The Braves looked like they had a chance tonight. These hopes and dreams came crashing down when Rick Ankiel hit a home run of the grand slam variety. The homer capped a five-run fourth that gave the Nats a 6-3 lead that wouldn’t be relinquished. Rick Ankiel has now hit three homers against Braves pitching in the last two games and a total of six on the season.
The scoring began tonight with an Ian Desmond sac fly that scored Jayson Werth. The run was facilitated by a David Ross fastball to right center that not only didn’t catch Werth stealing, but sent him to third. Atlanta managed to rally, though to provide Braves fans with a sense of encouragement and life. After a David Ross single, Jose Constanza was able to rope one past Ryan Zimmerman, who was in the heart of the action tonight on defense. With two on and one out after a failed sacrifice by Lowe, Michael Bourn got his first RBI as a Brave by pulling one down the first base line past Michael Morse, scoring the speedy Constanza from second. Martin Prado then sent Lowe across the dish with a grounder to the right side to make the game 2-1 in favor of the Bravos. Constanza kept up his honey moon period in the Majors by driving Gonzalez in on a good piece of hitting to the opposite field to finish the scoring for Atlanta.
The fourth was the inning in which Ankiel did his damage, but the Nats didn’t let up. Jonny Gomes led off the fifth with a triple down the third base line. He may have been helped out by a Washington fan on a date, overzealously reaching for a ball in play to impress his girl; but whether a triple or double, it didn’t matter. Ian Desmond hit a bomb that just got over the left field wall in the next at bat to make the score 8-2. The night was over for Lowe there, and Cristhian Martinez got the next three batters to end the fifth. Martinez did give up a BIG solo shot to Michael Morse in the following inning, but after that, the scoring was over for both sides. Proctor came out to pitch two scoreless innings and of course, guys like Prado refuse to give up and could be seen sliding all over the field until the bitter end. That’s how this team plays and it’s definitely good to see that the team never gives in.
The Nationals took the season series lead with the win tonight. The Braves have now lost three straight games, behind double digit hits in each, which doesn't feel good from a fan perspective. Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla each hit safely to extend their streaks tonight.