Ramiro Pena Saves The Day, Homers In 10th To Give Braves 6-4 Win Over Nationals

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Pena's surprising power capped a come-from-behind victory for the Braves, who improved their league-best record to 9-1 and extended their winning streak to seven games.

Major-league plate appearances for Ramiro Pena before the game: 350
Home runs: 2

In a lineup full of mashers, the last guy you'd ever expect to hit a game-winning two-run homer in extra innings is a light-hitting infielder like Pena, but he did just that in the tenth inning to cap a second come-from-behind victory this season for the Braves and stun the Washington Nationals with a 6-4 win.

Before all that, though, Braves starter Julio Teheran once again struggled to find his footing. Bryce Harper continued to punish the baseball, hitting a line drive home run to left with a runner on in the first inning to put the Braves in an early 2-0 hole. That was enough for Ross Detwiler who scattered three hits through the first six innings and struck out five, but his offense tacked on two more runs against Teheran in the second on RBI singles by Denard Span and Jayson Werth. Justin Upton had one of the three hits, ruled a double that hit off the very top of the right field scoreboard in the sixth.

After that, though, Teheran settled in and didn't allow a hit for the rest of his six innings. He had a bit of an adventurous sixth inning, however, with some help from Evan Gattis. A first baseman Gattis is not, but he was in the lineup to provide additional right-handed power against the lefty Detwiler. With one out, Bryce Harper hit a seemingly easy foul pop-up near the first base dugout and Gattis completely muffed the catch. Harper ultimately walked, but Teheran escaped the inning unscathed.

Atlanta at last broke onto the scoreboard against Detwiler in the seventh with Chris Johnson's first home run of the year, a two-out solo blast to center. The young Washington southpaw was done after that, throwing seven solid innings. His bullpen, though, would let him down.

Jason Heyward walked with two outs in the eighth against Tyler Clippard. Justin Upton singled to right and Evan Gattis walked to load the bases, setting up for a possible big inning. B.J. Upton stepped to the plate, and the struggling Clippard walked him to force in a run. Drew Storen cleaned up the mess by getting a loud fly ball out off the bat of Dan Uggla.

The fun wasn't over yet. Storen continued into the ninth with closer Rafael Soriano having worked the previous three days in a row, but Chris Johnson greeted him with a leadoff single, his third hit of the game. Ramiro Pena pinch hit for catcher Gerald Laird and laid down a perfect bunt single down the third base line. A sacrifice bunt and a strikeout later, and the Braves were one out away from their comeback hopes being snuffed out, but Jason Heyward drew a walk to load the bases for Justin Upton. The younger Upton bounced a ground ball deep in the third base hole; Ryan Zimmerman fired the throw to second, but wound up hurling the ball into right field, allowing Johnson and Pena to score the tying runs, sending the game to extra innings.

That's when Pena brought out his hero stick. Uggla walked against new reliever Craig Stammen and one out later, Pena hit Stammen's second pitch into the Washington bullpen to complete another incredible comeback. (Watch it here)

Craig Kimbrel put the finishing touches on the win with a perfect bottom of the tenth; Eric O'Flaherty was credited with the victory with a perfect ninth, but he, Jordan Walden and newcomer Luis Ayala all lent a hand in stifling the Nationals offense.

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