Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Turner Field hosts the Nationals for a big weekend series with the Braves.
Medlen, you may or may not realize, is 7-0 with an 0.81 ERA since he was moved out of the bullpen and into the rotation. The Braves, meanwhile, have been victorious the last 19 times the right-hander has started a game, dating all the way back to May 29, 2010.
The Nationals won't have one of their big sluggers in the lineup to try to end Medlen's streak, with Michael Morse again sidelined by a bone bruise and torn sheath in his left hand. Morse is scheduled to take batting practice later this afternoon, but you've got to think he's still going to need some more time before returning to play.
Ross Detwiler gets the nod for the Nationals, seeking his 10th win. Updates to come live from Turner Field, so please check back...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 4 mph in from LF
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
LF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Ross Detwiler
CF Reed Johnson
LF Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
3B Chipper Jones
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
C David Ross
SS Andrelton Simmons
RHP Kris Medlen
HP Fieldin Culbreth (cc)
1B Marvin Hudson
2B Marty Foster
3B Tim Timmons
7:37 p.m. -- We are underway on a beautiful Friday night in Atlanta. 79 degrees as Kris Medlen delivers his first pitch to Jayson Werth.
7:46 p.m. -- Wow, Medlen looked pretty unhittable in the top of the first. Bryce Harper did manage to stay back on a curveball and drive it back up the middle for a base hit, but that was the only ball the Nationals put into play. Werth struck out on a sinker, Ryan Zimmerman struck out on a curveball and Adam LaRoche struck out on a changeup. Nasty stuff from Medlen there.
7:55 p.m. -- Ross Detwiler got himself in a bit of trouble in the bottom of the first, allowing back-to-back, one-out singles (though neither was hit particularly hard). The lefty came through with some big pitches to get out of the jam. He induced a grounder to second out of Chipper Jones -- the Nats nearly turned a 4-6-3 double play, but Desmond couldn't get a lot of the throw with Jason Heyward barreling down on him -- and then got Freddie Freeman to fly out to left. So it's scoreless after one.
8:09 p.m. -- Good stuff from both pitchers so far. Medlen already has five strikeouts through two innings and is doing his best Greg Maddux impersonation, catching guys looking at 90 mph sinkers on the inside corner. Detwiler, meanwhile, is pounding the strike zone, having thrown 20 of 29 pitches for strikes so far. Still scoreless through two.
8:28 p.m. -- Wow, a bang-bang play at first base, with Desmond firing a throw to just barely get Heyward (though honestly, it was tough to tell even on replay whether it was the right call). Heyward certainly disagreed and slammed his helmet to the ground (a la Bryce Harper). Except ump Marty Foster didn't eject him. Can you say double-standard? Still scoreless through three.
8:51 p.m. -- And the Braves strike first in this one. Freeman leads off the bottom of the fourth with a double into the left-field corner, then takes third on a 3-6 fielder's choice (though Desmond nearly pulled off a spectacular play to throw behind Freeman and catch him off third base). Andrelton Simmons' sac fly to right was deep enough to bring him home, so Atlanta takes a 1-0 lead as we move to the fifth.
8:56 p.m. -- Medlen, meanwhile, continues to cruise. He's got 10 strikeouts through five innings, and he's thrown a manageable 72 pitches.
9:10 p.m. -- Bernadina with another spectacular catch to rob Heyward of extra bases, slamming into the left field fence and somehow holding onto the ball. Roger did, however, come down clutching hit right shoulder/collarbone and appeared to be in serious pain. Davey Johnson and a trainer hustled out to check on him, but Bernadina stayed in. Detwiler then got out of another jam. He's had to pitch his way out of some stuff tonight, but he's through five innings having allowed only one run.
9:16 p.m. -- Bryce Harper certainly doesn't appear to be fazed by Medlen tonight. He's reached all three times he's stepped to the plate and just hammered the first pitch he saw in the top of the sixth deep to left field for a game-tying homer. That's Harper's 19th of the season (second most ever by a teenager) and it extends his recent hot streak. Over his last 20 games, he's now hitting .360 with seven homers, raising his season average to .266 and perhaps making a late push for NL Rookie of the Year honors.
9:32 p.m. -- Corey Brown pinch-hits for Detwiler in the top of the seventh, ending a strong night for the left-hander: 6 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 94 pitches. And then Brown promptly becomes Medlen's 13th strikeout victim of the night. Medlen gets a standing ovation from the Turner Field crowd as he departs the field at the end of his spectacular night. It's up to the bullpens now, with Ryan Mattheus in for the Nats in a 1-1 game.
9:46 p.m. -- Mattheus and Michael Gonzalez get the job done in the bottom of the seventh, with Suzuki also doing his part to nail Jose Constanza trying to steal second base. Gonzalez then got Heyward to swing so hard through a 93 mph fastball, Heyward lost control of the bat altogether. Still 1-1 as we go to the eighth.
10:05 p.m. -- I'll tell you what: Michael Gonzalez has done a fine job for the Nationals since he arrived earlier this summer. He's played a key role in this whole thing, and I think it's safe to say nobody could have seen that coming. Tonight, the lefty retired all three batters he faced, striking out two. That set the stage for Drew Storen to enter and retire Uggla to end the eighth inning. We're still tied, and here's Craig Kimbrel in for Atlanta to face LaRoche, Desmond and Espinosa in the top of the ninth.
10:10 p.m. -- Sweet Fancy Moses, Kimbrel is good. Struck out the side in the top of the ninth, giving him an astounding 101 of them in only 54 1/3 innings this year. Bottom of the ninth upcoming, Storen still in to face the bottom of the Braves lineup in a 1-1 game.
10:20 p.m. -- And the Braves win. Sean Burnett gave up a couple of one-out singles to Simmons and Bourn, putting the winning run on third. He got Tyler Pastornicky to hit a sharp grounder to short, and Desmond had a play at the plate. But his throw sailed way wide, and Simmons scored the winning run. Nats lose 2-1 and their lead is down to 7 1/2 games.