Heading into the weekend in Washington, the Braves were looking to wrap up the final road trip of the regular season with a few quality wins under their belt.
After leaving Florida with just one win and the Cardinals continuing to creep in the rear-view mirror, the Braves were unable to mount any momentum in the nation’s capitol, dropping two of three to the Nationals, leaving D.C. clinging to a one-game lead in the Wild Card.
It began on a good note, as the Braves offense jumped out of the gate, scoring three runs on Stephen Strasburg, who was making his third start of the season after recovering from Tommy John Surgery.
Leading the rally was Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman, who each had RBI singles, Freeman’s scoring two, before Jack Wilson’s hot-shot grounder got between Ryan Zimmerman’s legs, scoring Freeman to put the Braves up 3-0.
After Tim Hudson allowed the Nationals to score in the second, doubles from Uggla and Brian McCann gave the Braves a 6-1 lead before Washington made the game a little more interesting with a two-run 6th before adding another in the 8th.
The Braves added a run in the 9th before Craig Kimbrel escaped the 9th inning with his 46th save of the season.
After winning the opener, things did not continue to go well for the Braves Saturday afternoon, as Chien-Ming Wang quieted the Braves bats, outpitching Brandon Beachy as Washington earned a 4-1 victory.
Beachy, who allowed the four runs on five hits over six innings, struck out nine National batters, but the offense, aside from Freeman’s solo homer, was unable to mount anything else offensively.
Sunday proved to be more frustrating than anyone had hoped, as the Braves looked to leave Washington for the final time this season with a victory.
The frustrations for the Braves began in the 3rd, when with no outs, the Atlanta offense loaded the bases with no outs.
But things did not work out in the Braves favor, as the top of the top of the lineup was unable to produce a hit, leaving the bases loaded and the game scoreless.
The Nationals got on the scoreboard with a solo homer in the 4th, and once again in the 5th, the Braves were forced to walk away from the inning with runners in scoring position.
Once again, the bottom of the Braves lineup produced two runners in scoring position with one out, but neither Michael Bourn nor Martin Prado were able to push the runs across, as Ross Detweiler got Bourn to line out before Prado flied out to right.
The Nationals added two more runs in the bottom of the 7th, making it a 3-0 game, before Drew Storen closed the 9th inning down for his 42nd save and second in as many nights, sending the Braves back to Atlanta with another series loss.
With the season’s final series beginning today, the Braves host the Phillies, who have already locked up the NL East crown.
The pitching matchups for the three-game set have already been laid out, and Randall Delgado will face Cliff Lee in Monday’s opener. Derek Lowe faces Roy Oswalt Tuesday night and the two teams close the season out with Tim Hudson taking on Cole Hamels.