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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nationals Pull Out Second One-Run Victory Over Reeling Braves


Joel Hanrahan pitched out of a major jam in the ninth inning and the Washington Nationals won their second straight one-run decision against Atlanta by a 4-3 score.

The Braves scored three in the top of the first inning off of Washington starter Shairon Martis. Casey Kotchman drove in Chipper Jones with a two-out double and Jeff Francoeur hit a ball to shortstop that scored two runs. Brian McCann scored on the infield hit and Casey Kotchman scored on the throwing error by shortstop Alberto Gonzalez.

The Nationals scored a run with a Jesus Flores double off of Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami. They continued the scoring in the sixth inning after Martis held the Braves off the board since then.

Adam Dunn led off the inning with a solo homer. After Elijah Dukes reached on an error by Chipper Jones, Austin Kearns hit a liner to left that Matt Diaz lost in the stadium lights. Kearns got a triple out of that. Jeff Bennett relieved Kawakami and struck out Jesus Flores. Alberto Gonzalez attempted a bunt next, but McCann threw him out. Pinch-hitter Josh Willingham then lined the second pitch he saw into left, scoring Kearns.

The bullpens of both teams held each other scoreless. In the top of the ninth, Joel Hanrahan came on to close the game. He led off the inning by walking Diaz on four pitches. The next batter, Jordan Schafer, slapped a hit into right field that he stretched into a double and Diaz reached third. Pinch-hitter Greg Norton then bounced back to Hanrahan for the first out. Kelly Johnson then attempted to swing at a changeup and got out in front of it, popping it up behind second base. With two out, Yunel Escobar hit a hard grounder on the first pitch, but it bounced right to Anderson Hernandez for the game-ending groundout.

I saw that ninth inning. Two words: incredibly frustrating.

W - Shairon Martis (2-0)
L - Kenshin Kawakami (1-2)
S - Joel Hanrahan (2)
HR - Adam Dunn (4)


RF Austin Kearns, Washington - 1-2, 3B, 2 R, 2 BB, RBI

PH Josh Willingham, Washington - 1-1, GA 1B, RBI

CF Jordan Schafer, Atlanta - 2-3, 2 2B, BB

AP Photo By Alex Brandon

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