ATLANTA — A long rain delay and extra innings tested the Washington Nationals’ mental and physical strength.
Matt Williams said he was impressed his NL East-leading team finally found a way to win.
Wilson Ramos’ bases-loaded single sparked Washington’s three-run 11th inning, and the Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 on Saturday night.
The start of the game was delayed by 3 hours, 41 minutes, and the final out wasn’t recorded until Sunday at 2:29 a.m.
“Considering all that happened today and the way we had to fight through the last couple of days, it was pretty good for us,” Williams said. “We fought all the way.”
It was the Braves’ ninth loss in 10 games. The Nationals increased their lead in the division over Atlanta to 4½ games.
Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche led off the 11th with singles against David Carpenter (4-2). After left fielder Justin Upton made a leaping catch of Ian Desmond’s liner, James Russell walked Bryce Harper to load the bases.
Ramos then drove in Rendon with a single up the middle off Anthony Vavaro, Atlanta’s third pitcher of the inning. Devin Frandsen’s double to right field drove in two runs to make it 4-1.
Ramos was initially ruled safe at home on the play, but the call was overturned following a replay challenge by Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
Tyler Clippard (7-2) pitched a scoreless 10th inning, and Rafael Soriano got three outs for his 26th save in 30 chances.
The Braves, who snapped an eight-game losing streak Friday night with a 7-6 win over the Nationals, were frustrated by leaving 11 runners on base. More offensive struggles wasted a strong start by Aaron Harang, who allowed one run in seven innings.
“It’s tough, especially against a team that we know we’re trying to make up ground on,” Harang said.
LaRoche’s homer in the sixth gave Washington a 1-0 lead, but the Braves tied it in the bottom half.
Washington’s Tanner Roark and Harang opened with five scoreless innings before LaRoche led off the sixth with his 16th homer.
The Braves settled for one run after loading the bases with no outs in the sixth. Tommy La Stella scored on Jason Heyward’s broken-bat fly ball to shallow center field.
Roark also lasted seven innings, allowing one run, six hits and three walks.
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