Washington at Atlanta

Washington (45-32) «400011002890
Atlanta (41-37)001003000481

Zimmerman leads Nats past Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- Ryan Zimmerman was pleased to escape Atlanta's insufferable heat with another series victory over the Braves.

"The last two days, it's been tough," the Washington third baseman said. "It's not as bad for us as the pitchers, I think, but just having it beat down on you for 3½ hours, it takes it out of you."

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Zimmerman homered and drove in four runs and Gio Gonzalez scuffled for his sixth straight road victory to help the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 8-4 Sunday in 105-degree heat.

The temperature rose four degrees from the first pitch to 105 by the middle of the eighth inning. The National Weather Service reported that Atlanta broke an all-time record high at 106 on Saturday.

"It's 120 out there," said Davey Johnson, Washington's 69-year-old manager. "I was sweating more in this one than I was yesterday. It was really hot."

Gonzalez (11-3) capped his second All-Star selection despite allowing five hits, four runs and four walks in five-plus innings. He struck out four and threw strikes in 64 of 114 pitches.

Washington, which has won four of five, took a 4-0 lead in the first off Tim Hudson (6-4). The NL-leading Nationals are 10-2-1 in their last 13 series matchups against the Braves.

Atlanta has lost three of four overall and has dropped 17 of its last 28 games against Washington at Turner Field.

"When you play a team in your division as much as we play each other, those things kind of go back and forth a little bit," Zimmerman said. "I remember years ago we couldn't lose to the Marlins and now we haven't been able to beat them lately. It's just one of those things."

Tyler Clippard retired Michael Bourn, Martin Prado and Jason Heyward on groundouts to end the game. Since taking over the closer's role on May 22, Clippard has worked 15 1/3 scoreless innings.

Zimmerman made it 2-0 by hitting a two-run double to center over Bourn and later scored on Adam LaRoche's sacrifice fly. Ian Desmond followed with a walk and scored from first when Bourn allowed Rick Ankiel's single to bounce past him for an error.

Washington went ahead 5-1 in the fifth when Zimmerman hit his sixth homer into the second level of left-field seats. After adding a run-scoring single in the ninth, Zimmerman had his first four-RBI game since Aug. 19, 2011, against Philadelphia.

"I think I'm healthier than I was before," Zimmerman said. "You have a few good games in a row and your confidence gets going, and that's the name of the game. We've got to get some confidence, build momentum and just roll with it."

The Nationals led 6-1 in the sixth after Desmond doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Jhonatan Solano's RBI single.

Freddie Freeman's 10th homer, a three-run shot to deep center, cut the lead to 6-4 and chased Gonzalez with no outs in the sixth.

"I was just trying to attack the zone," Gonzalez said. "It was dropping a little bit, my arm slot, but the bullpen came in and cleaned up my mess. They did a great job and I can't do nothing but tip my hat and tell them, `Thank you so much.' "

One day after watching his ace Stephen Strasburg leave the game after three innings in record-setting heat, Johnson replaced Gonzalez with Craig Stammen, who retired six of seven batters.

Hudson allowed eight hits and five earned runs in six innings, dropping to 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA in two starts against the Nationals this season. He began the game with a 14-4 record and a 2.35 ERA in 24 career starts against Washington.

"I was going to pitch as long as I could," Hudson said. "It wasn't exactly a great first inning."

Gonzalez overcame a 14-pitch at-bat by Andrelton Simmons that resulted in a second-inning walk with two out. Ross followed with a hard single, and Hudson walked before Gonzalez escaped the bases-loaded threat when Bourn lined out.

Chipper Jones' RBI single cut the lead to 4-1 in the third, but Gonzalez settled down and needed just nine pitches to make it through the fourth.

Gonzalez, who pitched for Oakland last season, improved to 11-1 with a 2.85 ERA in his last 13 road starts.

"It's good to see when the offense is out there and they're pulling for you every inning," Gonzalez said. "I just wanted to do my best to keep us in the game as long as possible. They did the job and hit the nail on the head in the ninth inning."


