The Washington Nationals dropped their series opener in Atlanta on Friday night as the Braves walked off to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the ninth. It was a well-played game from start to finish that featured a pitcher's duel between the two divisional rivals. The 2-1 loss cut the Nats lead in the NL East to 7.5 games.
Atlanta starter Kris Medlen, who has been lights out throughout the second half of the season, mowed down the Nationals lineup. He had nine strikeouts through the first four innings, and finished with a career-high 13 Ks. Medlen was nearly unhittable, but Nationals rookie Bryce Harper had his number. Harper went the other way with a first pitch curveball and deposited it into the left-field bleachers. The Harper homer knotted things up at 1-1, where it would remain until ninth.
Ross Detwiler was fantastic for Washington, matching Medlen on the mound. Detwiler gave up just one earned run in six innings, striking out five and issuing just one walk. The one blemish came when Freddie Freeman battled Detwiler to lead off the bottom half of the fourth. Freeman eventually ripped a double to deep left and was brought home on an Andrelton Simmons sac fly that broke the scoreless tie.
With Sean Burnett in the game, the Braves would walk off with a bottom of the ninth rally. Simmons started the threat by getting on base via an infield single. Michael Bourn moved him to third with a single, and he came across for the winning run on a wild throw home by Ian Desmond. Tyler Pastornicky sent a dribbler to Desmond and the Nats' shortstop charged hard, but the throw went right into the ground and was well left of catcher Kurt Suzuki.
The Nationals will now try to even the series up on Saturday. Edwin Jackson will take the hill for Game 2, while the Braves will go with Tommy Hanson.