• While Washington's 35-year-old veteran right-hander Livan Hernandez was able to work his way in and out of trouble Tuesday night against Atlanta in Nationals Park, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 5 walks in 5.1 IP over which he threw 123 pitches, 71 for strikes and kept the Nats ahead or at least tied the entire time he was on the hill, Wednesday's starter, 25-year-old right-hander Luis Atilano was unable to hold a lead, surrendering one after another each time the Nats jumped ahead of the Braves in a game that wouldn't be decided until the two teams had played ten frames. Atilano gave up a leadoff and two-out walk in the first but escaped trouble with some Livan-esque luck, allowing the Nationals to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame when Nyjer Morgan doubled, took third on a sac bunt by Adam Kennedy and scored on a sac fly by Ryan Zimmerman, but in the second the rookie righty paid for his mistakes.
Another leadoff walk to Braves' first baseman Troy Glaus in the second came back to hurt Atilano when Omar Infante took the second of two two-strike sliders deep to left and out of the park for a two-out, 2-1 Braves' lead that lasted just half an inning. Ian Desmond started the Nats' second with his second HR in two games, launching a 94 mph 1-0 fastball from the Braves' Tommy Hanson deeeeep to left and into the visitor's bullpen to tie the game at 2-2 before Roger Bernadina singled, took second on a sac bunt and scored on Nyjer Morgan's go-ahead RBI double. Given a 3-2 lead, however, Atilano returned to the mound and gave up a one-out double on a 1-1 curve up and inside to Martin Prado, and an RBI single to Chipper Jones on a 1-1 fastball down the middle. 3-3 after three...(cont.)...
A leadoff single by Martin Prado, a double by Chipper Jones and an RBI groundout with one down by Troy Glaus put the Braves were back on top 4-3 after four and a half, but Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's one-out RBI single scored Adam Kennedy in the home-half of the frame tied it up at 4-4. Atilano returned to the mound for the start of the sixth and gave up a double to Matt Diaz on the first pitch he threw before issuing the fifth walk he'd allow to Omar Infante to put two on with no outs and the pitcher due up. After Tommy Hanson K'd trying to bunt, Atilano was finally lifted with two on and the score tied at 4-4. Sean Burnett came one and gave up an RBI double to Nate McLouth and an RBI groundout to Martin Prado to once against put the Nats down, 6-4 after six innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, however, the Nats fought back once more, tying the game at 6-6 when Josh Willingham scored Ian Desmond, who'd reached on an error, and Roger Bernadina who'd doubled off ATL righty Takashi Saito with a two-run single. Nats' closer Matt Capps threw a quick 1-2-3 ninth and came back out for the tenth after the Nationals went down in order to Kris Medlin in the bottom of the frame. A leadoff single by Troy Glaus off Capps in the tenth, a sac bunt by Melky Cabrera and an RBI single by Matt Diaz put the Braves back up by a run, at 7-6, and this time the Nats can't come back. Atlanta's closer Billy Wagner gives up a leadoff single to Cristian Guzman then closes it out for his third save of the season and the Braves' 12th win.
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• Braves win, 7-6 over Nats.
Nationals now 14-13.
• Game Notes:
-- Luis Atilano goes 5.1 IP, allows 6 hits, 6 runs, 6 ER and 5 walks while striking out 4 and surrendering 1 HR on 98 pitches 58 of them strikes. After Atilano, Sean Burnett, Tyler Walked and Brian Bruney (in one of his best outings), hold the Braves scoreless til the 10th when Capps gives up the lead and takes the loss in his second inning of work.
-- Ian Desmond? Last night we here at FB said he'd officially arrived, tonight he continued to prove he's here to stay with his second HR in two days...on a 94 mph fastball from Tommy Hanson nonetheless. Roger Bernadina was 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored. Nyjer Morgan 3 for 5. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn were 0 for 6 combined in the middle of the order, though Dunn's Discerning Eye did draw 3 walks. Ivan Rodriguez was 2 for 5 with an RBI, his 11th, and a big CS in the first that helped Atilano out of trouble.
-- Omar Infante's first pitch swinging helped Brian Bruney with a quick first out in the eighth, and the Nats' right-handed reliever struck out pinch hitter Brooks Conrad and popped up Nate McLouth for a quick 9-pitch scoreless frame in the 8th.
• Rubber match Thursday at 7:00 pm EST in NatsTown.