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Instant analysis: Nats 4, Braves 1 (11)

Aug 10, 2014, 2:29 AM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: They were all set to play at Turner Field on Friday night. Pitchers warmed up. Players stretched. They sang the national anthem. And then at 7:03 p.m., 7 minutes before scheduled first pitch, they rolled out the tarp in anticipation of heavy rain which arrived a few minutes later. Little did they know then they’d have to wait out a 3-hour, 41-minute delay before the first pitch of this game actually was thrown. And little did they know how late they’d still be here before this game ended.

Tanner Roark and Aaron Harang engaged in a tight pitchers’ duel, each right-hander surrendering only one run over seven innings and each wriggling his way out of some tight jams. That left things in the hands of the two bullpens. Newcomer Matt Thornton got through a scoreless eighth, with help from a diving Kevin Frandsen in left field. Drew Storen then pitched out of a ninth-inning jam, sending this game into extra innings at 1:33 a.m.

The Nationals finally broke through in the 11th, with Wilson Ramos delivering the go-ahead, bases-loaded single to center and Kevin Frandsen adding a 2-run double for good measure. Rafael Soriano then closed it out, untucking as the Nats pulled off a marathon victory to retake a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL East at 2:29 a.m.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The Nationals couldn’t get anything going against the Braves’ top relievers, but once they got deeper into the pen, they finally delivered. Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche led off the 11th with singles against David Carpenter. Fredi Gonzalez then brought in left-hander James Russell to face Bryce Harper, who drew a key walk to load the bases. Next, Gonzalez brought in Anthony Varvaro, and Ramos greeted him by lining his first pitch into center field for the RBI single. Frandsen then put the nail in the coffin with his 2-run double to right, capping an impressive, late-night rally.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Long rain delays. The Braves lineup. A hostile environment. Nothing seems to faze Roark, who was effective as ever tonight. The right-hander did get himself into several jams, but he showed some impressive fortitude in pitching his way out of them, inducing a pair of key double plays. Atlanta did get to him for one run in the sixth on Jason Heyward’s broken-bat sac fly to center, but Roark bounced back from that to escape a bases-loaded pickle without surrendering anything more. He wound up with seven innings of 1-run ball on 110 pitches, yet another strong effort from the most-surprising member of the Nationals’ rotation.

STREAK WATCH: Denard span kept his streak alive in dramatic fashion, tripling to left-center in the top of the fifth. He has now reached base in 35 straight games while also producing a hit in 12 straight games.

UP NEXT: Though both teams will leave the park exhausted after the late night, they’ll have the luxury of sleeping in since they’re not playing til 8:05 p.m. Sunday. ESPN’s national audience will see lefties Gio Gonzalez and Alex Wood go head-to-head in the series finale.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:30 AM

    WooooHooooo!!!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:30 AM

      You can say that again! Biggest win of the year!

      • rayvil01 - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:00 AM

        Agreed. Have won last 3 of 4 from ATL.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    Great pitching from all of the boys tonight!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:33 AM

      Great point. From starter to all relievers.

    • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:36 AM

      +1

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:31 AM

    Who is staying up with me for the Post-game and MLB Network Quick Pitch after that?

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:35 AM

      I am watching. Don’t have to get up til 9

    • conatsguy - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:41 AM

      I’m there, only 12:40 in Colorado

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:43 AM

      Let me know when they start talking about the Nats…

  4. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    Ramos gets credited with the Game Winning RBI

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:36 AM

      Correct, but Frandsen, made it lot easier for Soriano, who pitched great.

  5. David Proctor - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    We’ve won 3 of our last 4 against the Braves and the loss, we nearly came back from down 7-0.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:32 AM

    Bosox/Angels headed to the 16th

  7. Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:33 AM

    What happened with LaRoche, I guess on the Bonifacio AB?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:34 AM

      Turface type of hop that out of nowhere bounced up like it hit rubber and hit him in the chest.

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:35 AM

        Ah…no injury though?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:38 AM

        Just a bruise I would think.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:37 AM

        No just band bounce, heads up pkay by Cabrerra and Soriano almost got the out.

