Wire Taps: Nationals In Atlanta To Face Braves After Tough Loss To Giants

Kevin C. Cox

Still hurting from last night's 4-3 loss? Still upset with Rafael Soriano for giving up the ninth inning, three-run home run that turned a 3-1 lead into a one-run loss? The Washington Nationals don't have time to dwell on it, because they start a three-game set in Atlanta tonight.

The following was included in Thursday's pregame notes provided by the Washington Nationals before the series finale with the San Francisco Giants in Nationals Park:

"Washington swept home series from the Giants in 2012 (3-0) and 2006 (3-0)...the Nationals have won 7 straight home games over the Giants... Washington has also won 7 consecutive home games over the Marlins and Cardinals, but never reached the threshold of 8 straight victories in DC over a single opponent."

The Nationals were one out and one strike away from winning their eighth straight over the Giants in the nation's capital and their sixth straight overall when Rafael Soriano surrendered a three-run home run by backup catcher Hector Sanchez that turned a 3-1 lead into a 4-3 loss. The Nats' nine-game homestand, which started with three straight losses to Atlanta, ended with Washington 5-4.

Up next is a three-game weekend set with the Braves. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson talked about the upcoming series in his weekly appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s The Sports Junkies this past Wednesday. "When we get down to Atlanta," Johnson said, "We've got some unfinished business to take care of down there." After getting swept by the Braves last weekend, the Nationals are now 3-10 against the NL East's first place team so far this season.

Dan Haren, who pitched six strong innings in the series finale with San Francisco, said after the game that the Nats can't afford to linger on the loss. "We can't dwell on it too long," Haren told reporters, "because if we go to Atlanta feeling sorry for ourselves, we're going to get rolled." The Nationals will have Taylor Jordan on the mound tonight in Turner Field as they try to avoid losing their fourth straight game to the Braves...

7:30 pm EDT tonight from Atlanta. Until then, links and lots of them... starting RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!:

• "You never know which wound will strike a vital organ. You never know which loss will be the final unhinging of a season." - "Nationals’ 4-3 loss to Giants is brutal day in brutal season" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "[Rafael] Soriano thought it was a strike and couldn’t recover after thinking the game was over." - "Soriano blows save in Nats' loss to Giants" - Chase Hughes, Comcast SportsNet Washington

• "The Nats are 3-10 against the Braves this season and were just handed an embarrassing sweep at the hands of their division rivals last week." - "Nationals Pastime: The streak - and the momentum - come to an end" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "The year already had sapped most of the resolve from the Nationals, and now they will find out how much they have left." - "Nationals vs. Giants: Rafael Soriano gives up three-run homer in ninth as Washington loses, 4-3" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "Since facing the Phillies in his July 8 return, Haren has held a 2.30 ERA with 42 strikeouts and ten walks in 43 total innings. He went to the DL with a 6.15 season ERA, it’s now 4.82." - "Haren continues post-DL resurgence" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "[Hector] Sanchez, owner of three career home runs in 296 at-bats, launched the ball toward the right field foul pole turned bright yellow by the setting sun." - "Rafael Soriano surrenders homer in 9th as Nationals' sweep of Giants slips away" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "[Rafael] Soriano said he wasn't tired after pitching in every game of the series. He was more disappointed he couldn't get Dan Haren the victory." - "Soriano on 2-2 pitch to Sanchez: 'I think that is when I lost that game'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Jayson Werth is now hitting .331 through 89 games this season, only Miguel Cabrera (.360) and Chris Johnson (.337) have been better among those with at least 65 games played." - "Instant Analysis: Giants 4, Nats 3" - Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "Rafael Soriano gave up a three-run homer to Hector Sanchez with two outs and two strikes in the top of the ninth inning, turning a 3-1 Nationals lead into a 4-3 loss." - "Nationals Pastime: Davey Johnson: 'That one hurt'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com


• "Less than three weeks after he was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse, Drew Storen returned to Nationals Park on Thursday with a clear mind and more athletic delivery." - "Refreshed and relaxed, Storen returns to Nationals" - Jason Mastrodonato, Andrew Simon and Tom Schad, nationals.com: News

• "[Drew] Storen will continue to pitch out of the stretch, but the high-leg kick has allowed him to get his throwing arm up, find a consistent arm slot and pitch with a downhill plane..." - "Nationals Pastime: Storen on his return: 'I'm pretty damn happy about it, to be honest with you'" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "[Drew] Storen now returns looking for a fresh start and an opportunity to help his team salvage their season." - "Storen recalled, Mattheus to AAA" - Mark Zuckerman, Chase Hughes, NatsInsider.com

• "'I had a good opportunity to get better and get back to being myself,' [Drew] Storen said. 'It’d be stupid for me to waste it.'" - "Nationals recall Drew Storen, demote Ryan Mattheus plus lineups" - Nathan Fenno, Washington Times

