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Instant Analysis: Nats 6, Braves 5

Sep 17, 2013, 4:20 PM EST

Associated Press AP

Game in a nutshell: After seeing their lineup go cold following a three-run first inning and their bullpen blow a lead they held for over seven innings, the Nationals came through in the bottom of the ninth with a thrilling, walkoff victory over the Atlanta Braves. Denard Span is the hero with a one-out RBI groundball in the ninth off Craig Kimbrel, aided by a Andrelton Simmons error to give the Nats the winning run. Dan Haren gave the Nationals a strong start with six innings of one-run ball, the only run he allowed came off a sacrifice fly by Freddie Freeman in the sixth. The Nationals were up for much of the game, lost the lead, and then regained it off the best closer in the game. In taking back the win, the Nats prevented the Braves from being able to clinch the NL East division in the second game of the doubleheader. They now enter tonight 4 1/2 games out of the NL Wild Card race with a chance to get their first series win against Atlanta this season. Meanwhile, Cincinnati will battle the Astros at 8:10 p.m. in Texas.

Hitting highlight: The Nats entered the bottom of the ninth inning down 5-3 thanks to a late insurance run notched by the Braves in the top of the frame. Kimbrel had trouble finding the strike zone and walked Adam LaRoche to lead off the inning. A Wilson Ramos single and Anthony Rendon walk loaded the bases before a pinch-hitting Chad Tracy brought home the first run on a groundout to first base. Then came Span who hit a hard grounder up the middle. Simmons got a glove on it as Ramos came around to score and then couldn’t hold on as Rendon raced around third. All in all it was three runs in the bottom of the ninth and gave the Nats their 80th victory of the season.

Pitching lowlight: Haren did his job shutting down, for the most part, the dangerous Braves’ lineup. But once he left the game, it all began to unravel for the Nats. Storen allowed a run on three hits in the seventh, the run coming on a Dan Uggla RBI single in a pinch-hit situation. Clippard then gave up two in the eighth on a Evan Gattis home run to center field. Gattis jumped all over a high fastball in an 0-2 count. The Braves added another run for good measure in the top of the ninth off Ian Krol though it went down as unearned due to a throwing error by Harper and a botched routine grounder by Ian Desmond.

Key stat: Span extended his hitting streak to 27 games with a single in the second inning. That ties the MLB season high set by Michael Cuddyer of the Colorado Rockies.

Up next: The Nats and Braves play the second game of the doubleheader tonight at 7:05 p.m. Rookie Tanner Roark (6-0, 1.30) and Freddy Garcia (1-1, 1.32) are your starting pitchers.

  1. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    Props to Dan Haren for a clutch, must-win start.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      Absolutely; he deserves the game ball (and the W, if that were possible).

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:26 PM

      6 innings of 1 run, 3 hit baseball… That’s just pretty darn good….

      He gave us a chance to win…

      • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Against the team with the best record in the NL!

  2. natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    That was an awesome end, boys. Let’s get ’em again tonight, but maybe in less dramatic fashion? kthxbai.

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Whoa, whoa, whoa…. Lets make it clear… DJ did right by not putting Soriano in… That would have been the dumbest move.. We were down…

    But he does get blame for having Storen face Gattis and for having Clip come in against the Braves…

    DJ has his faults and for him to be a numbers guy, he sure isn’t using that degree to the fullest…

    But besides that, I’m glad we were able to beat Kimbrel….

    • Steady Eddie - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM

      You mean having Storen face Uggla.

    • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      Clip is the best relief pitcher on the team — by far. You can’t withhold him from the Braves just because he’s allowed some HR’s in a very small sample size. Today he made one bad pitch. It cost two runs, but it was one bad pitch.

      So, Gattis is up in the 7th, and you don’t want to use Storen *or* Clippard, who would you have put out there?

      Storen and Clip was the right play. Sometimes you still lose with the smart moves — it happens.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        actually that is not true about one bad pitch. he did allow couple of walks and another hit besides the HR. He had one bad day, that’s all I think of it. He has been rock solid all year long and his numbers against ATL are SSS so using him was the right choice.

        btw I was wrong when I said that Clip gave up 0 ER last season against ATL. He gave up 2 ER in 9 appearances.

      • pchuck69 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        Stammen. Clippard should not be used against the Braves, period.

        To be honest, almost anybody in the buyllpen is a better option than Clippard. His numbers are atrocious against them. Some of the worst by any pitcher against an individual team.

      • letswin3 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        Why couldn’t Clip be used for the final out in the 7th., and then pitch the 8th.? We don’t need to save innings pitched, pitches pitched or relief pithchers when EVERY game is critical. Davey has a pattern of leaving relief pitchers in for one too many hitters….today it was Storen, not Clip…clip just forgot that Gattis loves that high heat….and although it was even too hight to squeeze into the strike zone, Gattis killed it anyway.

