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Washington at Atlanta

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Washington (59-103) «00001000000012130
Atlanta (86-76)00010000000001130

Nationals 2, Braves 1 (15)

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- The Washington Nationals completed a dismal season with a glimmer of hope. The Atlanta Braves finished a promising year with a brutal final week.

Alberto Gonzalez came through with two-out, run-scoring single in the 15th inning and Washington closed its 103-loss season with a seven-game winning streak, beating the Braves 2-1 on Sunday.

Playing the longest game since the franchise moved to Washington from Montreal before the 2005 season, the Nationals became the first team in baseball history to close the season with seven straight wins after losing the first seven. Still, they finished with the worst record in baseball.

"Win or lose, that's the kind of game you're proud to be part of," said manager Jim Riggleman, who took over during the season and doesn't know if he'll be back. "I'm very proud of this team. For a team to have that kind of record and still play with that kind of intensity at the end is really great."

Atlanta, which got within two games of the wild-card lead with six remaining, finished with a season-high six-game losing streak. Logan Kensing (1-2) earned the win with two scoreless innings, striking out Brooks Conrad on a checked swing for the final out with runners at second and third.

"It was a crazy game," Chipper Jones said. "We gave the fans a little extra baseball to remember us by."

If only the Braves could forget the last six days.

Atlanta revived its playoff hopes by winning 15 of 17, but two disheartening losses to the Florida Marlins ended the Braves' hopes. They were swept in a four-game series by hapless Washington to finish an 86-76 season -- still a 14-win improvement on 2008, but third in the NL East behind Philadelphia and Florida.

"We just didn't play well the last four games of the year," Jones said. "We expended a lot of energy getting to that point. Once we had a letdown, it was pretty evident."

Elijah Dukes started the winning rally off Boone Logan (1-1) with a one-out walk. Mike Morse flied out, but Wil Nieves and Gonzalez came through with back-to-back singles to break a tie that had stood since the seventh.

Kensing retired the first two hitters in the bottom half, but the Braves tried to rally. Omar Infante singled and Martin Prado doubled on an 0-2 pitch to bring up Conrad, who had entered the game in the 13th. The little-used infielder worked the count to 2-2, then tried to stop his swing on a pitch in the dirt.

But third base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled he went around to end the season. Conrad slammed his bat in disgust and manager Bobby Cox stared at Kulpa, trotting off the field, in disbelief.

"You hate to end the game on a check swing, which I didn't think he swung at," Cox said. "When you're still playing for a tie with Florida to finish second, the game meant something. We wanted to finish second. There was a purpose for playing."

The Braves jumped ahead in the sixth on Nate McLouth's 20th homer off J.D. Martin, who went six strong innings. Washington tied it in the seventh, stringing together three straight hits off Tim Hudson. Pinch-hitter Adam Dunn had an RBI single.

Jones led off the eighth with a pinch-hit single to break an 0-for-19 slump. He finished the worst season of his career with a .264 average -- exactly 100 points below his NL-leading figure from a year ago -- and remained stuck on 18 homers, snapping a record-tying streak.

Jones will share the record of 20-homer seasons at the start of a career with Eddie Mathews, both doing it 14 years in a row.

Hudson went seven innings, allowing one run and seven hits in what could be his final game for the Braves. He has a $12 million mutual option for next season, but it's hard to see the Braves doling out that kind of money when they already have five other starters under contract for next season.

The finale drew 36,307 to Turner Field, leaving the Braves' attendance at 2,373,631 for the season -- 320,650 fewer than last year, a nearly 12 percent drop and their lowest since 2003.

Notes

Washington's record was the franchise's worst since a 55-107 season as the Montreal Expos in 1976. ... Braves RHP Peter Moylan extended his franchise record for most appearances, working a scoreless eighth in his 87th game of the season. More impressively, the Aussie right-hander made it through an entire year -- 73 innings -- without giving up a homer.