• "Did [Davey] Johnson believe [Drew] Storen needed to fix the mechanical issue with his stiff leg, or was it more that he needed to get his head clear after a rough first half of the season?" - "Johnson on Storen: 'I think Drew is ready'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "I think there was a lot more stress last year. My mind was pretty tired at this point last year." - "Stephen Strasburg is feeling stronger as shutdown anniversary nears" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Taylor Jordan will get the ball for the Nationals with a limited number of starts left before he will be shut down for the season." - "Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves - August 16, 2013" - Stephen Pianovich, MLB.com Preview

• Your Daily Message From The Dalai Lama On Twitter (@DailyLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "With the Giants down to their last strike, [Hector] Sanchez hit a three-run pinch homer off Washington Nationals closer Rafael Soriano, leading the Giants to a 4-3 win that snapped a seven-game losing." - "San Francisco Giants rally in ninth to beat Washington Nationals" - Alex Pavlovic, San Jose Mercury News

• "Stephen Strasburg is approaching the anniversary date of the day he was shut down for the season by the Washington Nationals during their 2012 playoff run." - "No limit: Stephen Strasburg coming into own for Nationals" - Xander Zellner, USA TODAY Sports


• "Osceola’s tourism industry isn’t too keen on Osceola County trying to build a multimillion-dollar spring training complex for Major League Baseball's The Washington Nationals." - "Washington National's Osceola spring training complex meets opposition from local firms" - Richard Bilboa, Orlando Business Journal

• "When the Nationals signed Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million contract this past offseason, they thought they were adding an elite closer to incumbent late-game relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard." - "Rafael Soriano's struggles continue with blown save on Thursday" - Mike Axisa, CBSSports.com

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Auburn: Doubledays 3, Crosscutters 2 - James Yezzo - 2 for 4, 2 RBIs; Nick Pivetta - 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR - Auburn Doubledays Scoreboard

Class-A Auburn: "In what has become a theme this season, one late run did in the Auburn Doubledays." - "D-days split series: Crosscutters score late to top Doubledays" - Auburn Citizen

Class-A Hagerstown: "The Hagerstown Suns (33-20, 71-49) pulled off a three-game sweep of the Delmarva Shorebirds (20-33, 50-70) with a 9-1 win Thursday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium." - "Suns sweep Shorebirds with 9-1 win" - Eli Pearlstein, Hagerstown Suns News

Class-A Potomac: "Potomac RHP Paul Demny (1-1), the winning pitcher, turned in his best start as a 2013 member of the Potomac Nationals pitching stable..." - "Nationals Edge the Keys 5-4 on Strength of Demny's First Win" - Potomac Nationals News

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 6; Thunder 5 - Billy Burns - 3 for 4, 1 BB - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

Triple-A Syracuse: "Right fielder Jeff Kobernus picked up four hits and the game-winning RBI, and right-hander Caleb Clay pitched into the seventh inning without allowing an earned run in the game." - "Kobernus, Clay lead Chiefs past IronPigs" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Prior to their signing of [Anderson] Franco, the most expensive bonus the Nationals had doled out was the $385,000 they used to sign outfielder Luis Guzman." - "Nationals’ signing of Anderson Franco signals renewed commitment to Dominican Republic" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "'It was a little weird at the start, I will admit that,' [Lucas] Giolito said. 'I hadn't pitched competitively in a real situation game in such a long time.'" - "Rehabbing Giolito on target in GCL: 'I am really pleased with the progress'" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Friday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Since getting swept by ATL the Nats have gone 5-1. That's good. Unfortunately the Reds, the team the Nats need to catch to make the 2nd Wild Card, have gone 6-1." - "Back in time for that" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "For the second game in a row, Rafael Soriano gave up a long fly ball with two outs in the ninth inning that would represent runs for the San Francisco Giants (53-67)." - "Soriano Blows Save, Nationals Fall To Giants" - Erin Flynn, The Nats Blog

• "Gut Punch" - Nats Enquirer

• "Remembering 1924 – Tigers 5, Senators 2" - Mark Hornbaker, D.C. Baseball History

• "For the fifth time this season, Rafael Soriano failed to do his primary task – salvage a Nationals’ lead through the final three outs of the game." - "Washington Nationals Game 120 Review: Nats fall to Giants on Soriano’s blown save" - Alyssa Wolice, District Sports Page

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Mets: "[Zack] Wheeler struck out a career-high 12 batters in six innings as the Mets beat the Padres 4-1 in the series opener at Petco Park Thursday." - "Zack Wheeler collects career-high 12 strikeouts as Marlon Byrd double pushes Mets past Padres" - Kristie Ackert, NY Daily News

Phillies: "Now in his second season in the Phillies organization, outfielder Larry Greene has experienced both ups and downs over the course of his first 2 years." - "Greene has major league goals" - John Murrow, Philadelphia Daily News

Marlins: "Donovan Solano on Wednesday went 2 for 5 with two RBI. It was a rare productive game for a Marlins' two-hole hitter." - "Two hole one of several problematic spots in club's stagnant offense" - Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Braves: "Braves closer Craig Kimbrel just surpassed a saves record previously established by John Smoltz. Here's a look at Atlanta's closers over the past three decades." - "Braves closers: From Pena to Kimbrel" - www.ajc.com

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