You'd never know that Ryan Zimmerman had a four K three E night last night the way he confidently tears into an 2-0, two-out pitch in the first from Atlanta's lefty starter Charles "Chuck" James. Zimmerman fouls the pitch off Braves catcher Brian McCann's chest, and eventually works a walk in front of Dmitri Young, but James gets a groundout to third from DY to end the first inning of play.
Edgar Renteria's return from the DL starts with a line drive single to right off Nationals lefty Matt Chico with one out in the first. Felipe Lopez gets a tailor-made grounder from Chipper Jones, but Lopez fails to get the ball in his glove, and as it rolls between his feet, both runners are safe. Chico gives up a line drive to left to Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Chico goes 3-0 to Frenchy, aka Jeff Francouer, and throws inside for ball four to walk in the first run. 1-0 Braves. Andruw Jones hits an RBI sac fly to center. 2-0 Braves.
Nationals Hitting Coach Lenny Harris' new protege Wily Mo Pena lines a single to the opposite field off Chuck James with one out in the second. Ronnie Belliard rips a grounder that Chipper juggles at third, so the Braves settle for the force at second. Belliard looks like he's picked off second, but the Ump calls a balk to advance the runner one base. Jesus "The Future" Flores swings through strike three to end the top of the second.
Ryan Zimmerman takes Matt Diaz's grounder off his chest, but the throw to first is true in his first attempt of the evening. Matt Chico dispatches the opposing pitcher with a fastball high and tight, and gets Yunel Escobar staring at strike three to retire the Braves in order in the second.
Nook Logan lays down a good bunt, but it's his great speed that allows him to beat out Chuck James' throw to first. Felipe Lopez up with one on, one out, grounds to Renteria, to Escobar to Teixeira at first for an inning-ending DP. Matt Chico retires the Braves in order. 2-0 Braves after three.
Both pitchers put up scoreless frames in the fourth with Chico striking out the side in the bottom of the frame. Wily Mo Pena pushes Andruw Jones all the way back to the warning track in center, Ronnie Belliard lines right into Chuck James' whip-snap glove, and Chuck James then saws off Jesus Flores and gets a weak ground ball to end the top of the fifth.
After Yunel Escobar lines an infield single in the fifth, Edgar Renteria singles through short under a diving Ryan Zimmerman. Chipper Jones backs Nook Logan up to the wall in center, but Nook Logan has the ball bounce out of his glove to load the bases with one out. Mark Teixeira hits a hard grounder at Zimmerman who tags the base at third and throws...
well short of first and by DY, one run scores. 3-0 Braves. Jeff Francouer lines to deeep right, Austin Kearns tracks it and has it go off his glove and over the wall for a three-run home run. 6-0 Braves.
Justin Maxwell pinch hits for the pitcher, and goes down swinging. Nook Logan reaches on a bunt. Felipe Lopez hits a line drive single to left. Ryan Zimmerman stares at strike three on a fastball inside. DY flies out to a casually grazing Andruw Jones to end the top of the sixth. Big John Albaladejo takes the mound for the Nationals in the bottom of the frame. Albaladejo retires the side with four pitches in spite of Ryan Zimmerman's throw going wide of first on the pitcher James' groundout. 6-0 after six.
Ronnie Belliard hits a two-run-line-drive-home-run to left off Chuck James to finally get the Nationals on the board in the seventh. 6-2 Braves. Jesus Flores finds real estate in center the Andruw Jones actually can't reach. The Professional Pinch Hitter Tony Batista almost jumps out of his cleats swinging at a 1-1 change. The Professional Pinch Hitter eventually singles after fighting Chuck James, and Batista chases the Braves starter. The Australian Submariner Peter Moylan gets Nook Logan swinging at a wickit inside sinker. Felipe Lopez hits a hard grounder to short that Renteria handles. 6-2 after seven.
Saul Rivera walks Yunel Escobar and CJones and then gives up an RBI single to Mark Teixiera to make it 7-2 Braves. Rivera walks Jeff Francouer in front of Andruw Jones, who bounces one in front of the plate allowing Rivera to take a force at home. Nationals lefty Arnie Munoz is on to face Brian McCann. Lefty vs Lefty. Munoz walks in a run. 8-2 Braves. Matt Diaz lines out to end the inning.
Rookie righty Manny Acosta will pitch for the Braves in the eigth. Acosta gives up a leadoff walk to Ryan Zimmerman, but then gets DY, Kearns and Pena to end the top of the eigth. Yunel Escobar lines a solo shot to left off the hard-throwing Winston Abreu. 9-2 Hotlanta. Tyler Yates gets two outs in the ninth before Ryan Langerhans hits a triple off the wall in center. Yates gets Logan swinging to end the game. 9-2 final.
Nationals now 63-79.