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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Braves 0

Jun 21, 2014, 10:00 PM EST

AP AP

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: After heartache last night, would this finally be the night the Nationals would get past that oh-so-pesky roadblock known better as the Atlanta Braves? In a word, yes.

Doug Fister was brilliant, tossing eight scoreless innings in a big-time start by the big right-hander. And the Nationals lineup delivered three clutch hits — two by Anthony Rendon, one by Ryan Zimmerman — to get to Atlanta ace Julio Teheran.

A sellout crowd of 40,677 was able to sit back and enjoy a ballgame between these two teams for once, celebrating only the Nats’ eighth win over the Braves in their last 28 encounters. This one was particularly significant, considering the manner in which last night’s 13-inning game was lost, and the fact the Nationals are now back in first place in the NL East heading into Sunday afternoon’s finale of this big, 4-game showdown.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: As much as they’ve struggled to score runs against the Braves, the Nationals were going to need to do the little things right tonight. And they did. They scored their first three runs on on three singles, a double, two walks, a sacrifice bunt and … a balk. Rendon delivered the first RBI single, lacing a base hit to center in the bottom of the third to bring home Jose Lobaton, who pulled off a nice slide to avoid the tag. Then in the sixth, the Nationals took advantage of Teheran’s baffling need to keep stepping off the mound. He made an illegal move, got called for the balk, and that ultimately allowed Adam LaRoche to score on Zimmerman’s RBI single to center. Then Fister’s well-executed sacrifice bunt in the seventh helped set the stage for Rendon’s RBI double. As great as 3-run homers are, sometimes you’ve got to be able to manufacture a run or two. And the Nats did that particularly well tonight.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Talk about coming up big when your team needed it most. Fister was The Man for the Nationals tonight. Calm and collected throughout, he tossed eight shutout innings, scattering five hits and a walk, striking out three and coming up with big pitches the few times he really needed them. Fister again did it all. He fielded his position well. He put down two perfect bunts. He worked fast. He threw strikes. He was, in short, the stopper in a big game.

KEY STAT: Nationals batters have struck out at least seven times in each of their last 10 games.

UP NEXT: This 4-game series wraps up at 1:35 p.m. Sunday when Tanner Roark seeks his seventh win of the season against fellow right-hander Ervin Santana, who is 5-4 with a 4.12 ERA.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    That Soriano guy really sucks!

  2. David Proctor - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    Fister is a big game pitcher. There’s nobody I’d rather have out there in an important game. He might not be as likely to dominate as some others on the staff, but I feel certain he won’t implode and hell, he CAN dominate like he did tonight.

    • Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:03 PM

      I agree, DP!

  3. Dannyellinosa - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    GYFNG!

  4. mauimo22 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Nice job Doug! Monkey off back, now let’s get the Split tomorrow!

    GO NATS!

  5. Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:13 PM

    IAnd I wonder, wonder,wonder, who, who, who, who’s back in first?

  6. Joe Seamhead - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Hey SWM and mick? Feel free to share some crow with the rest of us.

    • micksback1 - Jun 22, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      crow taste good. I said if nats lost 4 in a row it would be doom, glad to be wrong

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    That’s what I’m talking about. They got Fistered! And Rendon’d!

    • micksback1 - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Caligula would have been proud, lol

      hee hee

  8. rmoore446 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Right now. I agree that Fister is who I want up in a big game. Is there a chance the Nats will want to
    extend him if this good performance continues? We do have a group ready to graduate and he will want a multi-year contract.

    • npb99 - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:09 AM

      I recall some news story that Rizzo already tried and Fister turned it down, just like Desi and JZ did. Lot of guys want to test the market.

  9. thelatencn - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Mr. Fr., after all, has not been part of any Nationals losing streak to the Braves. What, him worry? And he had the right strategy. If they don’t score any runs, they can’t win.

  10. sjm308 - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    4 and 0 since returning from Italy!!
    Who wants to buy me a ful season package?
    Rendon made two plays tonight that Zimm would have not been able to make
    He should never move from 3 rd

    • waddueyeno - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:37 PM

      Italy. Going for two weeks of ” work.”
      How many games will that win for us ?
      Gyfng

    • micksback1 - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      if I could afford it, i’d pay for the whole season for you coach, lol

  11. natsfan1a - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Ha! Take that, monkey! Gotta love Fister.

    Interesting that the broadcasters commented on the top-button-open jersey “routine.” Noticed it in last night’s game but missed the back story then, if one was given. Keep ‘em open, guys. If you think it works, it works. ;-)

    How about Harold Reynolds jinxing Teheran on the walk-less stretch? And Julio and Gattis not being on the same page. At all. Good thing there wasn’t a slugout in the dugout. I don’t think Teheran would have come out on top there. Gattis is a big boy.

  12. jd - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    I am glad Gattis won’t be in the lineup tomorrow. I was wrong about him. He is a really good hitter. Werth needs a week off in the worst way.Totally loist at the plate.Zim hit the ball hard his last 3 times at bat.The last one a hard liner the opposite way. great sign.

    • sjm308 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:43 PM

      JD – I think I also underestimated the Braves lineup. Even after you got through 1-6, you still had tough outs with Johnson and Simmons. Tonight Lobaton reached base two of his three ABs but usually after we get past 1-5 its pretty much hit or miss. This is why getting Bryce and Wilson back will be huge. I can deal with Desmond swinging for the fences in the 7 or 8 spot a lot better.

      As usual, I don’t read the in game stuff (especially since I was at the game!) – did anyone comment on the two great sacrifice bunts Fister layed down? Both were just perfectly placed and each time Lobaton came around to score.

      Also, my All-Star choice had a nice easy 1-2-3 inning so there is that as well.

      Go Nats!!

      • Joe Seamhead - Jun 22, 2014 at 5:32 AM

        Joe Seamhead – Jun 21, 2014 at 9:32 PM
        My wife says, “We love you, Fister!.” Nice bunt.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      A week off for Werth? Come on. He needs a dayoff here and there.

      • sjm308 - Jun 21, 2014 at 11:57 PM

        agree – no one on our roster needs a week off (except for Dobbs)
        I would not mind seeing Werth get two days off though, and the way Desmond missed just about everything thrown to him, I think he could use a day or two as well. Hard to look at my score book and see those 4 K’s for Ian and it also amazed me that we struck out 11 times in this game. Just huge to score that first run against these guys in my opinion.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jun 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        Hopefully Werth gets the dayoff tomorrow.

    • ehay2k - Jun 22, 2014 at 10:31 AM

      Totally agree about Werth needing a break. He may still be compensating for leg injuries suffered earlier in the year.

  13. scnatsfan - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Was such a pleasure not getting the Braves feed here

  14. natsjackinfl - Jun 21, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Right. Being successful isn’t enough. It needs to be perfect.

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