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:38 AM

        Good deal.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:33 AM

    Crap, I don’t think I’ll get to sleep for a while. Great pitching, but the 3B coach needs to rethink his approach.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:35 AM

      Same with me. Henley has gotten away with some stuff but he has to dial it back. That was just dumb risking Ramos like that. What the heck was he thinking?

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:37 AM

        I agree re: risking Ramos, otherwise I’m on board with that decision.

        Granted I didn’t have eyes on it and don’t know much about Freeman’s arm/accuracy.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:39 AM

        Freeman was 45 feet from homeplate when he retrieved the ball.

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:41 AM

        Ah, gotcha.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:43 AM

        I am into aggressive base running, but that was another really stupid send, but all’s well that ends well. Frandsen after getting the bad jump, and then recovering to make what should’ve been a routine catch into a great one was the game saving play. I still don’t like infielders in the outfield.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:48 AM

        I always believe aggression on the basepaths is a factor of the situation which is first and foremost the # of outs, the outfielder, the cutoff man, and the baserunner and other factors like weather conditions, score, etc.

        The # of outs dictated you hold Ramos. The speed of the baserunner dictated you hold Ramos. The health of the baserunner dictated you hold Ramos.

        Dumb.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:50 AM

        Steve, I agree on all points.

  9. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Bravo! I had expected to watch the first four or five innings before having to leave for a family commitment. As it turned out, I got to watch the last five innings — much better. Well done Nats!

  10. Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Oh yeah, wanted to reiterate: love how MW managed the bullpen tonight. Love that we were using our best when it really mattered.

    Loving the Thornton pick up so far.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:37 AM

      +1

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:37 AM

      Thornton could be the guy MW needs in the pen.

      • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:39 AM

        Rizzo should be in jail for stealing Thorton for nothing.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:41 AM

        It was a salary dump by the Yankees if you can believe that. Remember, the Nats are on the hook for 2015 also.

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:39 AM

        Certainly shaping up that way. A left handed Storen-caliber guy would be fantastic, and so far that seems to be plausible.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:47 AM

        Sometimes I wonder how well DJ would have done with this BP….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:53 AM

        Better. This bullpen is shaping up. They will be better in the post-season.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:55 AM

        Mrs. B? Davey would’ve had a much better year with this BP. Hell, he would’ve done a lot better if the real Drew Storen had shown up and if the knucklehead Mattheus hadn’t been an idiot.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:37 AM

    I won’t be able to sleep for a while after this win…. GREAT NIGHT EVERYONE (except Henley)… Totally wicked win!

  12. David Proctor - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:37 AM

    A series win would be huge, but we’ve done the most important thing and that’s avoid the sweep. We’re guaranteed to leave ATL up at least 3.5. If Gio throws great tomorrow, I’ll be thrilled, but I won’t be too upset if he doesn’t either. It’s a bonus.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:40 AM

      I feel a win tomorrow

    • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:41 AM

      +1.

      So glad we came in strong off the Mets series, came back with a vengeance last night, and made it all matter with a win tonight.

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:42 AM

      I called a series win with either an SS loss or Gio loss…. Gio will be efficient and effective tomorrow… I think we win…

  13. manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:40 AM

    I feel its time to call Jake from State Farm.

    • thelatencn - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:29 AM

      LOL big time.
      But she sounds hideous.

  14. pchuck69 - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    >>>They were all set to play at Turner Field on Friday night. Pitchers warmed up. Players stretched.

    It was Saturday night.

    • NatsLady - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:45 AM

      Good point. Sitll, nice writing.

  15. manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:42 AM

    Big Papi now 1 for 5 with a sac fly, and walk, on to the bottom of 16

  16. Another Tyler - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:43 AM

    Yeehaw

  17. Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    OK, nighty night NatsTown. Good times tonight!!!

  18. manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    Werth Ok

  19. NatsLady - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:44 AM

    I felt bad Ramos got thrown out, but it wasn’t the worst thing that he got to take a breather in the dugout before crouching in the 11th.

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:48 AM

      He should have been resting at third,

      Loboton tomorrow?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:49 AM

        8pm game with a day-off on Monday. Don’t really need to.

