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Atlanta at Washington

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Atlanta (59-78)100300000480
Washington (52-85) «20010005x8110

Nationals 8, Braves 4

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- By the time he rounded second base, Aaron Boone's momentary disappointment at not executing a bunt was already a distant memory.

After failing to lay down a sacrifice, Boone slammed a three-run, eighth-inning home run to lift the Washington Nationals to their season-high sixth consecutive win, 8-4 over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.

Called on to bunt after a single by Ryan Zimmerman and a walk to Elijah Dukes, Boone popped Elmer Dessens' first offering foul. Boone sent the next pitch from Dessens (0-1) into the left-field bullpen for his sixth homer, his first since May 27.

"It's a good foul-off, huh?" Boone said. "Yeah, it was good -- a good job of not executing. I only got one strike. If they would have put (the bunt) back on, I would have got it down."

Boone finished with four RBI and Washington went on to score five times in the eighth, sending 11 men to the plate. It's the Nationals' longest winning streak since a 10-game run from June 2-12, 2005, the team's first season in Washington after moving from Montreal.

"Things have been a lot better. It's a lot more fun to be a part of," Boone said. "You definitely see progress. You see guys coming to play and coming to work. And it's refreshing. As disappointing as this year's been at times, I think it's starting to turn."

Washington manager Manny Acta defended his decision to play the percentages and call for the bunt, reasoning that it made sense to give Boone one chance to sacrifice.

"It was a one-shot type of thing," Acta said. "If he didn't get it down, we were going to let him swing."

That strategy, said Boone, may have lulled the Braves into a false sense of security.

"In a weird way, it kind of turned in my favor, I think. ... I think they still thought I was bunting and they wanted to stay aggressive with me," Boone said. "I got a good pitch to hit."

The eighth-inning collapse snatched a victory away from right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who had limited the Nationals to three runs and five hits over six innings, striking out seven.

Jurrjens, however, took responsibility for not pitching deeper into the game.

"The bullpen, we've been working them too much. The starters aren't giving them a lot of innings. ... It's hard for them to go out there every day and save the starters," Jurrjens said. "I wouldn't want to be in their situation, either. I feel their pain."

Garrett Mock (1-3) recorded his first major league win with a scoreless eighth inning.

Willie Harris had three hits for Washington.

With third baseman Chipper Jones and catcher Brian McCann -- who have combined for 43 home runs -- out of the starting lineup for the finale of the weekend series, Atlanta couldn't muster enough offense to prevent its 16th loss in 20 games.

"It got way out of hand," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, whose team has dropped 10 of 14 games to Washington, the worst team in the National League this season.

Atlanta took a 1-0 lead in the first when Martin Prado hit a two-out double and scored on Omar Infante's RBI single. Dukes' run-scoring groundout and an RBI infield single by Boone put the Nationals ahead in the bottom of the inning.

Yunel Escobar's eighth homer restored the Braves' lead in the fourth. Prado walked, Infante singled and Escobar crushed Collin Balester's 1-0 pitch into the left-field seats.

Harris' RBI hit in the fourth pulled the Nationals to 4-3.

Washington rookie right-hander Collin Balester pitched a career-best seven innings, allowing four runs and six hits. More importantly, he kept the Braves in check after they took the lead.

"He basically split the game. ... In the first part of the game, he had no command of any of his pitches," Acta said. "Then the second part of it, he got command of his curveball and his fastball and was able to pitch ahead and pitch in and out."

After Boone's homer, Emilio Bonifacio doubled to left and scored on a Wil Nieves single for a 7-4 lead. Cristian Guzman later added an RBI single off Will Ohman.

