Apr 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Atlanta Braves catcherEvan Gattis
(24) hits a solo home run against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit:Brad Mills
-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves took the first of a three-game series against the Washington Nationals earlier today, 2-1, thanks to some quality hitting from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson, in addition to a great effort from the Atlanta pitching staff.
Gattis launched his first home run of the season off of Jordan Zimmerman during the fifth inning to put the Braves on the board and Chris Johnson provided the go-ahead run to clinch the game with an RBI sac fly to score Jason Heyward. Gattis struck out three times in addition to his homer, while Johnson also added a double. Heyward is continuing to prove that he is the team’s best leadoff option with two walks on the day despite missing out on the hit column.
The Upton brothers both struggled again in this game, each going 0-4 with three strikeouts.
On the mound, it was short but solid outing for David Hale. He threw 5 innings, struck out four batters, walked two and allowed five hits and no runs. The Nationals got on the board an inning after Hale left the game, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Ryan Zimmerman against Gus Schlosser. Schlosser got himself into some trouble right away by allowing a single to Anthony Rendon and walking Jason Werth, but managed to keep the Braves in the game by forcing Bryce Harper to ground out after Zimmerman’s sacrifice.
After Schlosser’s inning, Jordan Walden, Luis Avilan, David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel combined to throw the final three scoreless innings and lock up the win. It was good to see Walden get in the game as well, and while he didn’t manage a complete inning he only gave up a double.
It’s also worth noting that Fredi Gonzalez overturned an Ian Desmond inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning after the ball got stuck under the outfield wall. After the replay, the umps decided to give Desmond a ground rule double. If that didn’t happen the Braves easily could have lost this one.