  20. manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    Ask him about Taylor

  21. snopes1 - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:46 AM

    Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it seems to me that Werth’s pinch hitting and Steven Souza’s running for Werth — combined with Michael Taylor’s call-up — means that Scott Hairston will be released or DFA’d on Sunday

    • manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:48 AM

      +1

  22. Smyrcok - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:49 AM

    Heroic

  23. manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:50 AM

    trout on deck bottom of 16

  24. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:52 AM

    Nats highlights are next on MLB Network!

  25. manassasnatsfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:53 AM

    On to the 17th.

  26. David Proctor - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:54 AM

    David O’Brien ‏@DOBrienAJC 1m
    #Braves Fredi G asked about using Russell to face LH batter despite reverse splits, said that’s why they got the LH reliever. That’s all.

    So they got a guy to do a job he can’t do and they’re going to keep putting him in those spots. Lmao. And people complain about MW.

    • David Proctor - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:55 AM

      David O’BrienVerified account @DOBrienAJC
      #Braves were “shocked” and ticked off at waiting around for nearly 4 hours to play, thought the game should’ve been called.

      Um, prior to first pitch, it’s up to the team to decide, is it not?

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:01 AM

      Fredi is not doing the managing job that he did last year. Actually this year is what I expected out of him last year. Who knew that Chris Johnson would have his carrier year last year? Combine that with Freeman, and Gattis, and Fredi looked smart.he’s going to destroy Kimbrel before this season is over.

  27. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:54 AM

    17th inning in Anaheim!

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:55 AM

      Soon position players will be pitching!

  28. ArVAfan - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:57 AM

    I was not expecting them to still be playing when I got up this morning! Just what I wanted : anxiety with my bangers & mash. But a big WOO-HOO and off to Edinburgh. Try to finish the next one a bit more timely?

  29. MicheleS - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Just a great win

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:00 AM

      Hi Michele. Missing you. We had fun tonight.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:05 AM

        An overall terrific crowd on the blog tonight. I wish it was always this pleasant. People can be critical of the Nats without being total jerks while doing so.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:09 AM

        Yah, it was a terrific crowd and a fun night on here. I only had to put 1 person in place after they showed up to blast Bryce after his baserunning mistake.

      • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:14 AM

        Notice I said “overall” terrific crowd.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:15 AM

        True.

  30. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 2:59 AM

    Another point is Roark struggled to bases loaded and no outs in the 6th and held the Barves to only 1 run. That is a key. He bent, but he didn’t break.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:02 AM

      Agreed. That was huge!

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:07 AM

        +1!

    • rayvil01 - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:09 AM

      Pretty amazing story is Roark. No one saw him coming. He’s a solid #2 or 3. Freebie. That will boost a rotation in a hurry.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:13 AM

        Absolutely clutch.

      • thelatencn - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:27 AM

        Our staff consists of five #2’s IMHO.

  31. Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:06 AM

    Figures I can’t sleep. Watched highlight video (AtBat).

    Is Harp OK? Looked like it may have been just bat vibration getting to his repaired thumb?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:12 AM

      Exactly Eric. Bat vibration stung his ligament in his thumb.

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:14 AM

        Cool…hope he’s not too sore from it…was that late in the game?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:16 AM

        I think it was his 3rd at-bat. He was fine later.

    • David Proctor - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:13 AM

      That happened before in Miami. Funny, he got hits both times after that. But yeah, it’s normal returning from the injury. It’s like a stinger. It hurts when he gets jammed, but once it goes away, he’s fine.

      • Eric - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:15 AM

        OK, so he got a hit after? Sweet.

  32. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:15 AM

    Angels had bases loaded and 1 out and can’t score. On to the 18th.

  33. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    Cohost, one negative that I see. Look at how many hits, XBHs, steals, and walks that Span has, yet how few runs scored. He got stranded two more times tonight, even after getting a triple. He’s doing his job setting the table, but he does get LOB way too much.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:20 AM

      Not “cohost” but Ghost. Getting punchy here!

      • Section 222 - Aug 10, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        Freudian slip? :-)

  34. Drew - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Roark drops his career ERA to 2.499 in 201.66 career innings.

  35. Joe Seamhead - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:30 AM

    BTW, the Braves are closer to 4th place than they are to being in 1st place. How sweet it was when I noticed that when looking at the standings!

  36. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 10, 2014 at 3:41 AM

    Pujols wallkoff in the 19th

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