Braves Shut Down The Nats In 2-1 Victory

Rob Carr

Hale goes 5 strong innings as the Braves edge the Nationals

The first meeting between the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals was a lot like most of the games we saw between these two teams last season: Close, hotly contested, and ultimately ending up in a Braves victory.

Despite having to deal with shaking off the last remnants of the flu, David Hale was able to contribute 5 solid innings of scoreless ball for the Braves. He ended up exiting the game with the lead after Evan Gattis hit a moonshot to left field that nearly entered the walkway beyond the outfield seats.

The bottom of the 5th featured another adventure in the outfield for Justin Upton, as Ian Desmond hit a line drive down the left field line that ended up getting lodged beneath the outfield wall. Upton motioned for a ground rule double, but the umpires didn't give it so Desmond kept running and eventually scored as Upton eventually retrieved the ball and threw it to home. Fredi Gonzalez challenged the call, and the call was reversed to a ground rule double. Desmond would then proceed to get caught in a run-down, ending the Nationals' hopes of scoring in that inning.

After Chris Johnson added a sacrifice fly RBI in the top of the 8th to give the Braves the lead (following a Ryan Zimmerman sacrifice fly that drove in a run for the Nationals in the bottom of the 6th), the Braves got themselves into a jam when David Carpenter allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach base via hit and walk. Carpenter then got himself out of trouble by proceeding to strike out the next 3 hitters, preserving the lead in a high-leverage situation that ended up being the biggest moment of the game.

The game ended with Craig Kimbrel absolutely befuddling Desmond, Jose Lobaton, and Kevin Frandsen to end the game, reach second place in the Braves all-time saves list, and most importantly, give the Braves the victory. The win is the Braves' 14th in the last 20 over the Nationals, and the 5 runs allowed over the first 4 games is a franchise record. Not bad for a pitching staff that was considered "patchwork," eh?

Source: FanGraphs

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