Apr 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) throws to third base after a play at the plate on Atlanta Braves catcher Gerald Laird (11) (not shown) during the seventh inning at Turner Field. The Braves defeated the Nationals 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ten Hits Yield Two Runs As Nats Do Just Enough To Lose To Atlanta

Losing eight straight to your main division rival is no fun.

Stephen Strasburgwas solid again, but the offense couldn’t capitalize on early opportunities and fizzled late as the Nationals (13-13) fell to the Braves (16-9), 3-2.

Apr 29, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Strasburg struggled in the first inning, as he has all year. Allowing just one run actually improved his first-inning ERA, dropping it from 10.80 to 10.50. He also struggled early in innings, allowing the leadoff man on in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings, but managed to pitch around those hits and walks well, allowing just one run after the first. That run came on a very close play in the fourth, in which it was unclear which came first: Gerald Laird scoring at home or Dan Ugglabeing thrown out at home. The game was full of close plays, perhaps not all accurately called by umpires, but even enough for both teams. Despite these factors working against him and facing a strong Atlanta lineup, Strasburg finished with a decent line: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 4 BB (!), 8 K. His control was lacking, especially early on, but it says something about him as a pitcher that he was able to overcome himself. After the game, reports surfaced that Strasburg experienced forearm tightness and will see doctors about it.

On offense, hits were plentiful but runs were not. In 5.1 IP against Braves starter Julio Teheran, the Nats got 10 hits, at least one by every offensive starter. Adam LaRoche finally broke his long scoreless streak by going 1-3 with a walk and a run scored. However, these hits were often wasted. Nine of them were singles, and the lone double came with two outs in the first inning by Bryce Harper. The runs both came in the top of the second, putting the Nats on top 2-1 with RBI singles from Chad Tracy and Kurt Suzuki. After that, the Nats still managed to get on base against Teheran, but never scored again. In the sixth, Jordan Walden relieved Teheran, and combined with Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel to retire eleven consecutive Nats to end the game. Meanwhile, Tyler Clippard (L, 0-1) allowed the winning run on one hit and a walk, while Drew Storen threw a perfect eighth with two strikeouts.

Next Game: Tuesday in Atlanta, 7:05 PM. Hudson (2-1, 4.50) v. Gonzalez (2-1, 4.50)

Tags: Atlanta Braves Washington Nationals

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