Denard Span doubled to open the final game of the four-game set for the Washington Nationals in Atlanta's Turner Field. Span, who hadn't scored a run in 13 games heading into tonight's, took third on a wild pitch with Steve Lombardozzi at the plate against the Braves' Kris Medlen, and scored on Lombo's RBI single to left. 1-0 Nationals early in game four. Three quick outs later Medlen completed a 15-pitch first by striking out Ian Desmond. Dan Haren K'd the second and third batters he faced, Chris Johnson and Justin Upton, after a groundout from Jordan Schafer started what ended up being an eight-pitch 1-2-3 inning for the Nats' veteran right-hander. 1-0 Washington.
Adam LaRoche just missed a home run on a fly to right that bounced off the wall, then just missed getting thrown out at second when Jordan Schafer made a nice play to get it back in. Anthony Rendon took a 1-2 fastball from Medlen the other way for a single that moved LaRoche to third. Wilson Ramos hit a grounder back to the pitcher that allowed the Braves' pitcher to catch LaRoche in no man's land off third. One out, and Haren bunted both runners over to give Denard Span a two-out shot and the grounder Span hit toward third went through Chris Johnson's legs allowing two runs to score on what was originally ruled an error.* 3-0 Nationals after one and a half. Two fly balls to Denard Span in center and a grounder to Anthony Rendon at third ended a quick, five-pitch, 1-2-3 second for Dan Haren. 13 pitches total in two scoreless.
[ed. note - " * = Span's grounder was later ruled an RBI double, 2 ER on Medlen. Not fair."]
Ian "Double" Desmond did it again! Desmond hit a ground ball through the right side for a two-out, two-base hit (his 11th) in the Nats' third, but he was stranded at second when Justin Upton made a running ankle-high catch in left to rob Anthony Rendon of an RBI hit after Medlen had walked Adam LaRoche to put two runners on with two down. Still 3-0 Nationals after two and a half. Dan Haren popped B.J. Upton up on the third pitch of his third inning of work against the Braves, setting down the seventh batter in a row to start the game. Andrelton Simmons' grounder to third made it ten-straight set down, but a two-out walk to the opposing pitcher ruined Haren's run at a perfect game. A high 2-2 fastball bounced off Wilson Ramos' mitt and sailed to the backstop, moving Medlen into scoring position, but a 3-2 splitter got a swinging strike three from Jordan Schafer. 17-pitch inning, 30 overall for Haren after three.
Kris Medlen needed seven pitches to retire the 8-9-1 hitters in the Nats' fourth. 59 total through 4.0 IP. Two grounders to the mound got Dan Haren two quick outs on six pitches in the Braves' half of the frame, but a two-out single to right by Freddie Freeman broke up the Nats' right-hander's no-hit bid. As MLB.com's Mark Bowman noted on Twitter, that broke an 0 for 36 streak for Atlanta's hitters. The second hit, as it often does, followed in quick succession with Evan Gattis singling through short in the next at bat, but Dan Uggla's groundout to short ended a 14-pitch inning with Haren at 44 pitches overall.
Steve Lombardozzi lined to short on Kris Medlen's 61st pitch for the first out of the fifth. Bryce Harper took an 0-2 fastball inside for a called strike three and out no.2. Roger Bernadina hit for Jayson Werth in the next at bat, and flew out to left as the speculation began about which of Werth's injuries was responsible for his exit. B.J. Upton was 10 for 31 vs Dan Haren before tonight's game, but he was 0 for 2 tonight after he flew out to left to start Atlanta's fifth. A groundout to third by Andrelton Simmons and a foul pop Ian Desmond tracked down off Medlen's bat had Haren through five scoreless on 51 pitches after a seven-pitch frame.
Anthony Rendon, in what's likely his last game of his first stint in the majors, singled to center with two down to leave him 2 for 3 so far tonight, but he was stranded on the basepaths when Wilson Ramos grounded out to short to end the Nats' sixth. Dan Haren needed six pitches to get three outs in the home-half of the frame with Anthony Rendon barehanding a bunt and throwing Jordan Schafer out, Roger Bernadina catching a fly to right from Chris Johnson and Adam LaRoche catching a foul pop off first from Justin Upton. 6.0 scoreless on 57 pitches by Haren.
Kris Medlen pitches around back-to-back one-out walks to Denard Span and Steve Lombardozzi in the top of the seventh, getting a groundout from Bryce Harper and a backwards K from The Shark. 104 pitches overall for the Braves' starter. 3-0 Nationals after six and a half. Freddie Freeman grounded out to his counterpart on the Nats on Haren's 58th pitch of the night. The strong wind in Atlanta knocked a fly to center from Evan Gattis down in fairly shallow center field. Haren started behind Dan Uggla, however, and left a 3-2 cutter up that the Braves' second baseman crushed. Solo home run, 3-1 game. A pop to second from B.J. Upton ended the seventh with Haren at 69 pitches overall.
Cory Gearrin walked Anthony Rendon with two down in the Nats' eighth, but a groundout to first by Wilson Ramos ended a quick inning of relief work by the right-hander. Ian "+Range, +Arm" Desmond showed both weapons off on a grounder toward the hole off Andrelton Simmons' bat, getting to the ball and firing a strike to Adam LaRoche that "just beat" the runner to the bag. Reed Johnson hit a pinch hit single to center on Haren's 80th pitch of the game. Jordan Schafer flew to center for out no.2 of Haren's eighth inning on the mound. Haren got a visit from Davey Johnson, but not the hook. Chris Johnson stepped in next, and went down swinging at a 1-2 splitter. 8.0 IP on 90 pitches after a 21-pitch frame.
• Haren's Line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 90 P, 62 S, 10/6 GO/FO.
Denard Span singled with one down in the Nats' ninth, but after a walk to Steve Lombardozzi, Jordan Walden got Roger Bernadina swinging to end the Nationals' half of the inning. It's that time: "Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano got a grounder to short from Justin Upton. Grounder. Desmond. Out. ONE!! Freddie Freeman grounded weakly to second. TWO!!! Evan Gattis hit a two-out single to get the tying run to the plate in the form of Dan Uggla, but Uggla popped up to second to end it. Ballgame. 3-1 final.
Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!!
Nationals win, 3-1 final.
Nationals now 15-14