachers.
The Nats would add three more just one inning later to chase Hanson and make it 9-0. Michael Morse and Ian Desmond led off the inning with back-to-back singles, forcing Atlanta to make the call to the bullpen for Luis Avilan. The Braves' reliever loaded things up with a walk to Jesus Flores and then compounded the ugliness with a bases-loaded walk to Stephen Strasburg. Stephen Lombardozzi then added to the rout by stepping into the box and promptly singling to right to push the lead to nine. Hanson was credited with eight of the nine runs.
The NL East's second place team would not go quietly, however, responding with four runs in the next half inning to at least make things interesting. The rally forced Davey Johnson to pull Stephen Strasburg with one out in the sixth. Brian McCann smacked a two-run homer to right to end the shutout and the Braves bats continued against Strasburg. An Eric Hinskie double high off the centerfield wall knocked him out of the game and brought on Mike Gonzalez. Martin Prado doubled home two more to make it 9-4, with the Nationals' starter on the hook for the final two runs as well. He gave up eight hits and three walks in just 5.1 innings. With the rain coming down at Nationals Park, it was a no-brainer to get him out of the game.
Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has been dealing with an oblique issue for the last week or so, but it appears that he is ready to go in Friday's game against the Atlanta Braves. Desmond, who is hitting .289 with 51 RBIs provides an offensive spark to this team that few other players can hope to duplicate
The rest of the Nationals' lineup is as follows.
#Nationals lineup vs. ATL - Lombardozzi 7, Harper 8, Zimmerman 5, LaRoche 3, Morse 9, Desmond 6, Espinosa 4, Flores 2, Strasburg 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) July 20, 2012
The game is scheduled for a 7:05 start time from Nationals Park. The game will be televised on MLB Network and MASN and radio coverage will be provided by 106.7 The Fan FM and 1500 WFED AM.
A crucial four-game series over the weekend will go a long ways to determine which team has the edge in the NL East standings as August rapidly approaches.
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