Atlanta at Washington

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Atlanta (5-6) «40021300010131
Washington (3-9)000100100270

Francoeur drives in seven as Braves send Nats to ninth straight loss

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Jeff Francoeur felt he owed John Smoltz for failing to back Atlanta's ace with clutch hitting in 2007.

He just didn't think he'd do it all in one game.

Francoeur had two home runs and a career-high seven RBI as the Atlanta Braves handed the Washington Nationals their ninth straight loss, 10-2 on Saturday.

"(Smoltz) rode me hard last year. I never gave him any run support," Francoeur said. "I think I was 0-for-4 every game, so I told him I'd come out and help him a little bit this year. I didn't expect that."

Entering the game, Francoeur had four RBI in 10 games, and he wasn't pleased.

"I was a little frustrated after last night. Had a chance with the bases loaded and had an awful at-bat," Francoeur said.

"I wanted to try and make sure I took care of business today and I got some good opportunities and I took care of them, which is nice," he added. "It's one of those games you don't have too often."

Francoeur had a three-run home run in the first inning, a two-run single in the fourth and a two-run shot in the sixth. His three-run shot, which came after a 91-minute rain delay in the first day game at Nationals Park, enabled Smoltz to take the mound with a 4-0 lead.

"When you can give Smoltzie a lead like that you feel like it's pretty much over," Francoeur said.

The Nationals' skid is their longest since moving to Washington in 2005 from Montreal. The last time the franchise lost nine in a row was the final nine games of the 2000 season.

"Playing catch-up baseball at this level against a guy like John Smoltz is not very good," Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

Smoltz (2-0) pitched six innings and allowed one run and five hits. He walked two and struck out five -- leaving him just 14 strikeouts shy of 3,000.

He earned his 209th career win and 21st against the Montreal-Washington franchise -- most against any opponent.

"When we got the four runs, it was like that energy drink stuff -- helped me out," said the 40-year-old Smotlz, who slept just four hours the night before because of a head cold.

Francoeur hit a three-run homer to left in the first off John Lannan (0-2) to make it 4-0. Mark Teixeira drove in the Braves' first run with an RBI single.

Francoeur then had a two-run single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning off Lannan, and his two-run shot to nearly the same spot in left off Jason Bergmann in the sixth put the Braves ahead 9-1.

Brian McCann, who had three hits, followed Francoeur and hit a home run on the next pitch, the first back-to-back home runs of the season for Atlanta.

After the game, Bergmann was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.

By the time the Braves had the 10-1 lead, Chipper Jones was in the clubhouse getting treatment for two sore quads.

"I told him, before the game, if we get a lead, I'm going to take you out," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It worked out perfectly."

Lannan pitched four innings, allowing the six runs and nine hits, walking two and striking out one.

Washington scored a run in the fourth off Smoltz on an RBI triple by Willie Harris and one in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman had two hits - ending his 0-for-16 slump, which tied the longest in his career.

"Any time you get down that much with (Smoltz) on the mound, you're thinking 'Oh, no,"' Zimmerman said. "But it's still early in the season. Every team in the big leagues is going to lose more than five in a row at one point."

Notes

  • The Nationals reactivated RHP Chad Cordero from the 15-day disabled list. Cordero had been out with tendinitis in his right shoulder.
  • Washington plans to reactivate OF Wily Mo Pena from the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. He's been out with a strained left side muscle.
  • Cox said he expected Jones to play Sunday.
  • Atlanta released INF Scott Spiezio from its Triple-A Richmond affiliate. Spiezio pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drunken driving on April 7, was let go because "he was not ready to play" on Friday, Braves general manager Frank Wren said.
  • Washington INF Kory Casto, who's currently assigned to Triple-A Columbus, underwent surgery on a broken bone in his right hand on Saturday. He's expected to be out four to six weeks.
 
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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Jeff Francoeur, who enters with four RBI in 10 games, hits two HRs and drives in a career-high seven.  (AP)
Jeff Francoeur, who enters with four RBI in 10 games, hits two HRs and drives in a career-high seven. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Francoeur
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 7
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Atlanta Braves
Kelly Johnson, 2B5120010 .294
Yunel Escobar, SS5210002 .318
Chipper Jones, 3B1210200 .386
    Martin Prado, 3B2000001 .250
Mark Teixeira, 1B4111112 .186
Jeff Francoeur, RF5237000 .298
Brian McCann, C4131012 .351
    Gregor Blanco, CF0000100 .250
Matt Diaz, LF5120022 .267
Mark Kotsay, CF3000112 .250
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
    Jeff Bennett, P0000000 .000
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
   a- Ruben Gotay, PH1000011 .286
    Manny Acosta, P0000000 .000
John Smoltz, P3001011 .000
   b- Corky Miller, PH-C1000000 .167
Totals3910131058  
a-struck out for Boyer in the 9th
b-flied out for Smoltz in the 7th
Batting
2B - Kelly Johnson (1, Lannan), Brian McCann (4, Lannan), Matt Diaz (1, Bergmann)
HR - Jeff Francoeur 2 (3, Lannan, Bergmann), Brian McCann (3, Bergmann)
RBI - Mark Teixeira (6), Jeff Francoeur 7 (11), Brian McCann (8), John Smoltz (1)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff Francoeur 4 (8), Brian McCann (5)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Acosta-Escobar-Teixeira
E - John Smoltz (1, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz (W,2-0) 6511250 0.82
Will Ohman 0.1111200 2.25
Jeff Bennett 0.2000100 3.72
Blaine Boyer 1000110 6.75
Manny Acosta 1100000 7.20
WP - John Smoltz (1)
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 90-59, Will Ohman 19-7, Jeff Bennett 12-6, Blaine Boyer 16-8, Manny Acosta 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 8-5, Jeff Bennett 1-1, Blaine Boyer 2-0, Manny Acosta 2-0
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 25, Will Ohman 4, Jeff Bennett 3, Blaine Boyer 4, Manny Acosta 3
Washington Nationals
Cristian Guzman, SS5030010 .321
Lastings Milledge, CF4000112 .265
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3021100 .220
Nick Johnson, 1B2000103 .270
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
   a- Johnny Estrada, PH0000100 .333
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
Austin Kearns, RF4010015 .250
Paul Lo Duca, C3000101 .212
Felipe Lopez, 2B4100002 .207
Willie Harris, LF3111121 .111
John Lannan, P1000010 .000
   b- Rob Mackowiak, PH1000001 .000
    Jason Bergmann, P0000000 .000
    Aaron Boone, 1B2000002 .100
Totals3227266  
a-walked for Hanrahan in the 7th
b-flied out for Lannan in the 4th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (3, Smoltz)
3B - Willie Harris (1, Smoltz)
SF - Ryan Zimmerman (2)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (4), Willie Harris (1)
2-OUT RBI - Willie Harris (1)
SB - Felipe Lopez (2, 2nd base off Smoltz/McCann)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Guzman-F. Lopez-N. Johnson
Washington Nationals
John Lannan (L,0-2) 4966421 6.75
Jason Bergmann 2444022 11.68
Joel Hanrahan 1000010 7.50
Jesus Colome 2000130 1.29
Pitches-Strikes - John Lannan 85-48, Jason Bergmann 29-24, Joel Hanrahan 10-7, Jesus Colome 26-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lannan 6-3, Jason Bergmann 1-3, Joel Hanrahan 1-1
Batters Faced - John Lannan 24, Jason Bergmann 10, Joel Hanrahan 3, Jesus Colome 7
Game Information
Attendance - 32532
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Marvin Hudson, First Base - Randy Marsh, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Hunter Wendelstedt