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Atlanta (83-64)0001100002100

Nats play spoiler, top Braves behind Maxwell's slam

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox's review of the game looked good for his Atlanta Braves.

"We threw eight shutout innings. We outhit them. We doubled them in hits. Our bullpen was great," Cox said.

Trouble is, the Washington Nationals won and not the Braves.

Light-hitting Justin Maxwell's grand slam off rookie Mike Minor in the second inning powered the last-place Nationals past Atlanta 4-2 on Wednesday and sent the Braves to only their second home series loss this season.

Postseason Chase

Atlanta outhit the Nationals 10-5 but stranded seven runners.

"They had one major opportunity they took advantage of," said Atlanta's Matt Diaz, who had three hits, including two doubles. "We had quite a few opportunities, and we didn't take advantage of many of them at all. It's really frustrating when we're not able to do that."

John Lannan (8-7) gave up two runs, eight hits and three walks in six innings for the Nationals, who have won eight of 15 meetings with the Braves this season. Joel Peralta, Sean Burnett and Drew Storen combined for two-hit relief, with Storen pitching a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save in five chances.

Atlanta, which began the day two games back of NL East-leading Philadelphia, lost two of three to Washington, only the second series in 24 at Turner Field this year the Braves lost (19-2-3). Atlanta split four games against St. Louis during a 3-4 homestand but still has the major leagues' best home record at 52-23.

Maxwell was hitting only .132 (10 for 76) with six RBI before his drive off Mike Minor (3-1) stayed inside the left-field foul pole and went about 10 rows deep. It was only the third home run of the season for Maxwell and ninth of his big league career -- but he has three slams in four career at-bats with the bases loaded.

"You're just trying to make the most of every situation," Maxwell said. "I always have a special incentive when I have a chance to hit. I just try to do something with it."

Maxwell said he wasn't thinking of his success in bases-loaded situations.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play," he said.

Washington manager Jim Riggleman termed the 27-year-old "a work in progress."

"I think he knows he can hit," Riggleman said. "He has a few grand slams. He's not afraid of the situation."

Making his seventh major-league start following his Aug. 7 promotion from Triple-A Gwinnett, Minor said Maxwell hit a fastball. Minor noticed a drop in velocity on his fastball to 90 mph in recent starts, down about 2 to 3 mph from where it should be early in games.

"It was my fault," Minor said. "I threw him two fastballs right there. The second one, he got. It was more middle in. That's what he's looking for in that situation."

Mike Morse had a one-out double to center, Wilson Ramos singled and Alberto Gonzalez fell behind 0-1 before taking four consecutive balls.

Minor's ERA climbed from 5.63 to 5.84 as he gave up four or more runs for the third straight start. He allowed four hits in five innings, and struck out six.

Troy Glaus walked in the fourth, moved to third on a double by Matt Diaz and scored on Melky Cabrera's groundout. Martin Prado's fifth-inning single drove in Omar Infante, who led off with a double.

Atlanta wasted scoring chances in the sixth and seventh innings.

Lannan struck out David Ross with runners on first and second to end the sixth.

In the seventh, pinch-hitter Eric Hinske was credited with a leadoff double when center fielder Nyjer Morgan lost the ball in the sun. Hinske was stranded at third when Burnett struck out Prado.

"It was one of those days that didn't go our way," Cox said.

Notes

  • Atlanta lost two of three to the Phillies from April 20-22.
  • Riggleman said he isn't sure when Morgan will hear the determination of his appeal of seven- and eight-game suspensions.
  • Prado had three hits and leads the NL with 57 multihit games.
 
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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Justin Maxwell's grand slam hurts playoff hopeful Atlanta, which loses only its second home series in 2010.  (AP)
Justin Maxwell's grand slam hurts playoff hopeful Atlanta, which loses only its second home series in 2010. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

J. Maxwell
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
Atlanta

M. Prado
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Danny Espinosa, 2B4000021 .256
Nyjer Morgan, CF3000000 .258
Ian Desmond, SS3000120 .279
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000023 .302
Michael Morse, RF-1B4110020 .290
Wilson Ramos, C4120010 .280
Alberto Gonzalez, 1B2100101 .276
    Joel Peralta, P0000000 .000
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   a- Willie Harris, PH1000010 .186
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .500
Justin Maxwell, LF-RF3114000 .139
John Lannan, P2000010 .095
    Adam Kennedy, 1B1010000 .251
    Roger Bernadina, LF0000000 .259
Totals31454211  
a-struck out for Burnett in the 9th
Batting
2B - Michael Morse (11, Minor)
HR - Justin Maxwell (3, Minor)
RBI - Justin Maxwell 4 (10)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Justin Maxwell 1
DP - Lannan-Desmond-Espinosa-Gonzalez, Zimmerman-Espinosa-Morse
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
John Lannan (W,8-7) 6822360 4.61
Joel Peralta (H,7) 0.1100000 2.11
Sean Burnett (H,19) 1.2100020 2.45
Drew Storen (S,4) 1000010 3.10
Pitches-Strikes - John Lannan 99-56, Joel Peralta 8-5, Sean Burnett 22-14, Drew Storen 9-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lannan 5-4, Joel Peralta 1-0, Sean Burnett 1-1, Drew Storen 2-0
Batters Faced - John Lannan 26, Joel Peralta 2, Sean Burnett 5, Drew Storen 3
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Omar Infante, 2B3110010 .340
Jason Heyward, RF3000112 .287
Martin Prado, 3B4031012 .314
Troy Glaus, 1B3110101 .240
    Freddie Freeman, PR-1B0000000 .077
Matt Diaz, LF4030011 .250
Alex Gonzalez, SS4000015 .261
Melky Cabrera, CF3011100 .255
David Ross, C3000014 .274
   a- Nate McLouth, PH1000000 .187
Mike Minor, P1000010 .000
   b- Brooks Conrad, PH1000010 .241
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Takashi Saito, P0000000 .000
   c- Diory Hernandez, PH0000000 .111
   d- Eric Hinske, PH1010000 .253
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
   e- Brian McCann, PH1000010 .275
Totals32210239  
a-grounded out for Ross in the 9th
b-struck out for Minor in the 5th
c-announced for Saito in the 7th
d-doubled for Hernandez in the 7th
e-struck out for Kimbrel in the 9th
Batting
2B - Omar Infante (14, Lannan), Martin Prado (39, Lannan), Matt Diaz 2 (17, Lannan, Lannan), Eric Hinske (21, Peralta)
SH - Omar Infante (3)
RBI - Martin Prado (66), Melky Cabrera (41)
2-OUT RBI - Martin Prado (29)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - A. Gonzalez-Infante-Glaus
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Minor (L,3-1) 5444161 5.84
Peter Moylan 1000020 3.14
Takashi Saito 1000000 2.55
Jonny Venters 1100100 1.83
Craig Kimbrel 1000030 0.68
HBP - Morgan (by Jonny Venters)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 77-49, Peter Moylan 18-11, Takashi Saito 13-8, Jonny Venters 21-9, Craig Kimbrel 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 5-3, Peter Moylan 1-0, Takashi Saito 1-2, Jonny Venters 2-1
Batters Faced - Mike Minor 19, Peter Moylan 3, Takashi Saito 3, Jonny Venters 6, Craig Kimbrel 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19237
Game Time - 2:53
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Paul Nauert, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Dan Iassogna, Third Base - Dale Scott