Notes

Dukes hit cleanup for the first time this season. ... Braves RHP Manny Acosta was unavailable due to soreness in his right shoulder. ...The Nationals will recall OF Roger Bernadina and 1B-OF Kory Casto from Triple-A Columbus on Monday when rosters expand. Washington also will activate SS Alberto Gonzalez left hamstring strain) from the 15-day disabled list and select the contracts of LHP Mike Hinckley and RHPs Shairon Martis and Levale Speigner from Columbus. ... Atlanta will recall RHPs Charlie Morton and Brent Lillibridge and LHP Jeff Ridgway from Triple-A Richmond on Tuesday. The Braves will purchase the contracts of C Corky Miller and RHP James Parr from Richmond. All five will be added to the roster for Tuesday's game in Florida. To make room on the 40-man roster, OF Matt Diaz and RHP Rafael Soriano will be moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

 
Copyright 2015 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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Players of the Game
Washington

A. Boone
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
Atlanta

Y. Escobar
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Atlanta Braves
Josh Anderson, CF5000012 .289
Gregor Blanco, LF3000110 .254
Martin Prado, 1B3220101 .349
Omar Infante, 3B3121110 .309
Yunel Escobar, SS4123012 .282
Jeff Francoeur, RF4010003 .230
Kelly Johnson, 2B4000011 .263
Clint Sammons, C3000011 .189
   a- Brian McCann, PH1010000 .298
Jair Jurrjens, P2000020 .096
   b- Brandon Jones, PH0000100 .254
    Blaine Boyer, P0000000 .000
    Elmer Dessens, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
   c- Greg Norton, PH1000001 .263
Totals3348448  
a-doubled for Sammons in the 9th
b-walked for Jurrjens in the 7th
c-fouled out for Ohman in the 9th
Batting
2B - Martin Prado 2 (14, Balester, Mock), Yunel Escobar (22, Balester), Jeff Francoeur (25, Balester), Brian McCann (34, Colome)
HR - Yunel Escobar (8, Balester)
RBI - Omar Infante (32), Yunel Escobar 3 (55)
2-OUT RBI - Omar Infante (9)
CS - Gregor Blanco (5, 2nd base by Balester/Nieves)
Team LOB - 6
Atlanta Braves
Jair Jurrjens 6533370 3.59
Blaine Boyer (H,14) 1000010 5.11
Elmer Dessens (BS,1; L,0-1) 0.1455111 31.50
Will Ohman 0.2200120 3.40
Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 109-70, Blaine Boyer 14-9, Elmer Dessens 28-17, Will Ohman 22-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 6-5, Blaine Boyer 1-1
Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 26, Blaine Boyer 3, Elmer Dessens 6, Will Ohman 5
Washington Nationals
Willie Harris, CF5131001 .256
Cristian Guzman, SS5121012 .308
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4120112 .281
Elijah Dukes, RF4101134 .269
Aaron Boone, 1B4124001 .254
Ryan Langerhans, LF4000031 .225
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B3210110 .254
Wil Nieves, C3111101 .252
Collin Balester, P0000100 .182
   a- Lastings Milledge, PH1000010 .262
    Garrett Mock, P0000000 .000
   b- Ronnie Belliard, PH1000011 .277
    Jesus Colome, P0000000 .000
Totals348118511  
a-struck out for Balester in the 7th
b-struck out for Mock in the 8th
Batting
2B - Cristian Guzman (31, Jurrjens), Emilio Bonifacio (4, Dessens)
HR - Aaron Boone (6, Dessens)
SH - Collin Balester (5)
RBI - Willie Harris (41), Cristian Guzman (41), Elijah Dukes (29), Aaron Boone 4 (25), Wil Nieves (14)
2-OUT RBI - Willie Harris (16), Cristian Guzman (18), Aaron Boone (6)
Team LOB - 8
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Outfield Assists - Ryan Langerhans 1
Washington Nationals
Collin Balester 7644351 4.75
Garrett Mock (W,1-3) 1100120 5.33
Jesus Colome 1100010 4.79
WP - Garrett Mock (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Collin Balester 107-63, Garrett Mock 21-12, Jesus Colome 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Collin Balester 4-10, Jesus Colome 1-1
Batters Faced - Collin Balester 28, Garrett Mock 5, Jesus Colome 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31090
Game Time - 2:48
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Mike Everitt, First Base - Mike DiMuro, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Tim McClelland