Washington at Atlanta

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Washington (32-46)000000000080
Atlanta (41-38) «10243210x13220

Chipper backs Smoltz with four RBI as Braves whitewash Nats

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Chipper Jones hopes the Atlanta Braves have seen the last of their offensive malaise.

"I was coming up with guys on third and less than two outs, it seemed like every at-bat," Jones said. "It makes my job easy when I can put the ball in play somewhere to the outfield."

Jones drove in four runs to back a strong start from John Smoltz, helping the Atlanta Braves beat Washington 13-0 on Wednesday night and sweep a three-game series from the Nationals.

Atlanta had a season-high 22 hits and scored in six of the first seven innings, snapping out of an offensive slump that resulted last week in just one run during five straight home losses to Detroit and Boston. The Braves had their best offensive day since May 27, when they beat Philadelphia 13-6.

"I guess the question would be, 'How 'bout those bats?"' Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "If a team was ever due to break out, it was our team."

The Nationals franchise hadn't allowed this many hits since June 3, 2003, when the Montreal Expos lost to the Los Angeles Angels.

Yunel Escobar and Edgar Renteria each had RBI singles and Jones had an RBI fielder's choice off Billy Traber in the fifth inning, turning a 7-0 lead into a 10-0 route.

Brian McCann followed with a two-run homer in the sixth, his seventh of the year, and Jeff Francoeur had an RBI single in the seventh.

Escobar, starting at second in place of Kelly Johnson, had four hits and scored four runs, Francoeur finished 3-for-3 with three RBI, and Renteria had three hits and drove in two runs.

"I've been waiting for a day like this because I've been hitting the ball good, but right at people," Escobar said through an interpreter. "It was good to get four hits and play a solid game defensively."

Smoltz (9-4) struck out seven and walked one, leaving for a pinch-runner in the fifth after throwing only 89 pitches.

The Braves had been outscored 14-2 in Smoltz's four losses, but the 40-year-old right-hander finally got some run support. Atlanta scored one run in the bottom of the first, two more in the third and made it 7-0 on a walk and five consecutive singles in the fourth.

Smoltz knew that the Braves' offense was the story on this night.

"I don't have anything else to say," he said. "I've got nothing."

Smoltz also didn't have anything to say about his recent spat with Jones. The two exchanged insults last week before both players met with Cox over the weekend and apologized. They blamed mutual frustration, but indicated that run production can solve almost any differences teammates might have with each other.

"It's one thing to get base hits and set the table, but hitting in the middle of the lineup you're thinking to drive in runs," Jones said. "I was hitting below .200 (with runners in scoring position) coming into tonight. I've got to thank the guys in front of me."

Atlanta relievers Oscar Villarreal, Wilfredo Ledezma and Chad Paronto combined to go the final four innings, scattering three hits and striking out two.

The top four hitters in Washington's lineup -- Ryan Langerhans, Felipe Lopez, Ryan Zimmerman and Dmitri Young -- combined to go 1-for-14.

"We've been on the bottom of every offensive category from the start of the season," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "Why should I be complaining now? We have to keep on looking for ways to make the club better."

Washington had won the past seven games that Micah Bowie (4-3) had started, but Atlanta knocked him around early -- then right out of the game in the fourth inning on Escobar's liner off his shin.

The left-hander allowed nine hits, six runs, two walks and struck out two in 3 1/3 innings. His last loss was in relief at Milwaukee on May 9, and saw his ERA balloon from 3.63 to 4.39.

"This isn't the first team I've broken out of a slump," Bowie said. "I've done it throughout my career. They got a lot of balls to hit, and they hit them.

"I got my butt kicked. Every time I made a mistake, it showed up on the board."

