There’s no point in trying to sugar coat it, that one hurt. After coming back from an early four-run deficit and taking the lead in the eighth inning, the Washington Nationals were unable to seal the deal against their division rivals, losing Friday’s crazy game against the Braves, 7-6.
The Braves got things going against Nationals starter Tanner Roark early on, scoring four runs in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Evan Gattis and a three-run homer by Ramiro Pena. It was not a great day for Roark who had trouble keeping the ball down in the zone and gave up five runs on five hits while striking out three.
But the Nationals offense has become accustomed to playing from behind and began chipping away at the Braves lead in the top of the fourth when a bases loaded single by Ian Desmond made it a 4-1 game. The Nationals would tie the game off of Braves starter Julio Teheran an inning later on a three run home run by Ryan Zimmerman.
The homer was the highlight of a monster day for the Nationals third baseman as he finished 2-4 with three RBIs, a walk and a run scored. Zimmerman also shined with the glove, turning several critical double plays throughout the course of the game.
But the offensive parade was only just beginning as each team would score two more runs over the next three innings. With the game tied 6-6, two of the best bullpens in all of baseball were headed to extra innings, which did not turn out too well for the Nationals.
With Jerry Blevins on the mound and a runner on first with two outs in the bottom of the tenth, Justin Upton stepped up to the plate. Upton, who had already homered in the eighth inning, tried to hit a walk off home run with every swing. On a 2-2 count with the runner going from first, Upton dropped a blooper into right field. Bryce Harper was unable to field it cleanly and the run scored all the way from first, sealing a victory for the Braves in walk-off fashion.
It was a tough game for the Nationals, a game that could have easily ended differently. But the best part about today is tomorrow, and the Nationals will look to carry their hot bats into Turner Field once again as they try to even the series against the Braves.