Jun 1, 2013, 2:36 AM EDT
USA Today Sports Images
Denard Span slides into third base on one of his two triples tonight.
Game in a nutshell: The opener of a crucial series for the Nationals against a Braves team standing in its path in the NL East got off to what looked like a disastrous start from Washington's perspective. Stephen Strasburg was pulled after two innings with what a source familiar with the situation called a "muscular issue in his lower back." Strasburg clearly wasn't happy when told by manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty he would be leaving the game,but the club decided not to take any chances. That put a tremendous strain on the Nationals bullpen, but Craig Stammen saved the day with four perfect innings in emergency relief of Strasburg. A pair of triples by Denard Span, a pair of sacrifice flies by Steve Lombardozzi and a manufactured runs in the bottom of the second gave the Nationals a 3-1 lead entering the seventh. Tyler Clippard made things very interesting when he allowed one run before loading the bases, only to strike out Dan Uggla and Chris Johnson to escape the jam. Drew Storen then pitched a scoreless eighth, setting the stage for Rafael Soriano to finish this off in the ninth. With that stress-filled victory, the Nationals climbed back over the .500 mark and drew to within 4 1/2 games of the Braves.
Hitting highlight: Too often, the Nationals have tried to generate offense with power. Tonight, they decided to manufacture theirRead more »
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
TUE: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- Braves' hitting coach resigns after trying season
- Game thread: Giants-Pirates battle to face Nats in NLDS
- Former Nats slugger Adam Dunn still plans to retire
- Giants or Pirates: who should Nats prefer to play in NLDS?
- How the '14 Nats are better than the '12 Nats
- Royals beat A's 9-8 in 12 in AL wild-card thriller
- 'Now the fun begins' - Nats enter postseason on a roll
- Game thread: Who will advance in AL Wild Card game?
- Bryce Harper to play showcase in Japan after MLB playoffs
- MLB postseason begins tonight: Wild Card playoff preview