|Washington (78-80) «||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||0||x||3||9||0|
WASHINGTON -- Atlanta's NL wild-card lead was cut to one game over St. Louis, with the top four hitters in the Braves' lineup, including Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla, going a combined 0 for 16 with five strikeouts Sunday in a 3-0 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Atlanta has dropped 10 of its past 15 games. The Braves close the regular season with a three-game home series starting Monday against the NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Ross Detwiler (4-5) went six innings for Washington before a crowd of 37,638 in the final game of 2011 at Nationals Park. He allowed four hits and two walks while striking out four. Over his last two starts of the season, the lefty pitched 13 1/3 scoreless innings, with seven hits, seven strikeouts and three walks.
|More on Braves at Nationals|
The last 15 Braves batters made outs, including seven strikeouts.
With nothing more at stake than a third-place finish, the Nationals have played well down the stretch, winning 12 of 15 games. That includes taking two of three from the struggling Braves.
"We know what's at stake. We know what every game means," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said before the game. "You've got to go out and play the game with some fun. We can't play with white knuckles on the bat and hold the ball so hard you can't throw it."
There were some key moments Sunday when his hitters did fail to produce in the clutch.
All told, Detwiler threw eight consecutive pitches that were called balls, going to a 3-0 count on leadoff hitter Michael Bourn -- with nowhere to put him.
After finally putting one pitch over the plate for a called strike -- and drawing sarcastic cheers from the crowd at Nationals Park -- Detwiler got Bourne to fly out to left in foul territory. Bearing down some more, Detwiler got out of the inning unscathed: Martin Prado hit a fly to right that wasn't deep enough for Ross to try to tag up and head for home, before Jones grounded out.
The bottom of the order gave the Braves another opportunity to score two innings later, but again they came away with nothing to show for it.
Ross led off with an infield single, Wilson singled to center, and Minor moved them up with a sacrifice bunt -- putting runners at second and third with one out. But Bourn lined out to second and Prado flied out.
Otherwise, in each of his other fourth innings, Detwiler faced the minimum three hitters.
Henry Rodriguez replaced Detwiler in the seventh and was rather impressive, regularly reaching 100 or 101 mph and striking out all three batters he faced. He got pinch hitter Jason Heyward swinging at a 100 mph fastball, Ross on a two-strike foul bunt on a 101 mph offering, and Wilson looking at an 88 mph slider with a ton of movement.
Minor hadn't lost in his preceding 11 starts; his last loss came May 31 against San Diego. He threw 4 2/3 innings, giving up six hits and one run.
|Chipper Jones goes 0 for 4 with a strikeout against the Nationals on Sunday. The Braves' wild-card lead is down to one game. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Braves Customized Locker Room Black Framed Photo
$49.95 Shop Now!
|Michael Bourn, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||5||.293|
|Martin Prado, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||5||.261|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.278|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.233|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.287|
|Matt Diaz, RF||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.262|
|a- Jason Heyward, PH-RF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.228|
|David Ross, C||3||0||2||0||0||1||0||.263|
|Jack Wilson, SS||2||0||1||0||1||1||0||.246|
|Mike Minor, P||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.111|
|Cristhian Martinez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|b- Brooks Conrad, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.228|
|Kris Medlen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Diaz in the 7th|
|b-struck out for Cr. Martinez in the 8th|
|SH - Mike Minor (2)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|Mike Minor (L,5-3)||4.2||6||1||1||2||5||1||4.14|
|IBB - Morse by Mike Minor|
|WP - Cristhian Martinez (3)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Minor 86-57, Cristhian Martinez 33-26, Kris Medlen 7-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Minor 4-5, Cristhian Martinez 2-3, Kris Medlen 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Minor 22, Cristhian Martinez 10, Kris Medlen 3|
|Ian Desmond, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Jayson Werth, CF-RF||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.231|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.289|
|Michael Morse, LF||3||1||2||2||1||0||1||.304|
|Tyler Clippard, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Drew Storen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Chris Marrero, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||6||.265|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.239|
|Jonny Gomes, RF||2||0||1||0||0||1||0||.209|
|a- Laynce Nix, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.248|
|Henry Rodriguez, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Roger Bernadina, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.246|
|Wilson Ramos, C||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.269|
|Ross Detwiler, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||1||.105|
|b- Rick Ankiel, PH-CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.243|
|a-popped out for Gomes in the 6th|
|b-grounded out for Detwiler in the 6th|
|2B - Ian Desmond (26, Minor), Danny Espinosa (29, Cr. Martinez), Jonny Gomes (12, Minor)|
|HR - Michael Morse (29, Cr. Martinez), Wilson Ramos (15, Minor)|
|RBI - Michael Morse 2 (91), Wilson Ramos (52)|
|2-OUT RBI - Michael Morse 2 (35), Wilson Ramos (16)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Espinosa-Desmond-Marrero|
|Ross Detwiler (W,4-5)||6||4||0||0||2||4||0||3.00|
|Henry Rodriguez (H,10)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||3.62|
|Tyler Clippard (H,37)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.85|
|Drew Storen (S,42)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.78|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ross Detwiler 92-56, Henry Rodriguez 11-9, Tyler Clippard 9-7, Drew Storen 15-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Detwiler 5-8, Drew Storen 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Ross Detwiler 23, Henry Rodriguez 3, Tyler Clippard 3, Drew Storen 3|
|Attendance - 37638|
|Game Time - 2:42|
|Temperature - 76|
|Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Jeff Nelson, Third Base - Tim Tschida|