Washington at Atlanta

W: C. Kimbrel (3-2) L: R. Mattheus (2-1)
HR: WAS - D. Espinosa (17)   ATL - B. McCann (16),N. McLouth (4)

Braves edge Nationals on Freeman walk-off hit

CBSSports.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman said it was smart for Washington's Ryan Mattheus to walk Brian McCann with first base open in the ninth inning.

Why face McCann, a six-time All-Star who hit a three-run homer earlier in the game, when the Nationals instead could face Freeman, a rookie who didn't have a hit in the game at that point?

Freeman seized the opportunity, delivering a single to right field to drive in Martin Prado from second base, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 9-8 win over the Nationals on Sunday.

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"I hadn't been in that situation very often, so when they walked Mac, I got a little extra excited," Freeman said. "I wouldn't pitch to him, either."

Mattheus (2-1) walked pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad to start the bottom of the ninth. Jordan Schafer sacrificed Conrad to second before Conrad was thrown out at third on Prado's grounder to shortstop Ian Desmond. Prado stole second base before the walk to McCann.

Freeman lined a 1-0 pitch into right field and was soon in the middle of a celebration between first and second base.

Like Freeman, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez also said walking McCann was the smart move.

"Pick your poison. I think they made a pretty good decision, but Freddie made them pay," Gonzalez said.

Washington left-hander Tom Gorzelanny left the game with a twisted right ankle in the third inning. He limped off the field after scoring from first base in a home-plate collision with McCann on Roger Bernadina's triple.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he believes Gorzelanny, with the help of an off day on Thursday, can make his next scheduled start against the Dodgers on Friday.

"He's got an extra day, so hopefully he'll be able to make his next start in L.A.," Johnson said.

The Braves led 2-0 in the first inning before trailing 6-2 after four, rallying with five runs in the fifth only to again lose the lead when the Nationals scored two in the sixth.

"It was a fun game to play," Freeman said.

Craig Kimbrel (3-2) gave up a walk and a single in a scoreless ninth.

Nationals All-Star reliever Tyler Clippard recorded five straight outs, four on strikeouts, before giving up Nate McLouth's tying homer in the eighth.

Danny Espinosa had three hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth that gave Washington an 8-7 lead. Espinosa, who also had a single and a run-scoring triple, drove in Bernadina with his 17th homer off George Sherrill.

McCann's 16th homer was the highlight of Atlanta's five-run fifth.

Making his first start since the All-Star game, Jair Jurrjens gave up a season-high six runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings. He allowed a combined 11 baserunners in the third and fourth but was allowed to pitch through the Nationals' four-run fourth.

"He just couldn't get his breaking ball over," Gonzalez said.

Jurrjens pitched a perfect fifth before leaving the game for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning. His ERA climbed from 1.87, best in the major leagues, to 2.26, still good enough to lead the NL.

"Just mechanics," Jurrjens said. "I was flying open, leaving pitches up. ... It's just something I need to work on in the next bullpen."

It was the second straight game in which a Braves starting pitcher set a season high for runs allowed. Tommy Hanson gave up five runs in Atlanta's 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Saturday night.

Gorzelanny issued three walks in the Braves' two-run first inning. Gorzelanny and Johnson argued when second base umpire Dana DeMuth called a ball for Gorzelanny putting his pitching hand to his mouth while on the mound.

The call gave Dan Uggla a walk, loading the bases, before Gorzelanny's wild pitch allowed Prado to score from third.

After Gorzelanny scored on Bernadina's third-inning triple, Bernadina kept running and scored on Uggla's wild relay throw for an error. The throw forced McCann to move up the third-base line and set up the collision with Gorzelanny.

The Nationals had six hits in the four-run fourth, including a two-run triple by Desmond. Espinosa added another triple off the top of the wall in center before scoring on Ryan Zimmerman's double.


  • The Nationals optioned INF Brian Bixler to Triple-A Syracuse after the game. INF Jerry Hairston Jr. could come off the disabled list Monday.
  • Clippard has allowed eight homers.
  • 3B Chipper Jones, on the 15-day DL following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee July 9, will not accompany the Braves on their four-game series at Colorado. He still hopes to come off the DL the first day he is eligible, on July 24.
  • Braves rookie Wilkin Ramirez made his second straight start and had a double.
Copyright 2017 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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Freddie Freeman celebrates his game-winning hit with Brian McCann, as Atlanta pulls out a dramatic comeback. (AP)
Freddie Freeman celebrates his game-winning hit with Brian McCann, as Atlanta pulls out a dramatic comeback. (AP)

