Braves Battle Nationals But Lose Late
It was a really entertaining game on Saturday night between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and it wasn’t long before tempers flared and things boiled over from Friday night, when Bryce Harper was HBP twice. After Jason Heyward’s leadoff homer, Stephen Strasburg hit Justin Upton with a pitch. Everyone thought the 2 teams were all square, but apparently Strasburg had other plans. In the 2nd inning, Strasburg threw 3 straight wild pitches, 2 which were behind the Braves batter, Andrelton Simmons. Both teams had been warned, so both Strasburg and Davey Johnson were ejected from the game.
It was the Nationals who really jumped on Mike Minor early. Minor looked as bad as he has all season. He really had trouble with accuracy as he could not find the strike zone. The Nationals got 2 runs off Minor in the 1st inning.
As I stated earlier, Jason Heyward cut the Nationals lead in half with a lead off homer. Heyward’s 2nd lead off home run of the season cut the Nationals lead to 2-1.
The Nationals got 2 more off Minor in the 2nd inning. This time it was Jayson Werth who singled with the bases loaded. Scott Hairston and Rendon were able to both score on Werth’s single.
Strasburg’s wild pitches that I mentioned earlier, led to 1 Braves run in the 2nd inning. Jordan Schafer had moved up on the 2 previous wild pitches and was able to score on Strasburg’s 3rd straight wild pitch. The Nationals had a 4-2 lead after a crazy 2nd inning.
It looked as if the Nationals would run away with a victory on Saturday night, after they added a single run in both the 5th and 6th innings.
It seemed like Ryan Zimmerman put things away for the Nationals in the 8th inning when he homered to center. His home run increased the lead to 3 runs.
As usual, there was no quit in the Braves. Freddie Freeman started the comeback with a home run to center field. It was not enough but the Freeman home run pulled the Braves within 2 runs.
Shortly after, Rafael Soriano came in for the Nationals to close things down. It looked like he had the save in the bag, until Jason Heyward hit his 2nd homerun of the night. Phil Gosselin was on base running for Evan Gattis, so the Heyward homer tied things up at 7.
5 ½ hours, 5 homeruns, 15 innings, and 18 pitchers later, the game finally ended after Adam LaRoche hit a high fly ball that cleared the wall in right field. LaRoche’s homerun came off Braves starter, Kris Medlen, and gave Washington an 8-7 lead and eventual win on Saturday night.
Jason Heyward: 2-7, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBIs
Though it was a Braves loss, none of it would have been possible without Heyward’s great at bats. He started the game off with a home run, and tied the game up with one in the 9th. Heyward has hit the ball well, but he has also been playing gold glove caliber defense for much of the season.
It will only be a mere 12 hours before the teams are back at it again in the rubber match of the series. Gio Gonzalez (7-5, 3.42) will be pitching for the Nationals and will be opposed by Julio Teheran (9-6, 3.08). I would say it should be a pitcher’s duel, but I said that last night (about tonight’s game) and it did not pan out too well. Both Minor and Strasburg exited tonight’s game before pitching 2 innings.