The Washington Nationals played the final game of their four game series with the Atlanta Braves and salvaged a split in the series, beating the Braves 3-1.
Dan Haren pitched his best game yet wearing a Nats uniform, going eight innings and only giving up one run, a solo home run to Dan Uggla in the seventh inning. Haren’s pitches had great movement all night, darting up and down and over both sides of the plate. The Braves hitters only managed to eke out five hits over the eight innings Haren pitched.
Kris Medlin, Atlanta’s starter, had a hard time settling down in the first two innings and the Nats jumped on the opportunity, scoring all three of their runs before the start of the third inning. Denard Span had a great night at the plate, going three for four with a walk. Span hit two doubles, one of which scored two runs. Span scored a run after reaching base on his first double. Span also recorded the first hit against the Atlanta bullpen this year, singling off Jordan Walden in the ninth inning,
Span lead off the game with a double and took third base on a wild pitch. Steve Lombardozzi drove in Span with a single. After Bryce Harper flew out to center field, Jayson Werth got Lombardozzi to second on a groundout, but Lombardozzi was stranded at second when Ian Desmond struck out looking.
In the second inning, the Nats cashed in again. Adam LaRoche doubled and Anthony Rendon singled, putting runners on the corners. Wilson Ramos hit a ground ball that should have netted the Braves a double play, but LaRoche came far enough off third to tempt the Braves into getting him caught in a rundown. LaRoche was out, but it was only the first out of the inning and the Nats still had two on. Haren sacrificed the runners over with a bunt, and then Span hit his second double, scoring both Rendon and Ramos.
That was the end of the Nats scoring off Braves pitching, but it was enough as Haren dealt the rest of the way. Desmond doubled for another extra base hit, and Rendon went two for three with a walk in what was probably his last game with the team before the return of Ryan Zimmerman sends him back to the minors.
For all the feel good from the Nationals win, the team continued its disturbing tendency to be unable to hit with runners in scoring position. The Nats were only three for eleven in this game with RISP. The other issue that arose was with Werth’s continuing problems with his leg/ankle injury. He left the game in the top of the fifth inning, his place taken by Roger Bernadina.
Alfonso Soriano pitched the bottom of the ninth, garnering his ninth save of the year.
Next Game: The Nationals start a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Friday, May 3rd at 7:05 p.m. Ross Detwiler (1-2, 2.03 ERA) starts for the Nationals, while A. J. Burnett (2-2, 2.83 ERA) goes for the Pirates.