Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Edwin Jackson makes his first career start at Turner Field this afternoon.
The latter is most surprising, given that Jackson has spent parts of six seasons in the National League, not to mention the fact he's from Atlanta and still makes his home here. Today, though, he'll get to cross this one off the list, facing the Braves in search of his 10th win of the season.
Jackson did face Atlanta once earlier this season, taking a hard-luck loss on July 21 despite giving up only one run. His opponent, Tommy Hanson, got roughed up by the Nationals one night earlier, giving up eight runs in four innings. (That wound up being the game the Nats blew a 9-0 lead and lost in extra innings.)
A reminder that today's game is at 4:05 p.m. and is being televised by Fox, with Daron Sutton and Eric Karros on the call. Pretty much the entire southeastern United States gets this game, but here's a handy coverage map if you want to check it out yourself.
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees, Wind 3 mph RF to LF
RF Jayson Werth
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jesus Flores
LF Roger Bernadina
RHP Edwin Jackson
CF Michael Bourn
2B Martin Prado
RF Jason Heyward
C Brian McCann
1B Freddie Freeman
2B Dan Uggla
3B Juan Francisco
SS Andrelton Simmons
RHP Tommy Hanson
HP Marvin Hudson
1B Marty Foster
2B Tim Timmons
3B Fieldin Culbreth (cc)
4:06 p.m. -- We are underway with a ball from Tommy Hanson to Jayson Werth.
4:17 p.m. -- Not that he needed it to legitimize a fantastic season, but Adam LaRoche will certainly take his 30th homer, a bomb down the right-field line on an 0-1 pitch from Tommy Hanson. The Nats said all along they believed LaRoche would put up his usual numbers after an injury-plagued 2011. Well, he's done that and more, reaching 30 homers for only the second time in his career. The Nats take a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
4:42 p.m. -- Um, I'm not entirely sure how to describe what happened in the top of the second. Let's just say the Braves committed about 17 errors and in the process allowed the Nats to score two runs on a sacrifice bunt. Yes, that's technically an accurate statement. Horrible defense from Freddie Freeman and Tommy Hanson to hand the Nats a pair of runs on a platter. It's 4-0 as we go to the bottom of the second.
4:53 p.m. -- And the Braves get one run back in the bottom of the inning after Freeman led off with a triple and Dan Uggla followed with a double to deep right-center. Jackson buckled down after that, though, and retired the bottom of the order to keep this a 4-1 lead after two.
4:56 p.m. -- Hmm, Brian McCann out of the game, with David Ross now behind the plate for the Braves. No official word yet on what happened.
5:10 p.m. -- Yikes, six straight strikeouts for Danny Espinosa in this series. He's had some ugly swings against Atlanta pitching the last 24 hours since returning from his grandmother's funeral in Arizona. Jackson, meanwhile, cruises through a 1-2-3 bottom of the third, so it remains 4-1 Nats.
5:27 p.m. -- Freddie Freeman is having himself quite the eventful afternoon. He committed that awful error in the top of the second, but he tripled in the bottom of the inning, and he just ambushed Jackson by crushing a first-pitch fastball to right-center for a solo homer in the fourth. Freeman is halfway to the cycle, having recorded the two toughest hits of the bunch, and the Nats' lead is down to 4-2 after four.
5:44 p.m. -- The update on McCann: He left the game with hamstring tendinitis and is day-to-day, putting his availability for tomorrow night's series finale in doubt. Meanwhile, Jackson just blew away the Braves in the bottom of the fifth, striking out the side. He's got 6 K's now and aside from a couple of mistakes to Freeman has been pretty much lights out here so far today.
5:50 p.m. -- Oof, Espinosa is now 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts in this series.
6:11 p.m. -- Well, that just fell apart in a hurry, and for that you can in part blame the umpires. Marvin Hudson, manning first base today, botched a call on what looked like a routine 1-3 groundout, saying LaRoche's foot came off the bag. Replays appear to clearly show that wasn't the case, but Davey Johnson didn't need to see a replay to know himself. He sprinted out of the dugout, got in Hudson's face and was handed his first ejection of the season. The call was one thing, but you had to know the very next batter, Heyward, would launch a two-run homer that ties this game 4-4. A really bad sequence of events for Jackson, who wound up getting the hook from bench coach Randy Knorr (now serving as manager). This is a whole new ballgame as we head to the seventh.
6:29 p.m. -- A chance for the Nats to retake the lead in the top of the seventh, with runners on the corners and two outs. Fredi Gonzalez brought in lefty Luis Avilan to face Harper, and the 19-year-old hacked at the first pitch and bounced into a fielder's choice. So this game remains tied 4-4 at the stretch.
6:49 p.m. -- Wow, a HUGE strikeout by Michael Gonzalez of Heyward in a most tenuous situation: Runners on the corners, two outs, Heyward at the plate. Gonzalez actually fell behind in the count 3-0, then battled back and blew Heyward away with a 3-2 fastball to end the seventh inning. It's still 4-4, and we've got ourselves another nip-and-tuck ballgame, just like last night.
6:52 p.m. -- And a very quick, 1-2-3 top of the eighth for Eric O'Flaherty. Onto the bottom of the inning, with Ryan Mattheus now in from the Nats bullpen.
7:17 p.m. -- And Mattheus implodes in the bottom of the eighth. He gave up a leadoff single, then walked two straight batters with one out to load the bases for Simmons. Needing a strikeout or a hard-hit grounder, Mattheus instead grazed Simmons' jersey with a 2-2 fastball, forcing in the go-ahead run. Zach Duke (?!) managed to get out of the jam, but now the Nats are down to their last three outs, with one Craig Kimbrel entering from the bullpen to a thunderous roar.
7:28 p.m. -- And that will do it. The Nats got the tying runner to third when Chad Tracy singled and Eury Perez stole second and took third on a bad throw. But Kimbrel got Tyler Moore to end the game and hand the Nats their second straight, 1-run loss to the Braves, this one 5-4. Their lead in the NL East is down to 6 1/2 games with 17 to play.