|Washington (57-103) «||0||1||3||0||2||0||0||0||0||6||10||1|
ATLANTA -- Ian Desmond is giving the Washington Nationals reason to look forward to 2010.
Desmond homered, tripled and drove in three runs and the Nationals kept up their strong finish to a dismal season by beating the Atlanta Braves 6-3 Friday night.
The Nationals, who lead the majors with 103 losses, have a five-game winning streak, their second-longest string of the year.
"Every game now is like a playoff game. We're battling out there," Desmond said.
Desmond, the rookie shortstop who drove in four runs in his major league debut against Philadelphia on Sept. 10, is hitting .286 with three homers and 11 RBI in 19 games.
"He's the kind of guy you can build with," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.
The Braves have lost four straight. They were eliminated from the NL wild-card race on Thursday and have a more modest goal of avoiding third place in the NL East after falling into a second-place tie with Florida.
"We're not letting down," manager Bobby Cox said. "We're trying to finish second ahead of Florida."
Livan Hernandez (9-12) earned only his second win in his last nine decisions, giving up nine hits and three runs in 6 1/3 innings. He was 7-8 with the New York Mets before signing with Washington on Aug. 25.
"Livan is going to pitch somewhere next year, and odds are it will be with us," Riggleman said.
That sounds good to the 34-year-old Hernandez.
"I would like to play here next year," Hernandez said. "That's something I want to do."
Mike MacDougal pitched the ninth for his 20th save.
Derek Lowe (15-10) gave up five earned runs on eight hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings. He finished the season with a 4.67 ERA, his highest since posting a 5.42 ERA in 2004, his last season in Boston.
Lowe said he's looking forward to trying to correct mechanical flaws in the offseason.
"I don't know where I went wrong," Lowe said. "I just got into so many bad habits as far as mechanics. I tried to correct it. It was never there.
"It's disappointing. It's frustrating, But it's over."
Lowe's ERA was under 4.00 four straight seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including a 3.24 mark in 2008.
"I'll get ready to come back next year with different stuff, be more competitive," he said.
The Nationals' first five hits off Lowe were for extra bases, including a second-inning homer by Desmond. David Ross had a two-run double for Atlanta in the bottom half.
Washington took a 4-2 lead in the third. Justin Maxwell led off the inning with a triple. Desmond added a two-run triple in the right-field corner.
The Nationals added two runs off Lowe in the fifth. With one out, Ryan Zimmerman singled and had to scramble back to first when Nate McLouth made a running catch at the top of the center-field wall on a drive by Josh Willingham.
Lowe walked Desmond and gave up a single by Alberto Gonzalez that drove in Zimmerman. Desmond scored when left fielder Garret Anderson's throw skipped past Ross at the plate. Anderson was charged with an error.
Chipper Jones, who won the NL batting title last season by hitting .364, is 100 points below that mark with two games left. He was 0 for 5 to fall to .264. Jones drove in McLouth with a seventh-inning groundout.
Martin Prado had four hits for Atlanta, his third four-hit game of the season.
Washington won eight straight from Aug. 2-9. ... The Braves were without OF Ryan Church, who was with his wife, Tina, in Viera, Fla., for the birth of the couple's second child, Madison Noel, on Friday afternoon. ... Atlanta's Omar Infante had three hits as the fill-in starter in right field when Matt Diaz was scratched with a jammed right thumb. ... Lowe's five walks, including one intentional, matched his career high.
|Players of the Game|
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|Justin Maxwell, CF||5||1||2||0||0||1||2||.256|
|Elijah Dukes, RF||4||0||0||1||1||1||1||.254|
|Adam Dunn, 1B||5||1||2||0||0||2||2||.268|
|Mike MacDougal, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||3||2||1||0||2||0||2||.288|
|Josh Willingham, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||5||.263|
|Saul Rivera, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Ron Villone, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jason Bergmann, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike Morse, 1B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.273|
|Ian Desmond, SS||3||2||2||3||1||0||0||.286|
|Alberto Gonzalez, 2B||3||0||1||1||1||1||1||.263|
|Wil Nieves, C||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.257|
|Jorge Padilla, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.091|
|Jamie Burke, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.122|
|Livan Hernandez, P||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.148|
|Willie Harris, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.234|
|2B - Adam Dunn 2 (29, Lowe, Lowe), Livan Hernandez (2, Medlen)|
|3B - Justin Maxwell (1, Lowe), Ian Desmond (2, Lowe)|
|HR - Ian Desmond (3, Lowe)|
|RBI - Elijah Dukes (58), Ian Desmond 3 (11), Alberto Gonzalez (32)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ian Desmond 2 (5), Alberto Gonzalez (12)|
|CS - Alberto Gonzalez (1, 2nd base by Lowe/Ross)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|E - Wil Nieves (6, Throwing)|
|Livan Hernandez (W,9-12)||6.1||9||3||3||1||2||0||5.44|
|Saul Rivera (H,1)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||6.23|
|Ron Villone (H,7)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||4.57|
|Jason Bergmann (H,10)||0.1||0||0||0||0||1||0||4.70|
|Mike MacDougal (S,20)||1||1||0||0||0||2||0||4.31|
|HBP - Ross (by Jason Bergmann)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 93-55, Saul Rivera 4-2, Ron Villone 24-14, Jason Bergmann 5-3, Mike MacDougal 17-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 10-7, Saul Rivera 1-0, Ron Villone 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 29, Saul Rivera 1, Ron Villone 4, Jason Bergmann 2, Mike MacDougal 4|
|Nate McLouth, CF||4||1||0||0||1||0||3||.256|
|Martin Prado, 2B||5||0||4||0||0||0||2||.307|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||5||0||0||1||0||2||2||.264|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||3||4||.279|
|Garret Anderson, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.273|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.301|
|Omar Infante, RF||4||1||3||0||0||0||0||.309|
|David Ross, C||3||0||2||2||0||0||0||.273|
|Derek Lowe, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.222|
|Kris Medlen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Kelly Johnson, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.223|
|Kenshin Kawakami, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.098|
|b- Brian McCann, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.279|
|Eric O'Flaherty, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-singled for Medlen in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Kawakami in the 8th|
|2B - Martin Prado (37, MacDougal), David Ross (9, Hernandez)|
|SH - Derek Lowe (12)|
|RBI - Chipper Jones (71), David Ross 2 (20)|
|SB - Martin Prado (1, 3rd base off Hernandez/Nieves)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Escobar-Prado-LaRoche, Kawakami-Escobar-LaRoche|
|E - Garret Anderson (4, Throwing)|
|Derek Lowe (L,15-10)||4.2||8||6||5||5||4||1||4.67|
|IBB - Zimmerman by Derek Lowe|
|Pitches-Strikes - Derek Lowe 106-58, Kris Medlen 35-24, Kenshin Kawakami 9-7, Eric O'Flaherty 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Derek Lowe 4-4, Kris Medlen 3-2, Kenshin Kawakami 1-0, Eric O'Flaherty 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Derek Lowe 25, Kris Medlen 9, Kenshin Kawakami 3, Eric O'Flaherty 3|
|Attendance - 33124|
|Game Time - 2:56|
|Temperature - 70|
|Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Ron Kulpa, Second Base - Mike DiMuro, Third Base - Dale Scott|