Tim Hudson gives up a leadoff single to Cristian Guzman and issues a two-out walk to Nick Johnson, bringing up Austin Kearns, who lines to right, Guzman comes round third, Jeff Francouer fields and throws...There's gonna be a play at the plate...the throw beats Guzman, catcher Brian McCann makes the tag as Guzman slides to avoid it..."You'rrrrre OUT!" the Ump yells. Atlanta Braves' starter Tim Hudson does not give up runs to the Washington Nationals.
Bottom of the first, 3-1 pitch to Martin Prado...fastball from Chico, Prado doubles to left center..."A foot to the left of Cy Young," My Brother Scout, Braves Fan and Source For All Things Baseball interjects, referring to the player likenesses on the Ted's outfield walls. Yunel Escobar bunts Prado to third. Chipper Jones hits a sac fly to left. 1-0 Atlanta after one.
Johnny Estrada starts the top of the second with a single. Wily Mo Pena strikes out. Felipe Lopez grounds into a DP, and Matt Chico's heading back to the mound...
Brian McCann takes a high 2-2 fastball 400 ft to center where Lastings Milledge can do nothing but watch it go over the wall. 2-0 Braves on Brian McCann's home run. Atlanta's right fielder Matt Diaz singles under a diving Felipe Lopez and into right. Diaz steals second on DC catcher Johny Estrada. Gregor Blanco goes with an outside fastball from Chico and pushes it through short, moving Diaz to third. Tim Hudson bunts with the count full and gets it down, Diaz hovers halfway down the line until Ryan Zimmerman has to throw to first because no one is covering third...Diaz cruises in, 3-0 Braves. Martin Prado doubles over Wily Mo Pena's head in left...Gregor Blanco scores. 4-0 Braves after two.
Cristian Guzman gets his second hit of the night, doubling to center off Hudson to lead off the third. Lastings Milledge's ground out to short moves Guzman to third. Chipper Jones grabs a weak grounder from ZImmerman with his barehand and throws Zimmerman out at first, showing the young third baseman how he's done it for over a decade.
Matt Chico hangs a curve to Brian McCann for a one-out single in Braves' third, and then gives up a double to Matt Diaz. Gregor Blanco gets the intentionals to bring up Tim Hudson. CHICO WALKS THE PITCHER! Walking in a run. 5-0 Braves. Ryan Zimmerman makes a diving play on a Prado grounder, Zimmerman takes the force at second, but no DP, a run scores. 6-0 Braves. Lastings Milledge and Wily Mo Pena collide in center as Pena catches the final out of the frame off Prado's bat. (ed. note - "After Pena makes the catch, Lastings Milledge looks slightly annoyed since he'd called it, and just rolls his eyes at Pena...along with, I presume, the entirety of the DC faithful fanbase.")
Matt Chico gets a one, two, three fourth for his first scoreless frame of the night. Felipe Lopez hits a one-out double, one hop and over the walll just left of center. ("He hit Kid Nichols," another player on the outfield wall, Scout interjects.) Rob Mackowiac pinch hits for the pitcher, and hits a ground ball off Martin Prado's glove, Felipe Lopez tries to take home, and Yunel Escobar picks up the carom and throws home in time to nail Lopez at the plate. Cristian Guzman singles on a 1-1 pitch from Hudson for Guzman's third hit of the night. Lastings Milledge takes a ball, but the Ump calls it strike three to end the fourth.
"Wild" Joe Hanrahan replaces Chico (L, 0-4, 6.04 ERA...4.0 IP, 8 hits, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K's, 1 HR allowed). Hanrahan holds the Braves off the board with a scoreless inning of relief. Hudson gives up a hit, but pitches way to his sixth scoreless frame. Joel Hanrahan gets Martin Prado trying to hold up a check swing. Hanrahan knocks Yunel Escobar flat on his back with a 95 mph heater high and tight, and then gives up a line drive single to right. Chipper Jones aims a low 2-1 fastball off his bat and right through the opening at short for a single. Two on for Tex...Mark Teixeira goes down swinging. Hanrahan saws off Jeff Francouer, but all it results in is a broken-bat-bloop single to center, and an RBI single no less. 7-0 Braves after six.
