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Game 94: Braves at Nats

Jul 22, 2012, 3:58 PM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to salvage a series split and increase their NL East lead to 3 1/2 games.

What was the significance of last night's 5-2 win over the Braves? Well, instead of showing up at the park today in danger of getting swept and losing first place in the NL East for the first time in two months, the Nationals know they have an opportunity to salvage a split and get their lead back to 3 1/2 games, where it was when this series opened on Friday. Pretty big difference.

The Nationals will attempt to do that without Ian Desmond or Jesus Flores in their lineup. Desmond's oblique strain acted up again during last night's game, so he's getting a rest. For now, the team doesn't believe the injury is getting worse or that a DL stint is going to become a possibility — "I don't really want to go there," Davey Johnson said this morning. Flores, meanwhile, still is bothered by a stiff back, so Sandy Leon gets another start behind the plate.

Bryce Harper, on the other hand, is back in the lineup, fighting through a bruised left ankle after fouling a bunt off himself during yesterday's opener. He certainly looked fine coming off the bench during last night's win.

The skies appear to actually be clearing up after a long weekend of rain and gray. Plenty of updates to come, so please check back…

Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 50,
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80 degrees, Wind 6 mph RF to LF

2B Steve Lombardozzi
RF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Michael Morse

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