Rick Ankiel was a linebacker in another life.
Another game, another night where it seems nothing will go the Braves way. The Nationals pounced on Tim Hudson early and added insurance late to ruin Huddy's line score, though he pitched far better than the boxscore will indicate. For the fifth time in as many games, it seemed the Braves offense struggled to string together hits to score runs, and although they broke through a bit late, it wasn't enough.
The Nationals struck first in the first on a cheapie. After Bryce Harper singled, and Ryan Zimmerman doubled, the Nats had 2nd and 3rd with only one out. Hudson struck out Adam LaRoche on a gorgeous backdoor sinker on a full count, and looked like he would get out of trouble, only to have Ian Desmond roll a dribbler right up the middle to score two. After plunking Danny Espinosa, Rick Ankiel hit a triple that was quite the opposite of cheap. He might have had a chance at an inside-the-park homer, but the Nats' third base coach held him.
The Braves would strand two in each of the first two innings, but made in 4-1 on a Matt Diaz RBI single in the 3rd, before stranding another pair. Diaz struck again in the 5th, hammering a 2 RBI double into center field. Diaz then broke the cardinal rule of baserunning: "Thou shalt not run on Rick Ankiel". Diaz tried to stretch his double into a triple, and Ankiel gunned him down.
Hudson settled in after the 1st, allowing only one baserunner between the 2nd and 6th. The Nats would strike again in the 7th however, and this one hurt. After easily retiring the first two men he faced, Hudson walked Chien-Ming Wang. Steve Lombardozzi promptly slapped an RBI double, putting men at 2nd and 3rd. Huddy then issued a 4 pitch walk to Bryce Harper, loading the bases for Ryan Zimmerman, who made sure they weren't loaded for long. On an 0-2 count, Zimmerman hit a bases clearing double that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Jason Heyward closed the scoring with a first-pitch home run in the 8th inning. The solo shot off Wang was his 6th of the year. It was Heyward's only hit of the night, though he did draw a walk as well.