        I think Davey has a state of mind that says relievers start and finish an inning unless they get hammered. What is wrong with recognizing that our guy may be getting a little unhinged (Storen today), and yanking him after one or two outs? Watch next years manager for improvement in this area. If we had lost this game today, the NI crown here would have been disecting Davey like a fetal pig in freshman biology.

    • pchuck69 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:19 PM

      Not using Clppard against the Braves should be the easiest call in baseball.

  4. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    I’m so glad…. My man, Span, is on this team….

    • natsfan1a - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:24 PM

      Me, too. A Span fan I am.

  5. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    Ninth inning ABs were all good and deserve praise. Now, enjoy the win, but settle down and focus on the 2nd game. GYFNG!

  6. Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    All I can say is Holy Crap! There is nothing like looking at Gameday on your phone and seeing “In play, run(s)” pop up in the bottom of the 9th!

  7. David Proctor - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Let’s also be glad that Rendon didn’t get the bunt down. Stupid play, in my opinion. Would’ve given away an out.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      According to Pitch Track, Rendon got 6 balls of which 2 were called strikes. The good news is Kimbrel threw a lot of extra pitches. He early won’t pitch tonight. I wonder if he will even be available tomorrow.

    • letswin3 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      I’m with ya, DP. The guy is a hitter, he makes contact and he has no pulse. Plus, when I manage in my dreams, I NEVER give up an out in the 9th inning when I’m down TWO.

  8. Steady Eddie - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM


    Please wave to my daughter if you get there in time, OK? she’ll be the oldest girl in the NatsCamp pregame parade.
    Wearing what Rendon called Clippard goggles.

    Boy is this Nats team going to be psyched for the nightcap! Just let Roark stay within himself and go with what got him here.

    • Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      Steady, nice compounding of cliches there. You’re ready for a postgame interview.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Did anyone hear an announced attendance? I know the ticket sales won’t match the actual people there, just curious.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      25,066 paid.
      Occurred to me the box score would be out by now.

  10. adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    All I can say is Holy Crap! There is nothing like looking at Gameday on your phone and seeing “In play, run(s)” pop up in the bottom of the 9th!

    That’s exactly what I saw (I”m using gameday on my desktop).

    And it seemed like forever until we learned whether it was one run or two!

    • NatsNut - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      At-bat app said kobernus pinch ran for ramos. If true, i think kobernus crosses the plate not ramos.

      • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM

        Good catch. Yeah, that turned out to be a pretty important pinch runner substitution.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        THE NatsNut? Welcome back. It’s good to see you here.

      • NatsNut - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        :) (waving)

  11. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Here’s a thought. If the Nats win tonight, does Fredi rest his regulars Wednesday, since they could not then clinch here? Just a thought.

    • letswin3 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      He’s probably still thinking about home field advantage, so he may play all of em.

  12. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    Desi sounds hoarse. Yelling, or coming down with something?

    • David Proctor - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      He pretty much always sounds like that, but there was a lot of yelling during the walk-off celebration.

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Time to go gamble… And put it all on Red #2…. Hopefully I can check in with y’all later…

    Beat the damn braves…. Again!

    Go Nats!

  14. TimDz - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    1) What does anyone know about the Braves pitcher for the nightcap?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      I know how to look him up.
      Freddy Garcia stats

    • David Proctor - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      Isn’t it Freddy Garcia? He owned us in Baltimore, but he’s not any good. Soft tosser.

      • ronnowinarlingtonnotreston - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Unfortunately, the Nats have a penchant for making soft-tossers look like Nolan Ryan. But I’m hoping this afternoon’s game was the offense’s “day off” following a big output (11 runs on Sunday) and they’ll be back to scoring 5 or 6 tonight to back a smooth and easy performance from Ricardo Montalban :)

        As for the Gattis homerun, it’s a shame the bullpen guys can’t chat with the starters before they face a batter. Strasburg would have definitely told Clip not to try the high, out-of-the-strikezone fastball. Go back and see what he did to one that Stras threw that was at least six inches high out of the zone. I think it’s still going….

  15. David Proctor - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    First time in 225 major league appearances that Craig Kimbrel has given up three runs.

    • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      NIce catch.

      His ERA was a sparkling 1.04 (with 47 saves) entering the 9th inning today.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

        So … like I said, not zero.

        I’m guessing we won’t see him tonight, regardless. Let’s get into the bullpen early this time, men.

    • NIWatcher - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      I believe the last run was unearned.

  16. adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    OK — we beat them with only four hits — just three singles and a double over nine innings. That’s kinda lucky.

