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Dan Haren dominated the Braves over eight superb innings.
Hitting highlight: The offense came early and often for the Nationals, who pounced on Medlen for three quick runs, ignited by their leadoff man. Denard Span began the game with a double into the right-field corner, then scored moments later on Steve Lombardozzi's RBI single. One inning later, Span hit a hard shot to third base that ate up Chris Johnson and scooted into left field, scoring both Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos. Originally scored an error on Johnson, the call was later changed to a double, giving Span a pair of two-baggers in the game's first two innings. You probably wouldn't guess this, but Span's 11 RBI rank second on the Nationals' roster, behind only Bryce Harper's 18. Not bad run production out of the leadoff spot.
Pitching highlight: Haren had been making obvious progress from start to start over the last month, but the leap he took from his last outing to this one was truly remarkable. Attacking the strike zone and pitching to contact, Haren retired the first six batters he faced on 13 pitches. His only mistake of the night: a 3-2 meatball to Uggla in the seventh, but the damage was minimal. The veteran right-hander even received a huge vote of confidence from his manager, with Davey Johnson walking to the mound with a man on in the eighth but letting his starter stay in the game. Haren responded by striking out Chris Johnson, pumping his fist as he retreated to the dugout, having just tossed a 90-pitch gem, by far his best start with the Nationals. That's exactly what Mike Rizzo had in mind when he gave Haren $13 million five months ago.
Key stat: Rendon, who is headed back to Class AA Harrisburg with Ryan Zimmerman returning from the DL, wound up hitting .240 (6-for-25) with a .367 on-base percentage in his first big-league stint.
Up next: The Nationals head to Pittsburgh, where a red-hot Pirates club (they've won 13 of 19) awaits. Ross Detwiler faces current NL strikeouts leader A.J. Burnett in Friday's 7:05 p.m. opener at PNC Park.