The Washington Nationals (17-18) squeaked past the Atlanta Braves (20-17) by the score of 7-6 at Turner Field Tuesday night.
- Up 7-1 entering bottom of the eighth, the Nationals pitching staff underwent a terrifying implosion. The Nats let up five earned runs in the inning, two belonging to Jason Marquis, two to Sean Burnett, and one to Tyler Clippard. The most startling thing about the Braves 8th inning run was that it was against arguably the Nationals three best pitchers so far this season, Marquis, Clippard, and Burnett. Luckily they were able to get out of the inning up one run.
-Prior to the eighth inning nightmare, Marquis was in the mist of another gem. Through seven innings pitched he had allowed just one earned run on five hits. At times he even looked unhittible, forcing three swinging strikes on his slider and earning three K's overall. Despite the late collapse, Marquis has improved to 4-1 with a 3.66 ERA.
- Drew Storen proved to be the Nationals most reliable reliever today. After the massive collapse in the eighth inning, the second year stopper came in to shut the door for the Nats. While he did look good, with his fastball topping out at around 98 MPH, he did leave a fly ball in centerfield that was about three feet from being a game tying dinger. Nevertheless, Storen improved to have eight saves with a 0.46 ERA.
-The Nationals bats, who had been slumping, were able to record five hits and seven runs off of Braves ace Tim Hudson. Entering the contest Hudson was 4-2 with a 2.86 ERA, he left with a 4-3 record and a 3.09 ERA.
Washington fans got eight and a half innings of great baseball out of the Nationals tonight. That seems to be the trend for the team this season, mostly good baseball, with a mistake or two mixed in. Unfortunately in baseball half an inning can be all it takes between playing winning baseball most of the time, and losing more than you win. How many times would a five run inning have cost the Nationals the game this season? Considering the Nationals have not won a game by more than four runs this year, just about every single one. Washington was very fotunate their collapse came in the midst of one of their otherwise best-played games of the season.
On the flip side, the good news is that the well-played eight and a half showed that the aspects of the club's game that had been vacant so far this season may be finally coming together. Jayson Werth and Laynce Nix both hit home runs and Roger Bernadina was 0-3 but got on base twice, scored two runs, and had an outfield assist.