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Atlanta at Washington

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Atlanta (83-70) «200000011491
Washington (52-101)000000010132

Vazquez gives up three hits in third complete game for winning Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Bobby Cox sat in his chair, his post-game victory cigar lit and watched a game on television.

Just minutes after he watched Javier Vazquez throw a complete game to keep his Atlanta Braves' flickering wild card hopes alive, Cox was rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Braves began Friday night 3½ games behind Colorado for the NL wild card, and after Vazquez stifled the Washington Nationals with a three-hitter in Atlanta's 4-1 victory, Cox had his eyes on the Cardinals-Rockies game.

"They need to beat those mountain boys up a little bit," Cox said.

But the Rockies won 2-1, keeping Atlanta 3½ games back.

Cox could relax because he watched Vazquez throw his third complete game of the season and second in three starts. Vazquez (15-9) allowed a leadoff home run to Josh Bard, his sixth, in the eighth inning. Vazquez also gave a leadoff single to Willie Harris in the first and a one-out double to Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth. He retired 11 straight between Zimmerman's double and Bard's homer.

Vazquez, who won his fifth straight, struck out seven and walked one. He is 10-2 since July 7.

"Nowadays, there are not a lot of complete games," Vazquez said. "When I'm on the mound, I want to throw eight, nine innings."

The Braves have won four straight and 12 of 14.

"It's important for us to win every game from now on because Colorado is ahead," Vazquez said. "We're playing great defense."

While the Braves are playing great defense, the Nationals are not. Three of Atlanta's four runs were unearned. The fourth came on Martin Prado's homer in the ninth.

Vazquez walked to the mound with a 2-0 lead, thanks to a madcap first inning.

With two outs, Chipper Jones lined a ball at right fielder Josh Willingham, which he said he lost in the lights. Jones was awarded a single. After Brian McCann walked, Yunel Escobar's grounder went through second baseman Pete Orr's legs for a two-base error, scoring Jones. Garret Anderson's fly ball fell between center fielder Justin Maxwell and left fielder Harris for a base hit to score McCann.

"You get the extra at-bat, you've got to take them when you get them," Cox said.

All season long, the Nationals, who lost for the 101st time, have given their opponents a lot of extra at-bats. They have committed 135 errors -- by far the most in major leagues.

"Basically, we're in a funk here where if it can go wrong, it's going to go wrong," Washington interim manager Jim Riggleman said.

On Thursday, Washington became the first National League team in 35 years to lose 100 games in consecutive seasons.

John Lannan (9-13) allowed two unearned runs in seven innings for the Nationals, who lost for the 101st time -- one shy of last year's total. Lannan threw a season-high 122 pitches, losing for the fourth time in his last five starts. He allowed six hits, walked three and struck out six and refused to blame his team's shoddy defense.

"It's going to happen, it just happened all together," Lannan said.

The Braves added a third unearned run in the eighth when Escobar led off with a sinking line drive to center that Maxwell couldn't catch. Shortstop Ian Desmond retrieved it and threw wildly, allowing Escobar to reach second. He moved to third on an infield out and scored on Matt Diaz's single.

Notes

  • Vazquez is 10-2 on the road, but just 5-7 at Turner Field.
  • Escobar, Atlanta's SS, hasn't committed an error in 44 games -- a career high.
  • Washington C Wil Nieves missed his seventh straight game with a strained hamstring.
  • Bard's home run was the 109th allowed by the Braves -- lowest in the majors.
 
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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Javier Vazquez retires 11 in a row for one stretch to help the Braves win their four straight. (AP)
Javier Vazquez retires 11 in a row for one stretch to help the Braves win their four straight. (AP)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

J. Vazquez
IP 9.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 7
Atlanta

M. Prado
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF5000023 .264
Martin Prado, 2B5121000 .305
Chipper Jones, 3B5120011 .269
Brian McCann, C4110112 .284
Yunel Escobar, SS5110002 .298
Garret Anderson, LF4011002 .271
    Reid Gorecki, LF0000000 .208
Matt Diaz, RF2021200 .322
Adam LaRoche, 1B3000125 .282
Javier Vazquez, P2000001 .182
Totals3549346  
Batting
2B - Martin Prado (33, Lannan), Chipper Jones (22, Lannan)
HR - Martin Prado (11, Rivera)
SH - Javier Vazquez 2 (20)
RBI - Martin Prado (49), Garret Anderson (57), Matt Diaz (54)
2-OUT RBI - Garret Anderson (22)
SB - Brian McCann (4, 2nd base off Lannan/Bard), Matt Diaz (12, 2nd base off Bergmann/Bard)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Brian McCann (12, Interference)
Atlanta Braves
Javier Vazquez (W,15-9) 9311171 2.83
Pitches-Strikes - Javier Vazquez 103-71
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Javier Vazquez 9-10
Batters Faced - Javier Vazquez 31
Washington Nationals
Willie Harris, LF4010010 .226
Ian Desmond, SS4000011 .289
Adam Dunn, 1B4000001 .276
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3010010 .289
Josh Willingham, RF3000013 .270
Pete Orr, 2B2000101 .283
Josh Bard, C3111001 .232
Justin Maxwell, CF3000020 .221
John Lannan, P2000010 .143
    Jason Bergmann, P0000000 .000
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
   a- Cristian Guzman, PH1000000 .286
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .333
Totals2913117  
a-flied out for Villone in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (33, Vazquez)
HR - Josh Bard (6, Vazquez)
RBI - Josh Bard (31)
CS - Pete Orr (1, 2nd base by Vazquez/McCann)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Ian Desmond (5, Throwing), Pete Orr (3, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
John Lannan (L,9-13) 7620360 3.93
Jason Bergmann 0.2210100 4.95
Ron Villone 0.1000000 4.33
Saul Rivera 1111001 6.29
IBB - LaRoche by Jason Bergmann
Pitches-Strikes - John Lannan 122-77, Jason Bergmann 13-6, Ron Villone 4-2, Saul Rivera 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lannan 9-7, Jason Bergmann 2-0, Ron Villone 1-0, Saul Rivera 2-1
Batters Faced - John Lannan 31, Jason Bergmann 5, Ron Villone 1, Saul Rivera 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28276
Game Time - 2:27
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Bruce Dreckman, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Scott Barry, Third Base - Tim Tschida