Players of the Game

B. McCann
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

D. Espinosa
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1

Related Video

Washington Nationals
Roger Bernadina, CF-LF4321011 .263
Danny Espinosa, 2B5233021 .248
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3011200 .248
Michael Morse, 1B5010024 .300
Jayson Werth, RF5000014 .213
Laynce Nix, LF4110000 .274
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
Jesus Flores, C4110020 .200
Ian Desmond, SS3012110 .226
Tom Gorzelanny, P1100001 .043
    Henry Rodriguez, P1000011 .000
    Sean Burnett, P10100001.000
    Rick Ankiel, CF1000000 .230
2B - Ryan Zimmerman (7, Jurrjens), Jesus Flores (1, Jurrjens), Ian Desmond (13, Jurrjens)
3B - Roger Bernadina (2, Jurrjens), Danny Espinosa (5, Jurrjens)
HR - Danny Espinosa (17, Sherrill)
RBI - Roger Bernadina (20), Danny Espinosa 3 (55), Ryan Zimmerman (17), Ian Desmond 2 (24)
2-OUT RBI - Danny Espinosa 3 (19), Ryan Zimmerman (7)
SB - Roger Bernadina 2 (15, 2nd base off Jurrjens/McCann, 2nd base off Jurrjens/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
E - Jesus Flores (1, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Tom Gorzelanny 2122320 4.07
Henry Rodriguez 2.1233020 2.94
Sean Burnett 1.2222121 5.67
Tyler Clippard (BS,5) 2111041 1.82
Ryan Mattheus (L,2-1) 0.2111200 1.72
IBB - McCann by Ryan Mattheus
HBP - Heyward (by Henry Rodriguez)
WP - Tom Gorzelanny (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 46-26, Henry Rodriguez 43-28, Sean Burnett 28-18, Tyler Clippard 32-21, Ryan Mattheus 20-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 2-2, Henry Rodriguez 4-1, Sean Burnett 2-1, Ryan Mattheus 2-0
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 10, Henry Rodriguez 10, Sean Burnett 8, Tyler Clippard 7, Ryan Mattheus 5
Atlanta Braves
Jordan Schafer, CF3211110 .235
Martin Prado, 3B5211002 .274
Brian McCann, C4113121 .308
Freddie Freeman, 1B3111200 .273
Dan Uggla, 2B3010120 .189
Alex Gonzalez, SS4001012 .228
Nate McLouth, LF-RF4111013 .229
Wilkin Ramirez, RF3110010 .333
   a- Eric Hinske, PH-LF1000010 .258
Jair Jurrjens, P1000000 .083
   b- Jason Heyward, PH0100000 .224
    George Sherrill, P0000000 .000
   c- Julio Lugo, PH1000010 .105
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
   d- Brooks Conrad, PH0000100 .241
a-struck out for Ramirez in the 8th
b-hit by pitch for Jurrjens in the 5th
c-struck out for Sherrill in the 6th
d-walked for Kimbrel in the 9th
2B - Wilkin Ramirez (2, Rodriguez)
HR - Brian McCann (16, Burnett), Nate McLouth (4, Clippard)
SH - Jordan Schafer (4)
RBI - Jordan Schafer (7), Martin Prado (36), Brian McCann 3 (53), Freddie Freeman (47), Alex Gonzalez (30), Nate McLouth (14)
2-OUT RBI - Freddie Freeman (21), Nate McLouth (7)
SB - Jordan Schafer 2 (13, 3rd base off Gorzelanny/Flores, 2nd base off Rodriguez/Flores), Martin Prado 2 (4, 2nd base off Gorzelanny/Flores, 2nd base off Mattheus/Flores)
Team LOB - 5
E - Dan Uggla (11, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
Jair Jurrjens 5866260 2.26
George Sherrill (BS,1) 1222001 2.67
Eric O'Flaherty 1000000 1.02
Jonny Venters 1000020 1.44
Craig Kimbrel (W,3-2) 1100120 2.30
HBP - Bernadina (by Jair Jurrjens)
Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 83-50, George Sherrill 14-12, Eric O'Flaherty 11-5, Jonny Venters 12-9, Craig Kimbrel 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 3-5, George Sherrill 3-0, Eric O'Flaherty 2-1, Craig Kimbrel 1-0
Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 25, George Sherrill 5, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Jonny Venters 3, Craig Kimbrel 5
Game Information
Attendance - 30314
Game Time - 3:20
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - D.J. Reyburn, First Base - Doug Eddings, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Kerwin Danley