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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Braves Don't Give Nationals A Bailout


With solid bullpen work and timely two-out hitting, the Braves completed their first sweep of the Washington Nationals since June 25-27, 2007, banging out an 8-5 victory.

The Braves scored three in the bottom of the fourth, all with two outs. Brian McCann walked and stole second. Matt Diaz doubled him home, Jeff Francoeur chased Diaz home with a triple and Martin Prado drove in Francoeur with a single.

Elijah Dukes returned the favor with a two-out, two-run double in the fourth. A bad hop that ate up Martin Prado at first allowed Dukes to score to tie the game.

The Braves didn't stay behind for long. With Omar Infante on first with two out, he went to second on a passed ball and scored on Chipper Jones' single to give the Braves the lead again. Jones went to second on the throw. McCann drove him home with a single to up the lead to two.

Jeff Bennett relieved starter Jair Jurrjens in the sixth inning after Jurrjens' fifth walk of the day. That walk, given to Alex Gonzalez, came back to bite the Braves as he came around to score on a single by Lastings Milledge and a two-out single by Elijah Dukes.

Atlanta scored two more in the seventh on a Yunel Escobar double off the right field wall and a second RBI single by Jones. The Nationals eked out a run off of Buddy Carlyle and Eric O'Flaherty, but the righty Carlyle struck out Adam Dunn with two men on to preserve the lead.

Casey Kotchman added another insurance run with a pinch-hit RBI single after Francoeur's second triple (aided by right fielder Austin Kearns losing the ball in the sun). Rafael Soriano finished off the game in the ninth by getting two strikeouts. It gave the Braves a sweep of the Nationals for the first time in nearly two years.

I was glad to see the timely hitting by the offense and the bullpen hold together after the rain delay sort of messed up the plans. The fast start is very encouraging, and I hope the Braves are able to keep it up.

W - Jair Jurrjens (2-0)
L - Scott Olsen (0-2)
S - Rafael Soriano (1)


3B Chipper Jones, Atlanta - 2-3, R, BB, 2 RBI

2B Omar Infante, Atlanta - 2-3, 2B, BB, 2 R

RF Jeff Francoeur - 2-4, 2 3B, 2 R, RBI

AP Photo by John Amis

EDIT: Changed boxscore link to

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