Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez faces Tim Hudson tonight at Turner Field.
Erik Davis takes Harper's spot on the roster, adding another right-hander to a bullpen that was taxed last night because of Strasburg's early exit with an oblique strain. Neither Craig Stammen nor Tyler Clippard are expected to be available tonight, so the pressure's on Gio Gonzalez to churn out a quality start and not force Davey Johnson to turn to his bullpen early again.
It would also help if the Nationals can get something going at the plate against Tim Hudson, never an easy task. Though he's 4-4 with a 5.37 ERA overall this season, he's 2-0 with a 1.27 ERA against the Nats (16-5, 2.55 ERA in his career against the franchise).
A friendly reminder that tonight's game is on Fox. Dick Stockton and Tom Verducci have the call. Here's the coverage map (and note that parts of Virginia will not be getting this game).
Updates to come...
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ATLANTA BRAVES
Where: Turner Field
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
TV: Fox (coverage map)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 89
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees, Wind 7 mph out to LF
CF Denard Span
LF Steve Lombardozzi
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
RF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Andrelton Simmons
RF Jason Heyward
LF Justin Upton
1B Freddie Freeman
C Evan Gattis
3B Chris Johnson
2B Dan Uggla
CF B.J. Upton
RHP Tim Hudson
HP Larry Vanover
1B Brian Gorman (cc)
2B Manny Gonzalez
3B Tony Randazzo
7:17 p.m. — And we're underway as Tim Hudson fires strike one to Denard Span. Both clubs are wearing some pretty sweeo Negro League throwback uniforms tonight. Though I suppose they look better on some than others.
7:22 p.m. — A 1-2-3 top of the first for Hudson, though Ryan Zimmerman did smoke a line drive to right field to end the inning. Only 13 pitches for Hudson, 10 of them strikes.
7:30 p.m. — And a 1-2-3 bottom of the first for Gio Gonzalez, who struck out Jason Heyward on a 94 mph fastball and Justin Upton on an 81 mph curveball. Good stuff from the lefty, who threw 10 of 16 pitches for strikes. Scoreless after one.
7:44 p.m. — Hudson: 6 up, 6 down. Gonzalez: 6 up, 6 down. Suffice it to say, we've got a nice little pitchers' duel brewing here. Scoreless through two.
7:49 p.m. — Who else but Gio Gonzalez would you expect to record the first hit tonight for either team? He's now 5-for-17 this season, a cool .294 batting average! Unfortunately, nobody else in the Nats lineup has been able to touch Hudson. So it remains scoreless as we move to the bottom of the third.
8:04 p.m. — Oh, those leadoff walks. They'll get you every time. And one got Gio in the bottom of the third. He put Dan Uggla on to begin the inning, and the set in motion a chain of events in which Uggla ultimately scored from third on Andrelton Simmons' slow roller to short. So the Braves take a 1-0 lead, moving into the fourth.
8:13 p.m. — And Fredi Gonzalez's night will last only three innings. The Braves manager just got the heave-ho from plate umpire Larry Vanover after arguing balls and strikes with Zimmerman at the plate. Can't do that, Fredi.
8:21 p.m. — And the Nats get the run right back in the top of the fourth. Steve Lombardozzi reached on Freeman's throwing error, then put on a fantastic display of hustle going first to third on Zimmerman's slow chopper to short. That set the stage for Ian Desmond, who hit a slow roller down the third-base line that looked like a sure hit only to make an abrupt left turn at the last second. Would that freak roll cost the Nats a run? No, because Desmond followed by roping a base hit to center, scoring Lombardozzi. It's 1-1 heading to the bottom of the fourth.
8:31 p.m. — Impressive stuff from Gio so far tonight. The Braves' Nos. 2-5 hitters (Heyward, Upton, Freeman and Gattis) are now 0-for-8 with five strikeouts. Still 1-1 after four.
8:49 p.m. — Gio had to battle his way to escape the fifth unscathed after Chris Johnson led off with a double. He managed to keep Uggla in the ballpark (barely) and then got B.J. Upton to pop out (drawing boos from the crowd) and Hudson to ground out to third (with a pretty good throw from Zimmerman to end the inning). Still 1-1, moving to the sixth.
9:00 p.m. — A chance for the Nats in the top of the sixth after Zim beat out a grounder to third and LaRoche drew a two-out walk. But Desmond went after Hudson's first pitch and lined out to right. So this remains a 1-1 game. Something's got to give eventually.
9:12 p.m. — Big-time performance from Gio tonight. Now, if somebody else could just push a run across... Onto the seventh.
9:20 p.m. — So, there have been nine total baserunners allowed by Hudson and Gonzalez tonight. What a duel. Seventh-inning stretch now.
9:27 p.m. — Another dominant inning from Gio, who retires the side and has now completed seven innings of one-run, three-hit ball on 105 pitches. That'll be it forhim, with Jeff Kobernus pinch-hitting to lead off the eighth in what still remains a 1-1 game.
9:38 p.m. — The good news: Hudson is out of the game. The bad news: The Nats still can't get anything going against the Braves bullpen. Luis Avilan gets Span and Lombardozzi to end the top of the eighth. Drew Storen in, trying to keep this a tiegame.
9:47 p.m. — A really impressive bottom of the eighth from Storen, who struck out a pair and got a groundout. He's been really sharp his last couple of times out and seems to have turned a corner. So it's onto the ninth, and here's Craig Kimbrel to face the heart of the Nats lineup in a 1-1 game.
9:52 p.m. — Golden opportunity for the Nats in the top of the ninth. Zimmerman led off with a broken-bat single. LaRoche followed with a double. So, second and third, nobody out ... and they still didn't score. Desmond struck out looking. Bernadina grounded into a 5-2 fielder's choice. And Espinosa flied out on the first pitch he saw. Unbelievable. It's still 1-1 as Fernando Abad enters for the bottom of the ninth.
10:06 p.m. — Holy moly, Abad strikes out Justin Upton and then gets Freeman to rope a liner right at Espinosa, who starts a 4-3 double play and send this game to extra innings.
10:12 p.m. — Bottom of the 10th now. It's Henry Rodriguez time, folks.
10:24 p.m. — Nats lose. Rodriguez issues two walks, allows a stolen base without a throw and then B.J. Upton(?!) delivers the game-winning single to right. It's a 2-1, 10-inning loss as the Nats fall back to the .500 mark and back to 5 1/2 games behind Atlanta.