Atlanta Braves' first baseman Freddie Freeman improved to 42 for 93 with runners in scoring position this season with a one-out RBI single to center in the top of the first inning of this evening's game with the Washington Nationals in the nation's capital. Freeman drove Jayson Heyward in to make it 1-0, and the Braves' hitters made a control-challenged Jordan Zimmermann throw 27 pitches in the opening frame of the finale of the three-game set in D.C., but they got just the one run off the Nats' 27-year-old right-hander in the first. Nationals' batters went down in order to right-hander Kris Medlen in a 10-pitch bottom of the inning. 1-0 Atlanta after one.
Jordan Zimmermann left a 3-2 slider up for B.J. Upton to crush for a leadoff double to left in the top of the second, but Andrelton Simmons flew to right, Kris Medlen K'd looking and Jason Heyward rolled one out to first for the final out of a 13-pitch inning that had the Nats' starter up to 40 pitches total after two. Kris Medlen had retired six straight on 25 pitches after he got groundouts to third from Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche and got Ian Desmond looking with a 1-2 fastball that MLB.com's Gameday's Pitch Tracker and the Nats' shortstop thought was outside. 1-0 Braves after two.
Ian Desmond fielded a backspin blooper behind second base and rushed a throw to first that got by a lunging Adam LaRoche but hit Justin Upton's back foot and stayed in play. Jordan Zimmermann needed 12 pitches to get the next three outs without Upton leaving first in what ended up a 17-pitch third that had him up to 57 pitches and still down 1-0. Kris Medlen threw an 0-2 fastball by Anthony Rendon for the seventh straight out recorded by the Braves' starter. Wilson Ramos and Jordan Zimmermann sent weak grounders back to the mound and out to third, respectively, and Atlanta's right-hander had himself a quick, nine-pitch third, after which he'd retired the first nine batters he'd faced on 34 pitches. 1-0 Braves.
B.J. Upton singled to left on a 94 mph 1-1 fastball after Jordan Zimmermann walked Dan Uggla to start the top of the fourth. Andrelton Simmons' single to left loaded the bases with no one out and earned the Nats' starter a visit from Nationals' pitching coach Steve McCatty. Kris Medlen took a first-pitch fastball to center that Denard Span tracked down, but it was good enough for a sac fly and a 2-0 Braves' lead. Zimmermann threw a rising 94 mph 1-2 heater by Jason Heyward for a swinging K and out no.2, but Zimmermann missed with a 3-2 slider to Justin Upton, loading the bases back up for Freddie Freeman, who was 42 for 94 on the year when he he K'd swinging through a 2-2 slider to end a 31-pitch 4th that pushed the Nats' starter's pitch count up to 88 after four. 2-0 Braves.
Denard Span popped to right-center for the tenth straight out recorded by Kris Medlen. Ryan Zimmerman grounded weakly to third. Bryce Harper... walked, ending Kris Medlen's bid for a perfect game. Jayson Werth took care of the no-hit bid in the next at bat, hitting a two-out, two-run, opposite field home run over the out-of-town scoreboard to tie it up at 2-2 after four in D.C.
Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 88 P, 54 S, 1/4 GO/FO.
Tanner Roark started the fifth, making his major league debut after Davey Johnson lifted Zimmermann. Nine pitches later, the 26-year-old right-hander had a scoreless 1-2-3 inning vs the Braves to start his MLB career. Kris Medlen needed 14 pitches for his own 1-2-3 fifth. Still 2-2.
Denard Span slid for a blooper to short-center by B.J. Upton, but couldn't make the catch. Tanner Roark jammed Andrelton Simmons and sawed his bat off at the handle on a pop to first for the first out of the Braves' sixth then dove for a popped-up bunt by Kris Melden and threw to first to double Upton up and end a six-pitch top of the inning. Still 2-2 in D.C. After a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, Kris Medlen had allowed just one hit and one walk in six innings of work in which he'd thrown just 77 pitches.
Fernando Abad took over in the seventh and got a groundout to second from Jason Heyward to start the frame, but an 0-1 fastball to Justin Upton was out over the plate instead of inside and it ended up in the left field bullpen for a one-out solo home run that gave the Braves a 3-2 lead. Freddie Freeman singled in the next at bat, but Abad struck Brian McCann out before Davey Johnson went to the pen again. Ryan Mattheus came on to face Chris Johnson and got an inning-ending grounder to short to end the top of the seventh. 2-1 Braves after six and a half.
Jayson Werth was 2 for 3 tonight after singling through short with one down in the Nats' seventh for the second hit of the night off Kris Medlen. Adam LaRoche reached out for a 1-2 change and singled to right to send Werth from first-to-third™. Ian Desmond stepped in with runners on the corners and grounded into a force at second, but did so weakly enough to avoid the DP. 3-3 after seven in D.C.
Dan Uggla K'd swinging through a full-count fastball from Ryan Mattheus. B.J. Upton was 3 for 3 tonight before he missed a 3-0 fastball then lined out to right on a full-count two-seamer. Andrelton Simmons doubled to center on a first-pitch cutter for a two-out, two-base hit and Joey Terdaslovich took a full-count fastball for ball four and a two-out walk. Davey Johnson went to the pen again for Ian Krol against Jason Heyward and Krol gave up an RBI single to right on an 0-2 curve that scored Simmons from second to make it 4-3 Braves. Justin Upton lined to left in the next AB to bring in Terdaslovich and Heyward and make it 6-3 Atlanta after seven and a half in the nation's capital.
Steve Lombardozzi hit a pinch hit single to short left that Andrelton Simmons couldn't reach, but Denard Span lined to center for out no.2 of the Nats' eighth. Ryan Zimmerman stepped in with a runner on and two out against Braves' right-hander David Carpenter and popped out to short to end the eighth. 6-3 Braves.
Chris Johnson singled to right to start the ninth, but Wilson Ramos threw his pinch runner, Jose Constanza, out at second when he tried to steal a base. B.J. Upton was 4 for 5 after he single to left with two down, but Andrelton Simmons' fly to left ended the top of the inning. Still 6-3 Braves. Craig Kimbrel came on to close things outs. Bryce Harper doubled to center on a 98 mph full-count fastball, lining one to right-center for a two-base hit. Jayson Werth walked on five pitches to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Adam LaRoche, but the Nats' first baseman took a 2-2 slider knee high outside for a called strike three and out no.1. Ian Desmond K'd swinging at a 97 mph 2-2 fastball up high inside. Anthony Rendon worked the count full and walked to load the bases. Wilson Ramos went to a 2-2 count and lined out to right. Ballgame. Braves win, 6-3 final.
Nationals now 54-60