Game #10 Recap: Nats Let One Slip Away

In the first of 19 match-ups between the titans of the NL
East, the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, what seemed like a statement
game from the Nats turned into a nightmare.

The Nationals entered the eighth inning with a 4-1 lead on
the strength of Bryce Harper’s fifth home run on the year, RBIs from Jayson
Werth and Denard Span and Ross Detwiler’s efficient domination of the Braves
hitters over seven innings. Detwiler continued to show how much he has evolved as a pitcher, shutting down one of the most potent line-ups in the majors for seven full innings, allowing only four hits and dealing five strikeouts. It was an outing completely undeserving of the no decision it was assigned.

Davey Johnson turned to his bullpen aces in the eighth and
that’s when the trouble started. Usually reliable Tyler Clippard could only
record two outs on 35 pitches, giving up an earned run in the process and leaving
with the bases loaded. After Rafael Soriano closed out the last three games Johnson
decided to turn to Drew Storen to close out the game instead. Storen managed to
get the last out in the eighth extinguishing that fire, but immediately found
trouble of his own in the ninth.

Storen loaded the bases with a walk to BJ Upton and faced
Justin Upton. Upton grounded to third on what should’ve only allowed one run
and could’ve been the last out of the game. However, Ryan Zimmerman, playing in
the 1,000 game of his career, threw a ball intended for second base into left
field and the Braves managed to tie it up before the inning ended on the next
batter.

The Nationals were unable to walk-off in the ninth so the
game entered extra innings. Craig Stammen, the Nats extra innings extraordinaire, came in
and struggled as well, giving up a two-run home run to Ramiro Pena to give the
Braves the lead. That was all she wrote for the Nats as Craig Kimbrel shut
the Nats out in the bottom of the innings securing the save and the win for the
Braves.

The Nationals look to get back on top in the second game of
the three game series tomorrow at 1:05 as ace Stephen Strasburg takes the
mound.