  • The Braves reported a crowd of 18,796. Most of the seats in the lower level sections were sparsely filled as fans spent most of the game sitting in shaded areas.
  • Atlanta signed RHP Ben Sheets to a minor league contract before the game. Sheets, 33, hasn't pitched since 2010. He will start Wednesday for Double-A Mississippi.
  • Bourn went 0 for 4 and struck out in his first three at-bats.
  • Gonzalez allowed just one homer in his first 14 starts, but has given up three in his last two.
  • Hudson allowed just one homer in first eight starts, but has given up three in his last four.
  • Zimmerman is hitting .378 with three homers and 13 RBIs in his last eight games.
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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Ryan Zimmerman homers, doubles and drives in four runs to lead the Nationals over the Braves.  (Getty Images)
Ryan Zimmerman homers, doubles and drives in four runs to lead the Nationals over the Braves. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game

R. Zimmerman
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 1

F. Freeman
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Washington Nationals
Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B-LF4210012 .257
Bryce Harper, RF4210100 .274
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5234010 .241
Michael Morse, LF3000101 .291
    Roger Bernadina, PR-LF0000000 .241
   a- Tyler Moore, PH1001000 .333
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
Adam LaRoche, 1B4011012 .251
Ian Desmond, SS3210111 .276
Rick Ankiel, CF4010021 .224
Jhonatan Solano, C4011011 .375
Gio Gonzalez, P2000111 .107
    Craig Stammen, P0000000 .000
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
   b- Danny Espinosa, PH-2B1000010 .225
a-hit into fielder's choice for Bernadina in the 9th
b-struck out for Burnett in the 9th
2B - Stephen Lombardozzi (11, Hudson), Ryan Zimmerman (14, Hudson), Ian Desmond (24, Hudson)
HR - Ryan Zimmerman (6, Hudson)
SF - Adam LaRoche (6)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman 4 (35), Tyler Moore (12), Adam LaRoche (50), Jhonatan Solano (5)
SB - Stephen Lombardozzi (1, 2nd base off Venters/Ross)
Team LOB - 6
Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez (W,11-3) 5544441 3.01
Craig Stammen (H,7) 2100030 1.41
Sean Burnett (H,15) 1200020 1.52
Tyler Clippard 1000000 1.83
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 114-64, Craig Stammen 26-17, Sean Burnett 22-13, Tyler Clippard 12-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 5-6, Craig Stammen 2-1, Sean Burnett 1-0, Tyler Clippard 3-0
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 24, Craig Stammen 7, Sean Burnett 5, Tyler Clippard 3
Atlanta Braves
Michael Bourn, CF5000033 .302
Martin Prado, LF5010000 .321
Jason Heyward, RF5120001 .274
Chipper Jones, 3B3111102 .292
Dan Uggla, 2B3100121 .232
Freddie Freeman, 1B4123001 .266
Andrelton Simmons, SS3010110 .333
David Ross, C4010012 .278
Tim Hudson, P1000110 .136
   a- Juan Francisco, PH1000010 .223
    Anthony Varvaro, P0000000 .000
   b- Matt Diaz, PH1000002 .229
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Cristhian Martinez, P0000000 .000
a-struck out for Hudson in the 6th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Varvaro in the 8th
2B - Martin Prado (22, Stammen), Chipper Jones (7, G. Gonzalez)
HR - Freddie Freeman (10, G. Gonzalez)
RBI - Chipper Jones (29), Freddie Freeman 3 (47)
Team LOB - 8
E - Michael Bourn (2, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
Tim Hudson (L,6-4) 6865241 3.87
Anthony Varvaro 2000130 4.35
Jonny Venters 0.1122110 4.40
Cristhian Martinez 0.2000010 4.35
HBP - Lombardozzi (by Jonny Venters)
WP - Tim Hudson (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Hudson 87-60, Anthony Varvaro 32-18, Jonny Venters 18-8, Cristhian Martinez 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Hudson 6-8, Anthony Varvaro 1-2, Cristhian Martinez 1-0
Batters Faced - Tim Hudson 28, Anthony Varvaro 7, Jonny Venters 4, Cristhian Martinez 2
Game Information
Attendance - 18796
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 101
Umpires - Home - Tim McClelland, First Base - Brian Runge, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Marvin Hudson