First Step To A Split Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Third baseman Anthony Rendon stepped to the plate with Jose Lobaton at second base two outs after the Washington Nationals' catcher singled to right to start the home-half of the third and the Nats' 2011 1st Round pick lined a 2-0 pitch from Atlanta Braves' starter Julio Teheran to center to drive in the first run of tonight's game. 1-0 Nationals after three in D.C.
The @Nationals strike first! 1-0 over the Braves thank to a RBI single from Anthony Rendon scoring Jose Lobaton. #ATLvsWSH— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 22, 2014
Adam LaRoche took the first walk Teheran issued in 94 plate appearances with one down in the sixth and took second on a balk by the Braves' starter in the next at bat. Ryan Zimmerman connected with a 93 mph 1-1 fastball with LaRoche in scoring position and drove him in with an RBI single to center that made it 2-0 Nationals.
The @Nationals score another! Ryan Zimmerman with a RBI single scoring LaRoche, 2-0 over the Braves. #ATLvsWSH— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 22, 2014
Jose Lobaton walked to start the Nationals' seventh, moved up on a Doug Fister bunt and scored from there when Anthony Rendon lined a two-out double to center for a 3-0 lead.
Anthony Rendon does it again! 3-0 @Nationals over the Braves in the 7th after a Rendon RBI double. #ATLvsWSH— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 22, 2014
Doug Fister took the mound in the eighth at 101 pitches and completed his eighth scoreless frame after 16 pitches. 117 overall for Fister.
Rafael Soriano closed it out. Nationals win, 3-0 final.
Horrible seats! Wish I had a hook up. Geeze pic.twitter.com/X11arrDZNm— F.P. Santangelo (@FightinHydrant) June 21, 2014
4. Fister vs Braves: Nationals' right-hander Doug Fister surrendered two runs or less in six straight outings before last Sunday's start against the Cardinals in Busch Stadium in St. Louis and after his season-opening outing with the Nats against the A's in Oakland's O.co Coliseum. Over that stretch, the 30-year-old right-hander acquired from the Detroit Tigers this winter, was (5-0) with a 1.83 ERA, three walks (0.69 BB/9) and 29 Ks (6.64 K/9) in 39 ⅓ IP, over which he held opposing hitters to a .228/.252/.345 line.
Against the Cards, Fister struggled though, giving up seven hits, two walks and four earned runs in six innings in which he threw 101 pitches. Three of the four runs he surrendered came on home runs by Matt Adams, who hit a two-run blast, and Matt Holliday.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after the 5-2 loss that Fister wasn't down in the zone as he was in his previous outings.
"I just think that he got a couple of balls up in the zone," Williams said, "but I thought he pitched well."
"The two-run home run and the solo homer [were] enough for them today, but he battled through it and continued to go out there and give us a chance."
The Nationals were 6-2 in Fister's starts so far this season before tonight.
The Nats needed the veteran of six MLB seasons to play the stopper's role in D.C. in the third game of four with the Atlanta Braves in Nationals Park after they dropped the first two games to fall to 1-7 against their NL East rivals so far in 2014.
Fister faced the Braves just once in his career before taking the mound tonight, holding Atlanta to six hits and three runs in seven innings on the mound in a 6-3 Tigers' win in Comerica Park last season.
After the loss in St. Louis, Fister entered this evening's outing with a (5-2) record in his first eight starts for the Nats, with a 3.08 ERA, 4.28 FIP, five walks (0.91 BB/9) and 33 Ks (5.98 K/9) in 49 ⅔ IP. At home, in his first year in the nation's capital, the 6'8'' starter held opposing hitters to a .189/.227/.338 line with two walks (0.90 BB/9) and 16 Ks (7.20 K/9) in his first 20 IP with the Nationals.
Fister's fourth start of the season in D.C. began with a grounder back to the mound...
1st: Braves' leadoff man Tommy La Stella grounded back to the mound to start the third game of four for Atlanta in D.C. B.J. Upton and Doug Fister hit back-to-back singles on consecutive first pitches to put runners on first and third with one down. Evan Gattis popped out to second for out no.2, and Danny Espinosa made a sliding play and throw to second for the force on a Jason Heyward grounder which ended a 12-pitch top of the first for Fister.
Danny Espinosa with a BEAUTIFUL play at 2B for the @Nationals to save a run in the 1st inning. #ATLvsWSH— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 21, 2014
2nd: Justin Upton grounded to third on the first pitch of the second. Anthony Rendon handled it. Fister recorded the second out on his fourth pitch of the inning when Chris Johnson lined out to center. Andrelton Simmons rolled one out to short in a patient four-pitch at bat that ended an eight-pitch inning which left Fister at 20 pitches after two scoreless.
3rd: Julio Teheran grounded out to Adam LaRoche's backhand. Tommy La Stella popped to center for out no.2. B.J. Upton took a wicked 3-2 change for a called strike three. 16-pitch frame, 36 total after three scoreless.
4th: Freddie Freeman K'd on a foul-tip strike three on a 3-2 changeup. Evan Gattis took a fastball in the back elbow and took his base. Jason Heyward popped to short for out no.2. Justin Upton grounded into a force at second in the next at bat and Fister was through four scoreless on 53 pitches after a 17-pitch frame.
5th: Chris Johnson worked the count full and took a called strike three he thought was ball four. Andrelton Simmons reached on a weak pop that fell into short left for a hit. A swinging bunt by Julio Teheran moved Simmons into scoring position with two down, but Tommy La Stella's groundout to short ended a 13-pitch frame that left Fister at 66 pitches after five scoreless.
