May 27, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
• Sunday Night Baseball: Tonight's game was Washington's second on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball this year, (the Nationals lost to the Phillies in D.C. and lost Jayson Werth to injury on May 6th), but it was the first nationally- televised game against the Nats' NL East rivals from Atlanta on ESPN's SNB since 2008 when the Nationals and Braves broke in Nationals Park in the Inaugural home opener in the nation's capital's then-newly-built ballpark. Tonight's game took place in Turner Field, and it was the finale of a three-game series in which Washington had already won two, putting themselves in the position to sweep a series for the 10th time this season. Before tonight's game they were (0-9) in those games.
• Beachy vs Gio: Game three with the Braves started with Nats' leadoff man Steve Lombardozzi grounding out to second vs the pitcher with the lowest ERA in the Majors, Brandon Beachy. Bryce Harper walked with one down and took third on a two-out double to right by Adam LaRoche, but Atlanta's 25-year-old right-hander just ended up lowering his league-best ERA to 1.74 on the year after he got Ian Desmond swinging to end a 23-pitch opening frame. Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez (1.98 ERA) walked Michael Bourn in the first at bat of the Braves' first, and had Atlanta's leadoff man steal second, take third on a sac bunt by Tyler Pastornicky and score on a grounder to short by Martin Prado. 1-0 Braves with two out in the first.
• Duel: Gonzalez issued a two-out walk to Dan Uggla but got a fly to right from Matt Diaz that Harper tracked down to end a 28-pitch first inning in Turner Field. The Nationals went down in order in the second with Beachy throwing a quick 12-pitch frame. Nine pitches got Gonzalez through a 1-2-3 bottom of the second. Bryce Harper came to a hard stop around first, planting his right cleat and kicking up the infield dirt as he settled for a two-out line drive single to center off Beachy on a 93 mph 2-2 four-seamer inside in the Nationals' third, but the Braves' right-hander dropped an 0-2 slider in on Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to strand Harper at first and end the top of the inning.
e Movie-Title-Referencing Joke]: Braves' center fielder Michael Bourn lined to right-center for a one-out triple off Gio Gonzalez in the Braves' third. Tyler Pastornicky got a bunt down with Bourn charging from third on the suicide squeeze and Atlanta took a 2-0 lead over the Nationals in the third. A 16-pitch inning had Gonzalez at 53 pitches after three innings in Turner Field.
• Don't Walk LaRoche!!: Adam LaRoche walked to start the fourth, then reached second safely on a grounder up the middle off Ian Desmond's bat. Braves' shortstop Tyler Pastornicky fielded it as he crossed in front of second and made a backhand toss to the bag, but second baseman Dan Uggla couldn't hold on to it and both runners were called safe on the fielder's choice attempt. First and second no outs. A walk to Danny Espinosa loaded the bases. Beachy struck Rick Ankiel out with a high 1-2 fastball for the first out of the frame, but Nats' backstop Jesus Flores came through with a one-out RBI single to left to make it 2-1, and Gio Gonzalez got enough of a first pitch slider to tie it with a sac fly to center that was deep enough to bring Desmond in. 2-2 game. A 26-pitch inning had Beachy up to 81 pitches after four innings in Atlanta.
• Nats' Gio: Gio Gonzalez threw a high 95 mph heater by Eric Hinske to end a quick, 11-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth after the Nationals rallied to tie it. Adam LaRoche walked with two down in the top of the fifth, but the Braves' Beachy got Ian Desmond looking with a 1-2 slider to end a 19-pitch inning at 100 pitches even on the night. Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez threw a 95 mph 1-2 fastball by Jason Heyward, barehanded a bunt attempt and threw a strike to first to get Braves' catcher J.C. Boscan and threw a full-count heater by the opposing pitcher to complete an 11-pitch 5th at 75 pitches overall with just one hit, but two runs allowed on the night. 2-2 game.
• Swee.....t: A HBP on Danny Espinosa ended Brandon Beachy's night. A walk to Rick Ankiel followed in the next at bat with former Nationals' starter Livan Hernandez putting the Nats' center fielder on. Hernandez got behind Jesus Flores in the at bat after that and gave up an RBI single to center on a 2-1 sinker outside. 3-2 Nationals take the lead. Gio Gonzalez bunted Flores over in the next at bat and Steve Lombardozzi took a high fastball from Hernandez to right field for a two-run double that made it 5-2. Hernandez got Bryce Harper swinging with a 63 mph bender, but gave up back-to-back two-out singles by Ryan Zimmerman (who drove Lombardozzi in, 6-2) and Adam LaRoche before a groundout to second by Ian Desmond ended the Nationals' sixth.
• Eleven Straight: Gio Gonzalez struck out the side on 17 pitches in the bottom of the sixth, recording his 6th, 7th and 8th K's and setting down his eleventh straight Braves' batter after Michael Bourn's triple in the third and his 16th of 17 overall following the two-out walk to Dan Uggla in the first. Jesus Flores singled with one down in the Nats' seventh, but was injured somehow on another sac bunt by Gonzalez. Carlos Maldonado took over at second for the Nats' backstop and Livan Hernandez to pitch out of the inning, but the Nationals still lead 6-2 after seven in Turner Field.
• Gio Walk Ends Streak: Braves' second baseman Dan Uggla walked to start the Braves' seventh, breaking the Nas' lefty's streak of batters retired. Matt Diaz and Eric Hinske both K'd swinging in the next two at bats though and a groundout to second by Jason Heyward ended a 16-pitch frame. Gonzalez was up to 108 pitches and 10 K's and done for the night...
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 10 K's, 108 pitches, 69 strikes, 10/1 GO/FO.
• Revenge For That Curve: In the next at bat vs Livan Hernandez after Harper K'd swinging at a low-60's bender, Bryce Harper took the veteran right-hander deep to right-center on an 0-1 slider for the 19-year-old outfielder's fourth HR of 2012. 7-2 Nationals. Craig Stammen gave up a one-out single in the eighth, but completed a 14-pitch inning without allowing a run. Braves' right-hander Cristhian Martinez struck out the side in a 20-pitch top of the ninth. Stammen came back out for the bottom of the frame. Martin Prado popped out. Dan Uggla doubled with one down, but Stammen struck Matt Diaz out for the second out of the inning. Davey Johnson brought Sean Burnett out for the lefty vs lefty matchup with Eric Hinske and Burnett got the swinging K to end it. The Nationals win, 7-2 final and they sweep the three-game series with in Atlanta...
• Miss The Game? The D.C. Faithful Were Watching...
• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: ( - Doghouse's humorous musings on how the outcome's affected):
Nationals now 29-18.