(I realize this is old news–I’ve been watching the games but I haven’t made time to get to my computer.) On Saturday night, before a crowd of 42,456 in Atlanta, the Braves played a big ol’ dud of a game against the Nationals, losing 5-2. They didn’t pitch, hit, or field well.
Tommy Hanson seemed to come out flat after the All-Star break. He allowed 3 runs in the second, the big blow coming on a 2 RBI single by the Nats’ pitcher, John Lannan (who until that point had been 0-32). In Hanson’s last outing, he gave up a home run to Phillies’ pitcher, Cliff Lee.
In the Braves half of the second, Alex Gonzalez hit a 2 run homer to make the score 3-2. Then in the top of the fifth, Wilson Ramos hit a 2 run homer to make it 5-2 (he finished 2-3 with a double, homer and 3 RBIs vs Hanson).
The Braves only managed 5 total hits. Both Uggla and Heyward made errors in the field. In the top of the third, Schafer led off with a double then tried to advance on a grounder to shortstop and was thrown out at third. In the fifth, Wilkin Ramirez led off with a single only to be followed by Hanson who bunted too hard, which turned into a double play.
Sunday afternoon’s game was a wild one, ending 9-8 in the Braves’ favor. The Braves jumped on Nats’ pitcher Tom Gorzelanny early. Jordan Schafer led the Braves’ first off with a walk, stole second, and took third on the catcher’s errant throw. Prado then picked up a RBI single (36th). After a Freeman walk, Uggla was facing a 3-1 count when the pitcher went to his mouth and then touched the baseball so the umpire called a ball, awarding Uggla first and loading the bases. That seemed to unnerve Gorzelanny and he followed that up with a wild pitch that allowed Prado to score and make it 2-0.
Unfortunately, Jair Jurrjens was not sharp in this game. In the third, he gave up a lead off walk. Gorzelanny’s bunt attempt forced the runner at second, Bernadina followed with a triple. Uggla’s relay throw home pulled McCann up the line and caused McCann and Gorzelanny to collide. The ball was knocked away allowing Gorzelanny and Bernadina to score. Then in the 4th, Jurrjens allowed 4 more runs on hit after hit, making the score 6-2 Nats. Jurrjens was done after 5, allowing 6 runs on 8 hits and 2 BB. Gorzelanny was also removed from the game after the McCann collision ( although it appeared he rolled his ankle on a pitch earlier in the game).
In the Braves’ 5th, Wilkin Ramirez led off with a double. After Heyward was hit by a pitch, Schafer got a RBI(7th) single. One out later, McCann stepped up and stroked a 3 run homer(16 HR,53 RBIs), tying the score at 6 all. Freeman then walked and Uggla singled. Freeman scored on Gonzalez’ ground out, putting the Braves back in front 7-6. The lead was short-lived however, as George Sherrill came on in relief of Jurrjens in the 6th and gave up a 2 run homer to Danny Espinosa to put the Nationals back up 8-7.
In the bottom of the 8th, Nate McClouth hit a dramatic 2 out solo home run(4 HR,14 RBIs) off of the Nats’ All-Star reliever, Tyler Clippard to tie the score. Then in the ninth, Brooks Conrad led off with a pinch-hit walk. Schafer sac bunted Conrad to second. Prado hit a grounder to short and Conrad was thrown out trying to advance to third(Schafer made the exact same mistake in Saturday’s game–does Fredi need to have a “fundamentals of base running” seminar?). The Nats then walked McCann bringing Freeman to the plate. Freeman calmly stroked a first pitch RBI single to right–game over, Braves win!