6th: B.J. Upton lined out to right to start the sixth. Freddie Freeman flew to center for out no.2. Evan Gattis lined to right for a two-out single which extended his current hit streak to 20 straight games. Jason Heyward walked with two down to put two on for Justin Upton, who popped out to second to end a 21-pitch inning by Fister, who was up to 87 pitches overall after six.
7th: Chris Johnson lined a single to right to start the Braves' seventh. Andrelton Simmons' pop to Rendon at third for out no.1. Julio Teheran bunted Johnson into scoring position in front of Tommy La Stella, whose groundout to second ended a 14-pitch frame. 101 pitches total.
8th: B.J. Upton grounded out to short for out no.1. Freddie Freeman grounded to second for out no.2. Evan Gattis' pop to right ended a 16-pitch frame. 117 pitches total.
• Doug Fister's Line: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 117 P, 78 S, 12/3 GO/FO.
Heading into last night, here's how @BulldogBeing compared vs. other NL catchers. #VoteBraves http://t.co/1E1PlbBKoG pic.twitter.com/hs9hbwCT4z— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 21, 2014
3. Teheran in Nationals Park: Atlanta's 23-year-old right-hander Julio Teheran held the Nationals to three hits, four walks and two runs in seven innings in his first start of the season against Washington back on April 5th, a 6-2 win.
Six days later, in Turner Field, the Nats connected for 10 hits and scored five runs, two of them earned in six innings against Teheran in what ended up a 7-6 Braves' win in which the pitcher received no decision.
BASEBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA is UNDERWAY! @Braves vs @Nationals @tigers vs @Indians @Pirates vs @Cubs (rain delay) pic.twitter.com/QPUM3i2GXh— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 21, 2014
In seven starts against the Braves' NL East division rivals so far in his four-year career, Teheran was (3-1) with a 2.93 ERA, 15 walks (3.13 BB/9) and 36 Ks (7.53 K/9) in 43 IP before tonight, over which Nationals' hitters put up a combined .274/.342/.409 line.
Entering tonight's start, Teheran was coming off a strong outing in a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in which he gave up just four hits and one earned run in eight innings of work. That outing left the Cartagena, Bolivar, Colombia-born starter with a (6-4) record, a 2.31 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 21 walks (1.80 BB/9) and 84 Ks (7.20) K/9) in 15 starts and 105 IP.
Many thanks to the 40,677 fans who helped sell out #Nats Park tonight! We're glad you joined us. pic.twitter.com/AXRIMSl77E— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 22, 2014
Teheran's third start of the year against the Nationals started with a six-pitch opening frame. Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond K'd swinging and Danny Espinosa lined out to right in a quick, 11-pitch second.
Jose Lobaton lined to right for a leadoff single in the third. The Nats' catcher was bunted over to second by Doug Fister, and one out later scored on an Anthony Rendon single to center to make it 1-0 Nats. 20-pitch frame for Teheran, 37 total after three.
Adam LaRoche singled to start the Nationals' fourth, but three outs later he was stranded at first at the end of a 17-pitch inning that left Teheran at 54 total after four.
Teheran was up to seven Ks after striking out the first two batters in the fifth, but Denard Span singled to center with two down to extend the inning, before Anthony Rendon K'd swinging at a 3-2 bender. 13-pitch frame, 67 total after five.
With one down in the sixth, Teheran issued his first walk in 94 plate appearances overall to Adam LaRoche, who moved into scoring position on a balk in the next at bat. Ryan Zimmerman's single to center brought LaRoche in and it was 2-0 Nationals in the sixth. Teheran added two Ks for 10 total, but the 27-pitch inning pushed him up to 94 pitches.
Teheran came back for the eighth and walked Jose Lobaton to start the inning. Fister bunted his catcher over, and one out later Anthony Rendon lined an RBI double to center to bring the Nats' third run in. 13-pitch frame, 107 total after seven.
Rendon does it again! A double sent to deep center field scores @JLobaton21 and the #Nats take a 3-0 lead in the seventh!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 22, 2014
• Julio Teheran's Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 Ks, 107 P, 68 S, 4/4 GO/FO.
2. vs Braves: Last night's 6-4 win left the Atlanta Braves 7-1 against the Nationals this season and 20-7 against the Nats since the start of the 2013 campaign. Matt Williams has just been on the bench for eight games of the rivalry between the NL East's last two division winners, and in spite of the lopsided nature of the matchup over the past two seasons, he said before Friday's game that the history can't really factor in on a game-to-game basis.
"Every game is different," he explained. "Every game presents a new set of challenges."
"It's a point of discussion, for sure," he said of the rivalry and head-to-head record. "I know the history a little bit [2010-2012] and then the opposite side of that history, 2012-now. But we can't look at that. It's not like, 'What's the reason?' It makes for good copy. It makes for good conversation. But in reality, every game is different. So, tonight we've got to do things right and so do they. And if they do it better than we do on any given night, then they've got a chance to beat us."
The Braves were "better" again on Friday. Tonight?
1. The Wrap-Up: With the Nationals up 3-0 after seven and a half, Juan Jaime took the mound in eighth and retired the side in order.
"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Rafael Soriano took the mound in the ninth looking for save no.16 of 2014. Jason Heyward lined out to short. B.J. Upton started up 3-0, but grounded out to third for out no.2. Chris Johnson started up 3-0 too, but went to a full count and grounded out to second. Ballgame.
Work's done! Untuck that jersey, son!!!
Nationals now 38-35