Notes

  • Braves CF Andruw Jones' season-long slump continued as he grounded into a double play in the first and popped out on a sacrifice attempt in the third. He had an RBI single in the fourth and finished 1-for-4 to keep his average at .199.
  • With an open date Thursday, Atlanta will stay with the current lineup of LHP Chuck James, RHP Tim Hudson and RHP Buddy Carlyle this weekend at Florida. Smoltz will start the first of a four-game series Monday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
  • Washington's 40-man roster stands at 35 after RHP Beltran Perez was sent to Double-A Harrisburg.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Chipper delivers the biggest blow against the Nats, driving in four runs to help finish the sweep.  (AP)
Chipper delivers the biggest blow against the Nats, driving in four runs to help finish the sweep. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 3
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Atlanta

C. Jones
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 4
 

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Washington Nationals
Ryan Langerhans, CF4000030 .168
Felipe Lopez, SS3010120 .238
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3000013 .245
   a- Tony Batista, PH-1B1000000 .222
Dmitri Young, 1B4000001 .336
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
Austin Kearns, RF2010010 .256
   b- Robert Fick, PH-RF2010000 .224
Ryan Church, LF4020001 .264
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4020012 .299
Brian Schneider, C3000002 .248
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .000
    D'Angelo Jimenez, 3B1000001 .059
Micah Bowie, P1000012 .091
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
   c- Nook Logan, PH1010000 .221
    Billy Traber, P0000000 .000
   d- Jesus Flores, PH-C1000000 .203
Totals3408019  
a-fouled out for Zimmerman in the 8th
b-flied out for Kearns in the 6th
c-singled for Ayala in the 5th
d-grounded out for Traber in the 7th
Batting
2B - Ryan Church (24, Villarreal), Ronnie Belliard (10, Paronto)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - F. Lopez-Belliard-Young, Zimmerman-Belliard-Young, Belliard-F. Lopez-Batista
Washington Nationals
Micah Bowie (L,4-3) 3.1966220 4.39
Luis Ayala 0.2311000 3.86
Billy Traber 2755031 4.71
Saul Rivera 1211000 3.71
Jon Rauch 1100010 4.17
Pitches-Strikes - Micah Bowie 79-44, Luis Ayala 14-9, Billy Traber 50-33, Saul Rivera 14-11, Jon Rauch 12-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Micah Bowie 3-4, Luis Ayala 1-0, Billy Traber 3-0, Saul Rivera 1-2, Jon Rauch 1-0
Batters Faced - Micah Bowie 20, Luis Ayala 4, Billy Traber 13, Saul Rivera 5, Jon Rauch 3
Atlanta Braves
Yunel Escobar, 2B-SS5441001 .305
Edgar Renteria, SS4232001 .328
    Willie Harris, CF1000000 .380
Chipper Jones, 3B4134000 .327
    Chris Woodward, PR-3B1110000 .215
Andruw Jones, CF4011014 .199
    Oscar Villarreal, P0000000 .000
   a- Chuck James, PH1000001 .130
    Wilfredo Ledezma, P0000000 .000
    Chad Paronto, P0000000 .000
Jeff Francoeur, RF3133100 .280
Brian McCann, C4122012 .268
    Scott Thorman, 1B1000001 .228
Matt Diaz, LF5130022 .341
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 1B-C4110113 .325
John Smoltz, P2010002 .120
    Pete Orr, PR-2B2100010 .182
Totals4113221326  
a-grounded out for Villarreal in the 7th
Batting
2B - Yunel Escobar 2 (6, Bowie, Bowie), Chris Woodward (3, Rivera), Matt Diaz (8, Traber)
HR - Brian McCann (7, Traber)
SF - Jeff Francoeur (3)
SH - John Smoltz (5)
RBI - Yunel Escobar (6), Edgar Renteria 2 (38), Chipper Jones 4 (32), Andruw Jones (46), Jeff Francoeur 3 (49), Brian McCann 2 (41)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur (26)
SB - Edgar Renteria (6, 3rd base off Bowie/Schneider)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Woodward-Orr-Thorman
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz (W,9-4) 5500170 2.98
Oscar Villarreal 2100010 3.38
Wilfredo Ledezma 1000010 4.66
Chad Paronto 1200000 4.71
WP - John Smoltz (4)
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 89-56, Oscar Villarreal 25-17, Wilfredo Ledezma 11-8, Chad Paronto 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 3-5, Oscar Villarreal 3-2, Wilfredo Ledezma 1-1, Chad Paronto 2-0
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 21, Oscar Villarreal 7, Wilfredo Ledezma 3, Chad Paronto 4
Game Information
Attendance - 29144
Game Time - 3:08
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Casey Moser, Third Base - Field Culbreth