 
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
Atlanta

N. McLouth
AB 6
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Washington

A. Gonzalez
AB 6
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Washington Nationals
Justin Maxwell, CF4000343 .247
Ian Desmond, SS7020026 .280
Pete Orr, 3B7010013 .253
Elijah Dukes, RF5110212 .250
Mike Morse, 1B7010013 .250
Josh Bard, C4010000 .230
    Wil Nieves, C2010100 .259
Alberto Gonzalez, 2B6121103 .265
Jorge Padilla, LF3010010 .120
   a- Josh Willingham, PH-LF4010034 .260
J.D. Martin, P2000020 .160
   b- Adam Dunn, PH1011000 .267
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   c- Cristian Guzman, PH1000001 .284
    Ron Villone, P0000000 .000
    Jason Bergmann, P0000000 .000
    Saul Rivera, P0000000 .333
   d- Ryan Zimmerman, PH1010000 .292
    Logan Kensing, P0000000 .000
Totals542132715  
a-struck out for J. Padilla in the 9th
b-singled for Martin in the 7th
c-grounded out for Clippard in the 9th
d-doubled for Rivera in the 14th
Batting
2B - Ian Desmond (7, Medlen), Mike Morse (3, Kawakami), Josh Bard (18, Hudson), Ryan Zimmerman (37, Acosta)
SH - Saul Rivera (1)
RBI - Alberto Gonzalez (33), Adam Dunn (105)
2-OUT RBI - Alberto Gonzalez (13)
CS - Justin Maxwell (1, 2nd base by Hudson/Sammons)
Team LOB - 15
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jorge Padilla 1
DP - Gonzalez-Desmond-Morse
Washington Nationals
J.D. Martin 6611021 4.44
Tyler Clippard 2100020 2.69
Ron Villone 1.2100120 4.25
Jason Bergmann 0.1000010 4.50
Saul Rivera 3200110 6.10
Logan Kensing (W,1-2) 2300020 8.92
IBB - Prado by Saul Rivera
Pitches-Strikes - J.D. Martin 69-47, Tyler Clippard 25-16, Ron Villone 33-22, Jason Bergmann 7-4, Saul Rivera 42-25, Logan Kensing 26-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J.D. Martin 2-13, Tyler Clippard 2-2, Ron Villone 1-2, Saul Rivera 5-3, Logan Kensing 3-0
Batters Faced - J.D. Martin 23, Tyler Clippard 7, Ron Villone 7, Jason Bergmann 1, Saul Rivera 12, Logan Kensing 8
Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF6111032 .256
Omar Infante, RF-LF7030013 .305
Martin Prado, 3B-RF6020102 .307
Garret Anderson, LF4000002 .268
    Reid Gorecki, LF1000010 .200
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH-3B2000014 .204
Adam LaRoche, 1B6010013 .277
Yunel Escobar, SS6020010 .299
Kelly Johnson, 2B6010012 .224
Clint Sammons, C6010011 .182
Tim Hudson, P2010001 .333
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
   b- Chipper Jones, PH1010000 .264
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
    Kris Medlen, P0000000 .000
   c- Greg Norton, PH0000100 .145
    Kenshin Kawakami, P0000000 .098
   d- Brian McCann, PH1000001 .281
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Manny Acosta, P0000000 .000
   e- Javier Vazquez, PH1000000 .176
    Boone Logan, P0000000 .000
Totals551131210  
a-flied out for Gorecki in the 13th
b-singled for Moylan in the 8th
c-walked for Medlen in the 10th
d-grounded out for Kawakami in the 12th
e-grounded out for Logan in the 15th
Batting
2B - Omar Infante 2 (9, Martin, Rivera), Martin Prado (38, Kensing)
HR - Nate McLouth (20, Martin)
SH - Nate McLouth (3)
RBI - Nate McLouth (70)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Escobar-Johnson-LaRoche, Escobar-Johnson-LaRoche
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson 7711270 3.61
Peter Moylan 1000100 2.84
Rafael Soriano 1000110 2.97
Kris Medlen 1100010 4.26
Kenshin Kawakami 2200010 3.86
Eric O'Flaherty 1000010 3.04
Manny Acosta 1100220 4.34
Boone Logan (L,1-1) 1211120 5.19
WP - Kenshin Kawakami (8)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 92-61, Peter Moylan 8-3, Rafael Soriano 24-15, Kris Medlen 17-12, Kenshin Kawakami 24-17, Eric O'Flaherty 11-8, Manny Acosta 22-12, Boone Logan 20-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 8-5, Peter Moylan 2-0, Rafael Soriano 1-1, Kris Medlen 1-1, Kenshin Kawakami 3-1, Eric O'Flaherty 1-1
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 29, Peter Moylan 3, Rafael Soriano 4, Kris Medlen 4, Kenshin Kawakami 7, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Manny Acosta 6, Boone Logan 6
Game Information
Attendance - 36307
Game Time - 4:18
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Dale Scott, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Ron Kulpa