Series Recap: Nationals at Braves

Kevin C. Cox

It was certainly an interesting series.

The fireworks - literally and figuratively - started on Friday night. After a controversial plunking situation involving Bryce Harper in Washington, Harper was hit two more times on Friday. The first was a breaking ball that got away from Alex Wood, and the second was a fastball to the back by Luis Avilan. It's unclear if either was intentional, but it set up for the festivities on Saturday night. All of this obscured another excellent start by Alex Wood, who set a career high with 9 strikeouts, and a walk-off bomb by Justin Upton, who continues to come up with big late-inning hits against the Nationals.

Everyone knew Saturday would be interesting, but no one knew exactly how interesting it would be. Considering Friday night, the Braves likely knew someone was going to get hit. After Jason Heyward led off with a home run, Stephen Strasburg promptly plunked Justin Upton. Seemingly not considering everything square, Strasburg threw a wild curveball low-and-away and into the other batter's box before throwing two behind Andrelton Simmons and getting ejected in the second inning. Mike Minor didn't last much longer than Strasburg did as neither could finish the second inning. The bullpens would battle for the rest of the game. Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann would homer to bring the teams closer, but it was Heyward's second home run of the night that tied things up with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth. The teams would remain scoreless over the next five innings as the game dragged toward a six-hour length, but it would be former-Brave Adam LaRoche that ended the game with a home run of his own.

Sunday wasn't quite as exciting. Julio Teheran and Gio Gonzalez mostly exchanged scoreless innings, but the two runs Gonzalez gave up in the first inning would be enough for the Braves to pull off a series victory. It was a surprising victory considering the Braves had 3 regulars in the lineup and several players that were in Gwinnett or lower at this point last year, but the Braves pulled it off. Fittingly enough, Bryce Harper would be the one to end the game as Craig Kimbrel struck him out to continue his excellent work.

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