Sep 17, 2013, 6:09 PM EDT
Whew, what a game that was this afternoon. After that, are you all ready for another one?
The Nats and Braves pick right back up after perhaps the wildest win of the Nationals’ 2013 season. Rookie Tanner Roark (6-0, 1.30) will look to keep the momentum going as Atlanta sends right-hander Freddy Garcia (4-6, 4.86) to the mound.
Garcia is not a good pitcher at this point in his career, as his near-5.00 ERA will tell you. But the best start he had this season was against the Nationals.
On May 30 he shut them out for eight innings at Camden Yards as a member of the Orioles, allowing just three hits and striking out six. On a humid night, he had something extra on his split-finger fastball that made it behave like a knuckleball. Both Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman compared him to R.A. Dickey that night.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game…
ATLANTA BRAVES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees, Wind 10 mph in from RF
CF Denard Span
3B Ryan Zimmerman
RF Jayson Werth
LF Bryce Harper
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Steve Lombardozzi
C Jhonatan Solano
RHP Tanner Roark
CF Jordan Schafer
RF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
LF Evan Gattis
3B Chris Johnson
C Gerald Laird
2B Dan Uggla
SS Andrelton Simmons
RHP Freddy Garcia
HP Jordan Baker
1B CB Bucknor
2B Dale Scott
3B Dan DeMuth (cc)
7:14 p.m. – A nice start for Mr. Roark who set down the Braves in order on 17 pitches. He got Schafer and Freeman to ground out, and Justin Upton to go down swinging.
7:23 p.m. – Not much going for the Nats in the bottom of the first. They went down 1-2-3 on just 15 pitches from Garcia. Span grounded out to second base, Zimmerman struck out swinging and Werth lined out to Simmons at short.
7:32 p.m. – Roark allowed two singles in the top of the second with two outs, but got Simmons to ground out to end the frame. We’re still scoreless. Roark has thrown 34 pitches.
7:40 p.m. – The Nats got a run on the board in the second inning off a Lombardozzi RBI single to right field. Harper scored the run after singling to left field and stealing second base to lead off. The inning ended on a double play lineout hit by Solano with runners at the corners and one out. Solano hit a hard ball to Simmons who threw behind Lombo at first. Garcia has thrown 26 pitches.
7:52 p.m. – Roark put another zero up in the top of the third, despite Schafer walking with one out. Freeman hit a long flyball to right field for the third out. Roark is at 57 already through three so that’s something to watch.
8:05 p.m. – After a bit of a strange inning the Nats come away with nothing despite twice having runners reach third base. Roark led off with a single and was then forced out at second on a groundball by Span. But Simmons’ double play attempt to first was off the mark and allowed Span to take off running. While he was nearing third, Uggla tried to throw him out but the ball slipped out of his hand. He then picked it back up again and threw a relay to get Span out at home on a bang-bang play at the plate. It was scored 3-6, E6, 4-3-2. Zimmerman then singled and was joined on base by Werth. Zim then took third on wild pitch. But a Harper swinging strikeout ended the inning and we’re still at 1-0.
8:14 p.m. – Roark gets a much-needed quick inning in the top of the fourth, using 11 pitches to set the Braves down in order. He’s at 68 now.
8:20 p.m. – The Nats came away with nothing once again after seeing runners get on base. This time it was Desmond and Lombardozzi who reached on singles. But with runners on first and second and one out, Solano grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the frame. Garcia has allowed just one run through four with 53 pitches thrown.
8:26 p.m. – Another solid inning for Roark in the top of the fifth. He got Uggla, Simmons and Garcia out on eight pitches. He’ll also lead off the bottom half of the inning.
8:36 p.m. – Make it 28 for Denard Span. With a single to left field, Span now owns this MLB season’s longest hit streak and the longest in the majors since Dan Uggla went 33 straight games in 2011. He also stole a base, but the Nats couldn’t cash in. It’s still 1-0 as we go to the top of the sixth. Garcia is through five on 68 pitches.
8:42 p.m. – This Roark guy ain’t too bad. Another 1-2-3 inning has him through six scoreless with just two hits and a walk allowed. He’s got his pitch count at a more manageable pace as well with 91 pitches. He may not be out there much longer, but no one is up in the Nats’ bullpen.
8:49 p.m. – For as good as Roark’s been, Garcia has been tough as well. He had a perfect inning of his own in the bottom of the sixth and is now at 76 pitches. That’s 15 less than Roark and means he’ll likely last longer in this game.
8:54 p.m. – Another perfect inning and that’s 13 straight retired by Roark. He walks off the mound with 101 pitches thrown. That will likely do it for him tonight as Craig Stammen is warming and he’s due up third in the bottom of the inning.
9:02 p.m. – Garcia sets them down in order and he’s retired eight straight. Stammen will now take over against Uggla, Simmons and a likely pinch-hitter for Garcia.
9:10 p.m. – A clutch eighth inning for Stammen who got Schafer to strike out to end the inning. This was after a pinch-hitting Elliot Johnson singled and stole second. The Nats now have Span leading off in the bottom of the eighth as they look for some insurance runs.
9:23 p.m. – Who wants some insurance runs? The Nats pushed three more across in the top of the ninth to give Rafael Soriano a 4-0 lead to work with. Zimmerman got it started with a solo home run to right-center field. Desmond doubled home Harper who singled for the second run and LaRoche then singled home Desmond. This game is in the Nats’ hands, all Soriano has to do is finish the job.
9:35 p.m. – Soriano gave up a pair of singles and Desmond had a throwing error on a play that would have ended the game, but the Nats held on 4-0. That’s win number 81, tying 2005 for the second best record since they moved to D.C.
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.
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