Turner Field's fans booed Bryce Harper lustily when the 2010 no.1 overall pick stepped in to face Atlanta Braves' lefty Alex Wood with two down in the opening frame of tonight's game. Washington's 20-year-old left fielder hit an opposite field double to left off the 22-year-old, 2012 2nd Round pick, taking a 94 mph 3-2 fastball the other way for his 13th two-base hit of 2013, but the Nats' second-year slugger was stranded at second base when Jayson Werth grounded out to third to end a 19-pitch inning by the Braves' rookie lefty. 24-year-old Nats' '09 9th Round pick Taylor Jordan gave up a line drive single to center on the first pitch he threw to Jason Heyward in the bottom of the inning, then had the Braves' outfielder steal second on ball four to Justin Upton and take third when Wilson Ramos threw one by the bag and into center. With runners on first and third and no one out, Freddie Freeman grounded into a 4-6-3 DP that put Atlanta up 1-0 early in the series opener in Georgia. 15-pitch first for Jordan one out later.
Alex Wood threw a 3-2 fastball by Ian Desmond for a swinging K in the top of the second. After Adam LaRoche and Wilson Ramos both flew out to Jordan Schafer in center, the Braves' left-handed starter had two scoreless innings on 32 pitches and a 1-0 lead. Taylor Jordan left a 1-1 slider up in the zone outside that Chris Johnson sent back up the middle for a leadoff single in the home-half of the second, but Jordan Schafer lined into a 5-3 DP with Ryan Zimmerman making the catch and strong throw to Adam LaRoche and Andrelton Simmons K'd swinging through a 2-2 fastball to end the bottom of the second inning after 11 pitches from the Nats' starter, who was up to 26 total on the night.
Anthony Rendon lined the first pitch of the third to left for a leadoff single, but Taylor Jordan bunted Rendon over to second/gave up an out and Denard Span K'd chasing a 1-2 change out of the zone before Ryan Zimmerman K'd looking at a 2-2 curve that Alex Wood backdoored him with to end a 14-pitch frame and starter's third scoreless inning on the mound. 46 pitches for Wood after three. Paul Janish lined an 0-1 slider to center for a single in the bottom of the inning and the third straight leadoff runner in three innings against Taylor Jordan. Wood struck out trying to bunt for the first out of the frame, but Jason Heyward advanced Janish into scoring position with an opposite field line drive single and his second hit of the night in two ABs. Justin Upton grounded into what could have been an inning-ending 6-4-3, but Heyward went in hard at second and Anthony Rendon threw one by first. E:4. 2-0 Braves. 27-pitch third for Jordan, 53 total after three innings pitched.
Alex Wood missed with a first-pitch curve inside that hit Bryce Harper in the back/side. Jayson Werth's single to center sent Harper from first-to-third™, and the Nationals too got their first run on a double play grounder when Ian Desmond grounded into a 6-4-3 that allowed Harper to score. 2-1 Braves after three and a half when Adam LaRoche K'd looking to end the Nats' fourth. Taylor Jordan missed outside with a 3-1 fastball and walked Jordan Schafer with one out in the Braves' fourth, then surrendered a line drive single to right by Andrelton Simmons that put two Braves' runners on, but another 6-4-3 DP ended a 13-pitch inning that had Jordan up to 66 pitches, down 2-1 in Atlanta.
Wilson Ramos lined a long single off the wall in left on a bounce to start the top of the fifth, but Justin Upton got it back in quickly to hold the hamstring-addled catcher at first. Anthony Rendon hit an opposite field single through the hole in the right side of the infield on a full-count fastball outside from Alex Wood. Taylor Jordan bunted both runners over/gave up an out, but Denard Span K'd swinging out an 0-2 fastball for out no.2 and Ryan Zimmerman stepped in with two on and two out, and grounded out to second to end the top of the fifth, still 2-1 Braves.
Justin Upton singled with two down in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 1-0 slider from Taylor Jordan through the left side and Freddie Freeman reached base and sent Upton around to third on a grounder to first that bounced off Adam LaRoche and ricocheted into right. Brian McCann grounded out on the first pitch he saw though, and the Nats' right-hander had an 11-pitch inning and 77 pitches total after five.
Bryce Harper K'd swinging for the first out of the sixth to the delight of the fans in Turner Field. Jayson Werth hit a sharp grounder to third that Chris Johnson handled for out no.2 and Ian Desmond went down on a check-swing strike three and Alex Wood's eighth K. Jordan Schafer singled to center off Taylor Jordan with one down in the Braves' sixth, but the Nats' right-hander got Andrelton Simmons swinging with a diving 1-2 change and got a groundout to third from Paul Janish to end a 17-pitch inning at 94 pitches. Janish's groundout gave Jordan 11 on the night.
• Taylor Jordan's Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 94 P, 59 S, 11/1 GO/FO.
Adam LaRoche's swinging K gave Alex Wood nine on the night and ended his outing as the Braves turned to the pen for David Carpenter with one down in the seventh. Carpenter quickly retired the next two batters to keep it 2-1 Atlanta after six and a half in Turner Field. Craig Stammen took over for Taylor Jordan in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order in a 16-pitch frame after which it was still 2-1 Braves.
Andrelton Simmons made a backhand play deep in the hole at short and threw a bullet across the infield that Freddie Freeman handled for the first out of the eighth. Denard Span popped a bunt attempt up to the pitcher. Ryan Zimmerman doubled to center to bring Bryce Harper up with the tying run on second and Luis Avilan hit Harper in the back, once again to the delight of the Turner Field crowd. Jayson Werth stepped in with two on and two out and singled through the right side to bring Zimmerman in and tie it at 2-2. Ian Desmond's groundout to third ended the inning, but it was a brand new ballgame. Craig Stammen came back out in the bottom of the inning and retired the Braves in order for two scoreless frames.
Craig Kimbrel came on in the top of the ninth and gave up a leadoff single on a line drive to right by Adam LaRoche. Paul Janish made a diving play and ridiculous toss from his back to get a force on a grounder to second by Wilson Ramos for the first out of the frame, but Chad Tracy singled with one down and Steve Lombardozzi beat out the back end of a DP grounder on a potential 3-6-1, but Denard Span grounded back to the mound to end the top of the ninth. Drew Storen came back out for the bottom of the inning. Jordan Schafer K'd looking at a backdoor slider. Andrelton Simmons took a 1-1 sinker to center for a one-out single. Storen got up 0-2 on Evan Gattis, and got him swinging with a 2-2 slider inside for out no.2 of the ninth. Gerald Laird stepped in for a pinch hit at bat, and flew out to right to end the bottom of the inning. 2-2 after nine in Turner Field.
Scott Downs got a grounder to second from Ryan Zimmerman and right to Braves' second baseman Philip Gosselin who was making his MLB debut. Bryce Harper took a one-out walk after almost getting hit for the third time tonight, but was doubled up on a Jayson Werth grounder to short that started an inning-ending 6-4-3. Ian Krol came on for the bottom of the tenth, and gave up a one-out solo home run by Justin Upton that gave the Braves a walk-off win. 3-2 final.
Nationals now 59-62