(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves won't have newly-acquired first baseman Derrek Lee in the lineup this afternoon, but will still try to complete a three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals at Turner Field.
Lee, who was hitting .251 with 16 homers and 56 runs batted in for the Chicago Cubs, was acquired by the Braves on Wednesday for three pitching prospects. However, he has been battling back problems of late and had to waive his no- trade clause for the deal to go through.
"It just felt right," said Lee, who had turned down a deal that would have sent him to Anaheim earlier in the year. "The main thing, though, is that we have six weeks to go. Atlanta is in first place. They're playing great baseball. The chance to go to the postseason -- it's hard to pass up."
The Braves did not need Lee on Wednesday, as Jason Heyward's line drive base hit up the middle plated Rick Ankiel with the game-winning run in the ninth, giving Atlanta a dramatic 3-2 victory.
In Atlanta's final at-bat, Ankiel posted a one-out single off Sean Burnett (0-7) and moved to second when Tyler Clippard walked David Ross. Clippard struck out Omar Infante for the second out but fell behind 3-0 to Heyward, who had the green light and ripped a single past a diving Ian Desmond at short to secure the Braves' 21st victory in their final at-bat.
"I was really surprised [Heyward swung at a 3-0 pitch]," Clippard said. "But then again you have to tip your cap because he got a base hit."
Billy Wagner (7-2) struck out the side in the top of the ninth to get credit for the win, the club's seventh in eight games to remain 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies atop the NL East Division.
Neither starter factored in the decision despite each allowing only two runs in seven innings of work. Atlanta'sTim Hudson, attempting to win a sixth straight start, gave up eight hits and two walks, while Livan Hernandezscattered nine hits and a pair of bases on balls for Washington.
"Hudson had another great night," Heyward said. "We did a great job of finding a way to get a couple of runs to tie it up...and we figured out a way to get another run across."
Heading to the hill for the Braves today will be veteran Derek Lowe, who is 11-10 on the year with a 4.29 ERA. Lowe lost for the second time in his last three decisions on Saturday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite a solid effort that saw him surrender a run and 10 hits in six innings.
Lowe lost to the Nats the last time he faced them and is 6-6 lifetime against them with a 4.04 ERA in 20 games, 14 of which were starts.
Washington, meanwhile, will be trying to avoid the sweep with righty John Lannan on the hill seeking his third straight win since a minor league stint. Lannan beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, holding them to a pair of runs and four hits in seven innings, upping his season mark to 4-5, while lowering his ERA to 5.23.
Lannan has faced the Braves eight times and is 3-4 against them with a 3.44 ERA.
Atlanta has won six of its 11 meetings with the Nats this season.