Aug 20, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (27) throws in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
The Washington Nationals outlasted the Atlanta Braves on Monday night, winning 5-4 after Danny Espinosa scored in the bottom of the 13th when Braves second baseman Dan Uggla mishandled a grounder from pinch-hitter Chad Tracy. The win helped the Nationals increase their lead in the National League East to six games over the Braves, who have now lost three in a row.
Espinosa reached base on a fielder's choice bunt earlier in the 13th inning, advancing to third one batter later when Kurt Suzuki singled. Tracy hit a soft grounder up the middle but Uggla appeared indecisive, eventually bobbling the ball and allowing Espinosa to score. The play was originally ruled an error before Tracy was credited with a hit after the game.
The Braves were the first to score, plating a run in the first inning when Martin Prado doubled to center and scored a batter later on Jason Heyward's single to left-center. Heyward was caught stealing third, though, as Atlanta pushed for more.
That lead quickly evaporated, though, as Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the first with a double down the third-base line and scored on Bryce Harper's soft single to left. Ryan Zimmerman made it three straight hits to start the inning with a single to right before Mike Morse advanced the runners to second and third with a groundout to pitcher Tim Hudson. Adam LaRoche drove in the Nationals' second run before shortstop Ian Desmond blasted a two-run homer to left, his first hit in 12 tries since returning from the disabled list, to push Washington's lead to 4-1.
Atlanta pulled a run back in the fourth after Freddie Freeman walked, advanced to third on Dan Uggla's double and scored on an infield single from Paul Janish. Jason Heyward tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth inning with a line-drive home run to the Nationals' bullpen in right.
Braves lefties Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty both worked around major jams, as Venters induced a 6-4-3 double play from Mike Morse with runners on the corners in the seventh inning and O'Flaherty got out of a bases-loaded, one-out mess by getting Tyler Moore to pop out and Jayson Werth to fly out to the warning track in left.
Martin Prado led off the 11th inning with a double, but neither Heyward, Chipper Jones, nor Freddie Freeman could drive the ball out of the infield.