Nationals' Starter Taylor Jordan Holds Braves Down In Series Finale

Mitchell Layton

Taylor Jordan held the Atlanta Braves to one run on six hits in 6 1/3 IP in the series finale in Nationals Park on Sunday and Washington's 25-year-old right-hander once again impressed with his ability to work quick innings and induce ground ball outs.

Taylor Jordan pitched around an error in the first at bat of the game, getting a double play grounder out of B.J. Upton to take Jason Heyward off the basepaths. Another groundout by Freddie Freeman ended a quick, seven-pitch opening frame. An 0-1 fastball to Atlanta Braves' shortstop Andrelton Simmons got Jordan a grounder to third, stranding two runners in the second inning. Back-to-back walks one-out walks and a base-loading infield single in the fourth were followed by a swinging K from Gerald Laird and a force at second on another grounder to third by Simmons.

"He was just calming me down. He said that he didn't really have anything to say to me. He just wanted to kind of give me a little breather." - Taylor Jordan on Steve McCatty's

With the Nationals up 1-0 after five, the Braves put runners on the corners in the top of the sixth with a Freddie Freeman single and Chris Johnson double, which was the only extra base hit the Nats' 25-year-old starter allowed in Sunday's. After Jordan struck Justin Upton out with a full-count change, he receieved a visit to the mound by Nationals' Pitching Coach Steve McCatty.

"He was just calming me down," Jordan told reporters after the game. "He said that he didn't really have anything to say to me. He just wanted to kind of give me a little breather."

A sac fly by Dan Uggla followed as the Braves tied the game up at 1-1 and a fly to left by Laird ended the sixth.

Jordan was lifted after Simmons singled to start the seventh and was bunted into scoring position by the opposing pitcher, Alex Wood. Nats' lefty Jerry Blevins struck Jason Heyward out and a low liner to short by B.J. Upton kept things tied at 1-1 until Ian Desmond stepped up and hit a first-pitch fastball out to left on the first pitch of the home-half of the frame.

Jordan's line in start no.2: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 89 P, 54 S, 8/5 GO/FO.

In his full innings on the mound, the Nats' '09 9th Round pick average 13.7 pitches per inning, with the seven-pitch inning in the first and a nine-pitch inning in the fifth helping to keep his pitch count down and, more importantly, as Jordan explained, get his teammates back into the dugout and up to the plate.

"I'm impressed with the way he went about it. Got in a couple of jams, but used his sinker to get out of it." - Matt Williams on Taylor Jordan vs the Braves

"Having those quick innings is something that I love having," he said. "Getting in and out of the dugout as quickly as possible. Get our team back up hitting."

Nationals' Manager Matt Williams was impressed with the right-hander's work in a tightly-contested battle with the Nats' NL East rivals.

"I'm impressed with the way he went about it," Williams told reporters. "Got in a couple of jams, but used his sinker to get out of it. One early on. Especially a ground ball to third to get out of one, so that's what he's got to do. He's got to throw his fastball because it sinks so well. He's one pitch away from a double play all the time, so he pitched very well."

In his first full year back from Tommy John surgery last summer, Jordan started at High-A Potomac, moved up to Double-A and eventually made his major league debut with the Nationals. Jordan was (1-3) with a 3.66 ERA, a 3.49 FIP, 11 walks (1.92 BB/9) and 29 Ks (5.05 K/9) in 51 2/3 IP, finishing the year at +0.7 fWAR. In 339 minor league innings in the Nats' system, he allowed just 14 HRs. Through 58 major league innings, he's allowed just three home runs. Would he be in the majors right now if Doug Fister was available?

Maybe. Maybe not. But on the mound on Sunday, he once again looked liked he belongs in the Nationals' rotation.

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