Felipe Lopez walks with one out in the seventh. Willie Harris...lines to right...Lopez rounds third, Francouer throws it in...AGAIN? No...Lopez slides in safely, 7-1 Braves. Cristian Guzman reaches on an error when Mark Teixeira gets handcuffed by an underhand toss from Prado. Lastings Milledge flies out to center. Willie Harris tags and scores. Ryan Zimmerman ropes a single to left...Tim Hudson's done for the night...(Hudson's line - (W, 3-1, 2.93 ERA...6.2 IP, 10 hits, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's.) Royce Ring on to face Nick Johnson. Lefty vs Lefty...Johnson grounds out to short. 7-2 after six and a half. Jesus "Everyday" Colome pitches a long scoreless seventh.
Buddy Carlyle comes on to pitch the eigth for Atlanta and gives up back to back singles to Kearns and Johnny Estrada to start the inning. Wily Mo Pena floats one out to second. Felipe Lopez stares at a full-count fastball for strike three. Aaron Boone grounds to third, Chipper Jones barehands it and throws it away...Kearns scores...Boone tries for second...AND GETS THROWN OUT!!! Unbelievable...7-3 Atlanta.
The Flat-Brimmed Middle Reliever Chad Cordero walks Yunel Escobar, the first batter he faces in the eigth. A wild pitch allows Escobar to take second. Cordero pops up Chipper Jones. Mark Teixiera goes down looking. Francouer rips one to third. Zimmerman makes a diving stab, jumps up, throws to first...in time to end the eigth. Manny Acosta's up to end it for Atlanta. Crisitian Guzman ?? Lastings Milledge takes an inside pitch off the elbow pad. Zimmerman battles to a full count and lines a single to center. Nick Johnson grounds out to first. Manny Acosta gets Austin Kearns looking at strike three for a backwards K and a 7-3 Braves win.
Nationals now 5-15.
Random #'s and ?'s...
The Flat-Brimmed Closer Watch -
Chad Cordero gave up a walk in his inning of work, but retired the Braves eventually and remained unscored upon in 3.0 IP this season, during which he's allowed 3 hits and 3 walks with 3 K's. Cordero was throwing in the mid-80's, and the Braves' batters still had a hard time connecting...Will the velocity return? Does Cordero need the extra 5 mph?...
Last season on April 21st...Cordero, then as now (0-0), had appeared in 8 games, had only 1 save, and had a 5.40 ERA after a blown save in Florida, and Cordero had allowed 12 hits, 5 runs, 2 HR's, and 7 walks...So what's everyone worried about? Oh that's right, he was throwing in the low-90's then...But It's Never Too Late for the Flat-Brimmed Closer to get it together...
I Know I'm Not the Only One...
...Because my Brother Scout, Braves Fan and Source For All Things Baseball noticed too...Chico and Johnny Estrada never seemed to be on the same page tonight...Estrada seemed surprised by the movement of several pitches, and Chico never seemed comfortable on the mound or with his location...Does Paul Lo Duca handle pitchers better than Estrada? (ed. note - They'd better handle pitchers well, cause neither of them has an arm anymore.") Was this something with Estrada, or is Chico just struggling all on his own?
Just To Update The #'s...through 20 games...
Elijah Dukes - 0 for 2 in 2 AB's, 0 hits.
Dmitri Young - 1 for 2 in 2 AB's, 2B, 1 RBI.
Ryan Zimmerman - 19 for 84, .226 AVG, 4 2B, 2 HR, 7 RBI's.
Nick Johnson - 14 for 59, .237 AVG, 7 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI's.
Austin Kearns - 16 for 70, .229 AVG, 2 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI's.
Ronnie Belliard - 12 for 56, .214 AVG, 4 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI's.
Wily Mo Pena - 3 for 30, .100 AVG, 1 RBI.