    Let’s hope that was our “off” game. (You know, the game where we say “this great hitting can’t keep going on forever, etc.”)

    And that game #2 is our “on” game.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:47 PM


      Hoping for domination tonight…. Want to win 11-3…

      • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:53 PM

        Score doesn’t matter — just get the W. And hope the Reds get an L.

  17. adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Chase — as natsnut noted above: that wasn’t Ramos scoring in the 9th, it was pinch-runner Kobernus

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      I get the distinct impression Chase doesn’t read the comments. He never seems to respond, or fix anything. I worry they brought him up too soon.

      • adcwonk - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM


  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    I’m hoping the catharsis will loosen some glutes down there and they’ll start having fun again.

  19. thecynicin408 - Sep 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Even the most jaded (or cynical) Nats fans have to pumped about this. I was a couple of outs away from tossing in the towel on the season and the Nats kept plugging to grab this marvelous outcom.

    Did we exhibit some of the same weaknesses and tendencies that have cost is for much of the year? Did we have to have good fortune at the end to recover? Certainly to both queries.

    But we’ve had enough bad breaks, bad bounces and other stuff go against us this year. Let’s focus on the fact that somehow, some way, our guys were able to take advantage (and to do it against a closer who has pretty much owned us). Great going and let’s keep it going tonight! For one more game, for one more day, let’s keep the admittedly improbable dream alive!

    • thecynicin408 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Sorry for the typos: “to be pumped” and “outcome” (plus any others I missed. Don’t do so well posting via blackberry.

  20. mainejustice - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    So confused why there is so much emphasis on making sure the Braves don’t clinch the division in DC. The Nats are supposed to want to win SO THEY CAN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS! Jeez, if Atlanta wins two out of three isn’t the bigger story that the Nats are basically eliminated from the postseason???? Let’s get our priorities straight.

    Go Nats!

    • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:01 PM

      one and the same thing as far as I am concerned.

  21. David Proctor - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Ramos is finally getting a game off, as expected.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      Probably pinch hits.

      • Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        Could be. But his streak is games started at catcher, not games played. That streak comes to an end tonight. Congrats to Wilson for a pretty awesome accomplishment.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        It is game started and who said differently. It’s not like he’s going for a MLB record. Besides Yadiers streak this year included games at 1st base I believe.

    • NatsNut - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Part of me was half hoping he wld be crazy enough to keep going. Still, its nice that the double header is kinda forcing a rest.

  22. Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    I agree NN. It would have been hard to convince him to take a day off the way he is playing. But even he has to concede that starting both ends of the DH would be insane.

    Speaking of insane, I imagine Chase is still recovering from his speed-rewrite of the Instant Analysis post. Probably had to start madly editing it while the inning was underway. I noticed that his last timestamp entry on the game post was kind of brief. We probably should cut him some slack on this one. He’s a gamer for sure.

  23. Section 222 - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    That was only the sixth time all year, in 62 appearances, that Kimbrel had given up a run, and, as DP noted, the first time in his big league career that he had given up 3 runs. (I’m counting runs, not earned runs, here.) In his previous 224 appearances from 2010 until now, he had given up 2 runs only 9 times.

    Given that, I think this may go down as the most miraculous Nats win ever.

  24. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    I was following game on and saw Gattis’s HR and decided to head home. ‘No way we make the comeback against the best closer in the game’, I thought. I thought wrong. Just checked the score and we won. How awesome is that! Glad to be proven wrong. Just think about this, Simmons of all people (the one with crazy advanced defensive numbers) made the error for us to win the game.

    • ronnowinarlingtonnotreston - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      I basically did the same thing, Faraz. Was watching here at work and after that I was done. Imagine my shock to see that not only did we win, but had to score THREE to do so…and off Kimbrel. I almost passed out. Combine that with Milwaukee’s miraculous comeback being down 5-1 on Sunday to beat the Reds, and I’m wondering if the baseball gods have finally forgiven the team for its hubris early this season.

    • letswin3 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      I wouldn’t mind seeing that play a couple more times…..was it a CLEAR error? I know he touched the ball, but wasn’t it just a little “tick”? My thought at the time was that it was a hit.

      • letswin3 - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        But I’ll take em anyway we can get em……….huge win.

      • Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 6:32 PM

        actually I think most SS should be able to get to that ball given that it was a bit slow, sort of a perfectly placed dribbler. Whether they would be able to throw Span out, I am not so sure. Simmons got there in enough time to throw out Span at first because he has such great range but maybe he over-thought it (hoping to throw Kobernus out at home or something).

  25. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 17, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    25.9 UZR/150 for Simmons at SS in 1245 innings. Next best is 14.4. Yeah, he is that good.





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