The Washington Nationals lineup, from top to bottom, continued to pound Braves pitching tonight in their 13-4 victory. However, today’s scoring came not from home runs, but from timely hitting. It is only a two game sample size, but the Nationals offense is finally showing signs of resurgence.
The Braves jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the 1st and it looked like Jordan Zimmermann once again didn’t have his best stuff. However, Zimmermann settled down after that, only giving up five more hits in his final six innings. Today, he went seven innings, walked one batter, struck out seven and allowed four runs, three of which were earned.
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For a second straight night, the Nationals offense showed resilience and battled back from an early deficit. They got things going in the second when Wilson Ramos singled to bring home Bryce Harper, who had reached on a single to lead off the inning.
After the Braves got a run back in the third on a Freddie Freeman double, the Nationals came right back with four runs in the fourth. Harper rocketed a one-out double off the wall in right to start things off. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single and Harper came around to score on an error from the Braves left fielder, Kelly Johnson.
After a Wilson Ramos strike out, a Danny Espinosa single, and a Dan Uggla walk, pitcher Jordan Zimmermann stepped to the plate with two outs and the based loaded. Zimmermann, who has always been capable with the bat as far as pitchers go, lined a single into the left center field gap that managed to drive home all three runners and give the Nats the lead for good.
Atlanta manufactured a run in the fifth that came from a lead off walk, but the Nationals once again came right back in the sixth with a Dan Uggla groundout, scoring Ramos to extend the lead to 6-4.
In the seventh, the Nats continued to mash Braves pitching. Span ripped a leadoff double into the right center field gap. Two batters later, Jayson Werth ripped an RBI single through the left side of the infield. After a Harper walk and a flyout from Zimmerman, Ramos reached on an infield single, loading the bases.
Danny Espinosa, batting seventh, managed to fight off a pitch on his hands, for a broken bat single to center, driving home two more runs.
After seven solid innings from Zimmermann, Matt Grace came in and gave the Nats a scoreless eight inning.
In the ninth, the Nationals added four more for good measure, giving them a second straight night with 13 runs. The first run came when Uggla notched yet another RBI on a single that scored Ramos from second. Two batters later, with two runners on, Denard Span crushed a three-run homer to right. It was his second home run in as many nights. Span is now hitting .317 on the season, and the Nationals have certainly enjoyed having him back at the top of the lineup.
In the bottom of the ninth, ‘The Bear”, Aaron Barrett, came in put things away, retiring all three Braves hitters he faced.
Next Game: The Nationals will head up the New York to take on the Mets in their next matchup. The Nats head into the series six back from the Mets, and will look to close the gap some in the four game series.
If the Nationals offense can score half the runs that they have in the previous two nights, they should be in good shape.