Apr 6, 2014, 4:19 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 2-1 on Sunday to avoid the sweep in the teams’ first series of the season. The game started as a strong offensive showing by the Nats, but quickly turned into a pitchers duel between Taylor Jordan and Braves’ lefty Alex Wood. Wood gave up three straight singles in the first before settling in to retire 13 straight. He escaped the first inning with just a run allowed and kept the game close through seven innings of work.
The Braves tied the game on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning before a solo home run by Ian Desmond in the seventh gave the Nats the lead once again. Jerry Blevins, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano came in to close it out and push the Nats to 4-2 on the season in front of 34,327 fans at Nationals Park. It was Soriano’s first save of the year.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: With the Nats laboring through scoreless inning after scoreless inning against Wood, Desmond took matters into his own hands to begin the bottom of the seventh. He took the first pitch he saw – a 87 mph fastball – for a monster home run to left field, a ball that nearly landed on the concourse. It was a solo shot and gave the Nats a 2-1 lead.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Taylor Jordan was excellent in his first start of the 2014 season, allowing just one run through 6 1/3 innings of work. He gave up six hits and two walks with three strikeouts on 89 pitches. The Braves finally broke through with a run off him in the top of the sixth after 5 1/3 scoreless innings to start.
The Braves led the inning off with a Freddie Freeman single followed by a Chris Johnson double. Dan Uggla then hit a long fly ball to left-center to bring home Freeman on the sacrifice fly. Jordan left the game in the seventh with a man on second, but Jerry Blevins retired the next two batters to end the inning. Jordan took a no-decision as the game was 1-1 when he exited, but it was a strong outing overall.
KEY STATS: Jordan has now allowed just one run through 12 1/3 career innings in two starts against the Braves; Nats are now 4-2 through their first six games for the third consecutive year.
UP NEXT: The Nationals have the day off before the Miami Marlins come to town. The Marlins have been an early season surprise with a record of 5-2 through their first seven games. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.50) will go up against Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 9.00).
**Also of note: Ryan Zimmerman pinch-hit for Tyler Clippard in the bottom of the eighth, despite being held out of the lineup with a sore shoulder. We’ll find out more after the game.**
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 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: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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