Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats try to salvage a four-game series split tonight at Turner Field.
We're still waiting to see tonight's lineup, but it's not expected to include Bryce Harper (who had to leave last night's game with a bruised left side, an injury originally suffered Tuesday when he slammed into the right field fence). And we don't know if Jayson Werth will be included, either, though he seemed to think yesterday he could return from his ankle and hamstring injuries.
Dan Haren, meanwhile, takes the mound, hoping to build off his solid start over the weekend against the Reds. If Haren does struggle, the Nationals bullpen certainly is fresh, with only Rafael Soriano having been needed during last night's 2-0 win.
Will post the lineup as soon as it comes out, so please check back. [UPDATE AT 5:30 P.M. — Harper and Werth are both tentatively starting, provided they get through batting practice with no problems.]
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv, MLB Network (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WNEW (99.1 FM), XM 89
Weather: Cloudy, 69 degrees, Wind 12 mph in from RF
CF Denard Span
2B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
SS Ian Desmond
1B Adam LaRoche
3B Anthony Rendon
C Wilson Ramos
RHP Dan Haren
RF Jordan Schafer
3B Chris Johnson
LF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
C Evan Gattis
2B Dan Uggla
CF B.J. Upton
SS Andrelton Simmons
RHP Kris Medlen
HP Mark Wegner
1B Laz Diaz
2B Tim Timmons
3B Mike Winters (cc)
7:11 p.m. — We're underway with ball one from Kris Medlen to Denard Span.
7:18 p.m. — And the Nats pounce on Medlen for a quick run. Span led off with a double, took third on a wild pitch and then scored on Steve Lombardozzi's RBI single, which snapped an 0-for-17 slump. So just like that, the Nats are up 1-0 as Dan Haren takes the mound for the bottom of the first.
7:24 p.m. — How about that? Haren retires the side on eight pitches (seven strikes), getting both Chris Johnson and Justin Upton swinging. Couldn't ask for a better start to his night than that.
7:37 p.m. — Wow, make it 3-0 in the second. Adam LaRoche came a few inches from homering, settling instead for a double off the wall. Anthony Rendon then displayed a nice piece of hitting, going inside-out to single to right. LaRoche did get caught in a rundown on Wilson Ramos' comebacker, but Span followed with a sharp grounder to third that skipped past Johnson and brought two runs home. It was ruled an error, but the Nats will happily take it. They're up 3-0 in the middle of the second.
7:42 p.m. — Six up, six down for Haren on only 13 pitches (11 strikes). He is really sharp early on tonight. Combined with Zimmermann and Soriano last night, Nationals pitchers have now retired 26 consecutive Braves hitters. Wow.
7:52 p.m. — Scoring change: Span has been credited with a two-run double and Johnson has had the error taken away from him. So Span is now 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBI tonight.
8:00 p.m. — So, after retiring 28 consecutive batters over the last two nights, the streak finally ends when Haren walks ... Medlen?! Seriously?! Oh well, he still got through the third without allowing a hit. So that's nine straight no-hit innings for the Nationals pitching staff. Still 3-0 after three.
8:13 p.m. — So much for any history tonight. Freeman and Gattis singled back-to-back with two outs in the fourth, the first base hits allowed by Nationals pitching in 10 innings. Here's an incredible stat from Braves beat writer Mark Bowman: Between Justin Upton's first-inning single last night and Freeman's base hit just now, Atlanta's position players were 0-for-36. Wow. Still 3-0 after four.
8:19 p.m. — Uh-oh, Roger Bernadina pinch-hitting for Jayson Werth in the top of the fifth. Looks like either his ankle or his hamstring is acting up. Also, the fact that it's now raining here could be a factor.
8:25 p.m. — Make it five scoreless for Haren, who has done it on only 51 pitches. So that's 17 consecutive scoreless innings now by the Nats pitching staff against Atlanta. Pretty, pretty good.
8:37 p.m. — Six scoreless for Haren, who is absolutely cruising. Who does this guy think he is, Jordan Zimmermann? Still 3-0.
8:48 p.m. — Chance for the Nats to tack on some runs in the seventh, but Harper tapped a weak grounder in front of the plate (he's now 0-for-4) and Bernadina struck out on three pitches, the last one looking. They'll have to hope that missed opportunity doesn't come back to haunt them. It's still 3-0 as Haren takes the mound for the bottom of the seventh.
8:55 p.m. — Well, that will end the scoreless streak. Uggla absolutely destroyed a 3-2 pitch from Haren in the bottom of the seventh. Fortunately, there were two outs and nobody on, so the damage was minimal. And Haren came right back to get B.J. Upton. So he's still through seven innings on a scant 69 pitches. Stunning efficiency from the veteran right-hander tonight. Nats lead 3-1 heading to the eighth.
9:03 p.m. — Anthony Rendon will head back to the minors tomorrow, but he'll head back feeling pretty good about the way he finished up his first big-league stint. He's gone 2-for-3 with a walk and a hard-hit out tonight. He's also made several nice plays at third base. You can tell how he's gotten more and more comfortable each day he's been up here.
9:16 p.m. — Haren was starting to show signs of fading in the eighth, giving up a single and a hard-hit out to center. That brought Davey to the mound for what figured to be the hook. But wait, the manager talked to Haren and left him in. That's quite a show of confidence in the veteran. Haren rewarded it, striking out Chris Johnson to end the eighth and pumping his fist as he walked off the mound. What a start for the right-hander: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 90 pitches. Still 3-1 heading to the ninth.
9:27 p.m. — Here's Rafael Soriano for the bottom of the ninth. He'll face Justin Upton, Freeman and Gattis, with the Nats up 3-1.
9:37 p.m. — That's it. Soriano untucks again and closes out a 3-1 victory. The Nats salvage a four-game split of this series, get back over .500 and head to Pittsburgh for the weekend.