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.