Mar 1, 2014; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span (2) steals second base during the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Nationals Rally to Beat Braves in 31-Run Slugfest

In a game that featured 31 runs, 37 hits, 14 walks and six errors, the Nationals managed to rally past their division rivals by a score of 16-15. To say this game was crazy would be a drastic understatement, but believe it or not, the game went pretty smoothly for the first few innings.

Jordan Zimmermann got the start for the Nationals, and like Taylor Jordan on Friday, he looked pretty good. Zimmermann pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit with one strikeout.

Zimmermann kept the game scoreless for two innings, but unfortunately for the Nationals, Julio Teheran was just as good for the Braves with two scoreless innings of his own.

The Braves took the lead in the top of the third inning off of Matt Purke, who allowed an RBI single to Jose Constanza and an RBI double to Freddie Freeman, making it 2-0 Braves. The Nationals would tie the game at two in the bottom of the frame on sacrifice flies by Anthony Rendon and Tyler Moore. At that point, both teams were starting to pull their regulars out of the game, and when it became a game of subs, things got pretty crazy.

The Braves took the lead right back in the top of the third, scoring three runs off of Purke and Blake Treinen. It was a rough outing for Purke, who gave up four runs with two walks in an inning and a third of work. Washington then countered with four runs of their own, making it a 6-5 game. The Nationals didn’t have the lead for long however, as the Braves scored nine runs in one of the ugliest innings you’ll ever see in the top of the fifth.

The Nationals had four errors in the inning, allowing the Braves to send 14 men to the plate. The most damaging hit of the inning came from the Braves’ Matt Lipka, who hit a blooper down the right field line. Nationals’ outfielder Michael Taylor struggled picking up the ball, and then made an errant throw to third, allowing Lipka to score.

A 14-6 lead wasn’t enough for the Braves however, as the Nationals would score 10 runs over the next two innings. The biggest hit for the Nationals came off the bat of veteran infielder Mike Fontenot, who tied the game with a bases loaded double in the sixth inning. Fontenot would eventually score on a single by Matt Skole.

Somehow, neither team would score the rest of the way and the Nationals went on to win their Grapefruit League home opener against the Braves. It wasn’t a pretty game, by any means, but when a baseball game involves more than 30 runs, it’s usually pretty entertaining to watch. The Nationals will play the Braves four more times this spring, and 19 times during the regular season.

The Nationals will be back at it at Space Coast stadium against the Marlins tomorrow in what will hopefully be a more normal game. Until then, enjoy the box score from today’s game. Because odds are, we won’t see one like that for a very, very long time. At least not against Atlanta.

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