Reporting Brendan Darr
On a day when the Nationals lost starter Tom Gorzelanny (ankle) after just two innings, the bullpen was stretched to its breaking point. Twice the Nationals took the lead, and twice the bullpen let the Braves back in to the game, before falling in the bottom of the 9th, 9-8.
The Nationals were able to get to Jair Jurrjens, who coming in to the game had an NL-best 1.87 ERA. Jurrjens gave up six runs on 8 hits and two walks, while striking out six in 5 innings.
After a rough start in the first inning, Gorzelanny settled down in the second for a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts. In the top of the third, Gorzelanny twisted his ankle on a play at the plate after a Roger Bernadina triple. Gorzelanny tried to come out for the third, but he could not.
Henry Rodriguez pitched two great innings in relief, but when he came out for his third inning he fell apart. Sean Burnett didn’t improve things when he came in and immediately gave up a home run. Burnett also had a costly base-running error, that turned what should have been a 3-run home run by Danny Espinosa into just a 2-run bomb. Clippard was productive other than the solo home run he gave up.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the Nationals didn’t put Drew Storen out for the 9th inning in a tied game. However, manager Davey Johnson to go with Ryan Mattheus in the 9th inning and Mattheus responded with giving up a hit and two walks in 2/3 of an inning for the loss. Freddie Freeman singled to right field to score Martin Prado for the win.
The Nationals will head to Houston for a three-game series with the Astros. Jerry Hairston will meet the team in Houston, after his rehab assignment was finished. Brian Bixler was optioned to Syracuse to make room for Hairston. First pitch tomorrow night will be at 8:05. The game will be on 106.7 The Fan and stay up to date with The Fan on twitter: @1067TheFanDC
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