The Washington Nationals opened their series against NL East rival Atlanta on Friday night with a huge 5-4 win. The Nats squandered a four-run lead but Michael Morse came through with a huge game-winning home run in the top of the eighth. Morse took a Chad Durbin pitch the other way, clearing the right field fence to put the Nats ahead for good.
The dynamic bullpen duo of Sean Burnett and Tyler Clippard would make it hold up, getting out of a couple jams to seal the one-run victory. Chipper Jones led off the eight with a single off Burnett, but the fireballing setup man quickly retired the side with a strikeout and double play. Freddie Freeman led off the ninth with a double to the gap against Clippard, but the Washington closer hunkered down to get three fly-outs and convert his 13th save.
Ross Detwiler was solid until things went off the rails a bit in the seventh. The Braves erased a four-run deficit in one inning, with an Andrelton Simmons two-run shot doing the damage to tie it up. Detwiler finished the night giving up those four runs on just five hits, but the seventh-inning lapse would not cost him as Morse and the bullpen picked him up.
The Nats built the four-run lead early on Atlanta starter Randall Delgado. An a two-run Ian Desmond double pushed it to 3-0 in the third inning and Jesus Flores followed that up with a solo homer one inning later.
Washington will try to move to an undefeated 5-0 in Atlanta this season with Stephen Strasburg on the mound on Saturday. Mike Minor will go for the Braves.