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Nationals Battle Back, But Drop 3-2 Decision To Braves In Grapefruit League Action

Jordan Zimmermann started for the Washington Nationals on Thursday night, throwing three scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves. The Nats battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie it in the top of the ninth before the Braves claimed a walk-off win...

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Zimmermann's second start of the spring against the Atlanta Braves began with a groundout to second by Jason Heyward that a rangy Anthony Rendon ran down and handled. Justin Upton's swinging K and Freddie Freeman's flyout to left field ended a quick, 1-2-3 frame for the Washington Nationals' 27-year-old starter who was facing the Braves for the second time this spring tonight in Champion Stadium at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort...

Braves' third baseman Chris Johnson singled with one down in the Braves' second, hitting a line drive to right fielder Steven Souza, but Zimmermann struck Dan Uggla out and got a force at second off Andrelton Simmons' bat on the way to his second scoreless inning.

With the game still scoreless after two and a half innings, Zimmermann came back out for a third inning of work against Atlanta.

Matt Lipka, 21, a 2010 Braves' 1st Round pick, singled with one down and was almost picked off by Nats' catcher Jose Lobaton, but the throw to first got by Tyler Moore, allowing Lipka to move all the way around to third.

Braves' left fielder Justin Upton walked with two outs in the third to put runners on the corners for Freddie Freeman, after Zimmermann struck Jason Heyward out, but Atlanta's first baseman K'd swinging too, ending Zimmermann's third scoreless inning in the Braves' spring home and his second Grapefruit League outing.

Blake Treinen gave up singles by Evan Gattis and Dan Uggla in a scoreless inning of work in the fourth.

Anthony Rendon was 2 for 3 tonight with singles off Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel after he hit a one-out single to right off Kimbrel in his third at bat in the fifth. Rendon was stranded at first, however, when Danny Espinosa lined out to left field on another hard-hit ball, the likes of which Matt Williams pointed to as a good sign when the Nats' skipper talked about Espinosa's work at the plate this spring a few days back.

Treinen gave up a one-out single by Jason Heyward and a two-out walk to Freddie Freeman in the bottom of the fifth, but he got a fly to right from Evan Gattis to complete his second scoreless inning of work against the Braves.

Ross Ohlendorf made his first Grapefruit League appearance in the bottom of the sixth. Ohlendorf, 31, made an early exit after giving up the game's first run. Edward Salcedo, 22, an infield prospect in the Braves' organization, singled to start the frame, Dan Uggla walked and Andrelton Simmons reached on an error by Jeff Kobernus. With the bases loaded, Braves' outfielder Todd Cunningham singled on a fly to center Eury Perez couldn't come up with, 1-0 Braves.

Ohlendorf left the game there. No immediate explanation for the exit.

More info when available...

Aaron Barrett replaced Ohlendorf in a no-out, bases-loaded jam and got a double play grounder out of Matt Lipka though a second run scored. 2-0 Braves.

The Nationals rallied once again, however. Chris Snyder homered to start the ninth, taking 24-year-old right-hander Lay Batista deep to cut Atlanta's lead in half, 2-1, and Michael A. Taylor hit a two-out RBI single to tie it up at 2-2 after eight and a half.

The Braves won it in the bottom of the inning though.

A leadoff walk from and a wild pitch by Danny Rosenbaum put Joey Terdoslavich on third with two down and 26-year-old minor league catcher Braeden Schlehuber came through with a walk-off single that ended the game. 3-2 final.