Great Outing by Shelby Miller Spoiled, Nationals Beat Braves in Extras

Braves4With a couple of mediocre starts in a row for Shelby Miller, he had the opportunity to recapture his rhythm against a team he’s had enormous success against from his time with the Cardinals. He didn’t disappoint at all. Miller was back to his regular self with another efficient outing. He faced the minimum through six innings with only one hit allowed in the fourth, but that was negated by a Yunel Escobar double play.

The Nationals finally got to Miller in the seventh inning with a little bit of luck. Denard Span drew a leadoff walk in which Miller seemed to be squeezed quite a bit on two of the balls. Anthony Rendon followed that up with a weak chopper that got by Kelly Johnson and put runners on first and second. Escobar grounded into a fielder’s choice for the first out, and runners were on first and third for Bryce Harper. Harper got jammed on an inside fastball from Miller, but the ball blooped just over Jace Peterson’s glove for an RBI single to put Washington on the board. Miller retired the next two batters to get out of the jam, but the damage was one run scored without a hard hit ball in the inning. That would be the end of the night for Miller.

Jordan Zimmermann also had it going on the mound. He’d been in bad form over his last three starts, but he seemed to find it against Atlanta on Wednesday night. Zimmermann threw eight scoreless innings allowing six hits and no walks with three strikeouts. The Braves threatened a couple of times and hit some balls hard, but nothing fell, and Zimmermann escaped untouched. Neither Washington starter has allowed a run through the first two games.

Heading to the ninth, the Braves were down a run with Drew Storen coming in to close it down for the second night in a row. Like game one, Atlanta started a rally, but they were able to come through and tie it up this time, even if they should’ve gotten more. Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski led off the inning with singles, and Pierzynski took second base on a dumb throwing error by Bryce Harper to put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Joey Terdoslavich was then intentionally walked to load the bases for Kelly Johnson. Johnson did his job. He flew out to center field for a sacrifice fly that scored Markakis to tie the game. Unfortunately, Terdoslavich made a terrible decision to try getting to second base on the flyout and was thrown out for the second out. Instead of runners at the corners with one out, it was a runner on third with two outs, and Andrelton Simmons grounded out to end the inning. It was an inning that easily could’ve won the game for the Braves.

After a scoreless ninth from Jason Grilli, the game headed to extra innings. The Braves were 2-3 in extras going into the game, while the Nationals were 4-1.

Cameron Maybin nearly drove in a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning with a drive to left field, but once again, the ball wasn’t able to miss a glove for Atlanta, and the game headed to the bottom of the 10th.

The Nationals had a threat in the 10th with two on and one out, but Luis Avilan came in and forced two groundouts to end the inning.

After the Braves failed to score in the 11th, Dana Eveland was brought in, and the Nationals once again started a one-out rally. They were able to capitalize on it this time. Harper started it off with a double into the right-center field gap. Wilson Ramos was intentionally walked, and then Eveland walked Clint Robinson to load the bases. David Aardsma was called upon to try to get a ground ball, but Ian Desmond lined one to left field to bring home Harper for a game-winning sacrifice fly to give the Nationals the 2 Р1 win.

The series wraps up with a 3:05 p.m. Thursday matinee. Braves rookie right-hander Matt Wisler (1-0, 1.13) will get teh start while teh Nats will counter with Doug Fister (2-3, 4.80) who looks to build off his first start back from the DL, Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast as we will join the game in progress at 4:00 PM.