The train keeps on rolling down the tracks for the Braves as they notch their eleventh victory in a row–this time thanks to some late inning heroics of one Justin Upton– by a final score of 3-2 over that Nationals in Washington.
The final blow was dealt by Upton after a lengthy at bat against Tyler Clippard, when Clippard hung a curveball and Upton did not miss it and launched it into the night give the Braves a 3-2 lead. In five games in August, Justin Upton is back to the Justin Upton we knew in the very beginning of the season. His those said five games, he has .409 average with four homers, nine RBIs and has three walks. Safe to say that lineup change has really helped Upton out.
Jordan Walden notched his first save as a member of the Braves, but had to do it in dramatic fashion. Anthony Rendon hit an infield single, was bunted to second by Denard Span, advanced to third on a passed ball by Brian McCann. But thanks to a tremendous catch in foul territory by McCann and first-pitch swinging by pinch-hitter Chad Tracy, Walden escaped with the save.
It was a bit of a struggle tonight for Braves’ starter Mike Minor but he was able to walk the tightrope and battle, mixed in by poor hitting of the Nationals, just enough to help the Braves to victory. Minor went six innings, allowed eight hits and two runs while striking out two and walking an uncharacteristic three batters. The biggest problem, and I wasn’t the only one to notice, was Minor’s inability to throw strike one consistently. Minor was working behind in the count most of the night, but thanks to the Nationals inability to hit, he was able to bounce around the hits and walks.
The biggest play of the night, besides the Upton home run, was the play made in the first inning by Andrelton Simmons. Adam LaRoche laced a double into the right field gap that could have scored two runs had it not been for the strong arm of Simmons. He was able to gun the second runner down at the plate, allowing just the one run to score and ultimately making the difference in the game. Simmons is obviously not the strongest hitter on the team, but his defense is something that makes up for it.
In some more uncharacteristic news, Chris Johnson went 0-4 tonight. His batting average is now at .342.
So there you have it, folks. The Braves now have an 11-game win streak, one away from a season high, and sit comfortably atop the NL East at 13 1/2 games ahead of the Nationals. The Braves are back in action tomorrow night– same time, same place. Julio Teheran takes the mound for the Braves and will be opposed by Gio Gonzalez.