|Washington (55-39) «||4||0||2||0||2||1||0||0||x||9||18||0|
Ryan Zimmerman homered twice and drove in three runs, and Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina each had three hits and two RBI as the Nationals beat the Braves 9-2 Sunday in the finale of the series between the top two teams in the NL East.
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After Washington blew a 9-0 lead Friday night in an 11-10 loss, the teams split a rainy Saturday doubleheader. The Nationals lead the division by 3½ games -- as they did when the series began. Atlanta had won 10 of its previous 13.
"They've been playing the best in the division. To win the first two and to get a split out of here, I think if I was them I'd feel deflated," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "Sometimes a split is like picking up ground."
Johnson blamed himself for losing Friday's game and pointed out the teams play six more times and he expected a tight race between the two teams.
"The rest of the division is going the other way," he said.
The Nationals' manager's day wasn't all pleasant. He announced that All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond would be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a tear in his oblique. Desmond has been trying to play through the injury, but an MRI on Sunday revealed the tear.
Johnson said that Desmond was hurting at the end of Saturday's doubleheader.
"There was no point [Saturday] where I felt I made it worse." Desmond said. "I was just ready for it to stop."
Zimmerman's two-run homer and Espinosa's double keyed a four-run first off Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens (3-4).
Zimmerman's solo shot and Espinosa's RBI double finished Jurrjens in the fourth. In his last two starts, Jurrjens has allowed 14 runs and 17 hits in six innings.
Michael Morse had three hits and scored three runs for the Nationals, who had 18 hits.
Ross Detwiler (5-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings to win his first game since May 3.
Zimmerman added a sixth-inning single. After receiving a cortisone shot on his right shoulder on June 24, Zimmerman is batting .392 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI.
"A split's fine," Zimmerman said. "Four-game series -- to split is good. With as much baseball as we've played this weekend with the weather, all the things we had to deal with -- the first two games the way they went for us to come back and win the next two games shows what kind of team this is."
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who was 5 for 13 in the four games, felt an opportunity was lost. During its hot streak, Atlanta had cutting the deficit from six games to 3½.
"Our chance to win the series was [Saturday]," he said. "We didn't get it done. Today was not good from pitch one. But we came in here and held our own for the most part. Thought we played well for the most part. We're right back where we started. Now it's time to hopefully make up ground while we're playing in separate cities."
Rookie catcher Sandy Leon, playing in his fifth game, had a fifth-inning double that drove in two runs - his first two RBIs of the season.
Washington led 8-0 after five, but the Braves scored two runs in the sixth on a passed ball by Leon, and an infield out by Freddie Freeman.
"It's a little demoralizing when you're in a dogfight for the division and you're constantly fighting from behind," Jones said.
|Ryan Zimmerman goes 3 for 5 with two homers to help the Nationals defeat the Braves and split their four-game series. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Michael Bourn, CF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.301|
|Martin Prado, LF||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.307|
|Jason Heyward, RF||4||1||2||0||0||1||1||.269|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||1||3||.317|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||1||1||0||0||2||.278|
|Brian McCann, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.240|
|Jonny Venters, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Eric Hinske, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.206|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.217|
|Paul Janish, SS||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.172|
|Jair Jurrjens, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.077|
|Luis Avilan, P||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.500|
|Anthony Varvaro, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- David Ross, PH-C||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.276|
|a-flied out for Venters in the 9th|
|b-flied out for Varvaro in the 7th|
|2B - Jason Heyward (17, Detwiler)|
|RBI - Freddie Freeman (58)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|Outfield Assists - Jason Heyward 1|
|E - Jonny Venters (1, Missed catch of throw)|
|Jair Jurrjens (L,3-4)||2.1||9||6||6||0||0||2||7.04|
|IBB - Bernadina by Luis Avilan|
|WP - Anthony Varvaro (3), Jonny Venters (7)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 49-33, Luis Avilan 49-28, Anthony Varvaro 32-15, Jonny Venters 21-15|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 4-2, Luis Avilan 2-3, Jonny Venters 5-0|
|Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 15, Luis Avilan 13, Anthony Varvaro 7, Jonny Venters 8|
|Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||0||3||.265|
|Bryce Harper, RF||5||1||1||0||0||1||2||.269|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||5||3||3||3||0||0||1||.273|
|Michael Morse, LF||5||3||3||0||0||2||2||.300|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||5||0||2||0||0||1||4||.254|
|Danny Espinosa, SS||4||2||3||2||1||0||1||.250|
|Roger Bernadina, CF||4||0||3||2||1||0||1||.292|
|Sandy Leon, C||4||0||1||2||0||0||5||.385|
|Ross Detwiler, P||3||0||1||0||0||1||4||.087|
|a- Tyler Moore, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.299|
|Craig Stammen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Detwiler in the 7th|
|2B - Michael Morse (9, Jurrjens), Danny Espinosa 2 (24, Jurrjens, Avilan), Sandy Leon (1, Avilan)|
|HR - Ryan Zimmerman 2 (14, Jurrjens, Jurrjens)|
|RBI - Ryan Zimmerman 3 (50), Danny Espinosa 2 (30), Roger Bernadina 2 (17), Sandy Leon 2 (2)|
|2-OUT RBI - Danny Espinosa (15), Roger Bernadina 2 (11)|
|SB - Danny Espinosa (15, 3rd base off Avilan/McCann), Roger Bernadina (11, 2nd base off Avilan/McCann)|
|CS - Roger Bernadina (2, 2nd base by Jurrjens/McCann)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Detwiler-Leon-LaRoche|
|PB - Sandy Leon (2)|
|Ross Detwiler (W,5-3)||7||7||2||1||1||3||0||3.01|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ross Detwiler 98-64, Craig Stammen 31-19|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ross Detwiler 9-8, Craig Stammen 1-3|
|Batters Faced - Ross Detwiler 28, Craig Stammen 7|
|Attendance - 34917|
|Game Time - 2:51|
|Temperature - 79|
|Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Tom Hallion, Second Base - David Rackley, Third Base - Chad Fairchild|