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Washington at Atlanta

Scoreboard
Washington (89-56)220000000481
Atlanta (83-63) «01010201x563

Heyward, Freeman homers carry Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman insists the NL East race is far from over.

The Atlanta Braves are 6 ½ games out of the division lead with 16 games to play, but Freeman believes they still have a good chance to catch the Washington Nationals.

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"I mean have they won the division yet?" Freeman said. "No, they haven't, so obviously we do."

Pinch-runner Jeff Baker scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning when reliever Ryan Mattheus hit Andrelton Simmons' uniform with a bases-loaded pitch that helped Atlanta beat the Nationals 5-4 on Saturday.

Jason Heyward and Freeman homered for the Braves, who have won the first two games in the series and nine of 13.

The Braves beat Washington 2-1 on Friday when Simmons scored on a throwing error in the ninth inning.

Atlanta began the day with a seven-game lead over third-place Los Angeles in the NL wild-card race, but Heyward said the team's focus is on passing the Nationals in the standings.

"I feel like the last two times we've played them we've done better," Heyward said. "We've taken strides and just tried to hang in there and keep battling."

Braves closer Craig Kimbrel earned his 36th save in 39 ties after striking out the side. After pinch-runner Eury Perez stole second and made it to third on catcher J.C. Boscan throwing error, Kimbrel struck out Stephen Lombardozzi and pinch-hitter Tyler Moore to end it.

Eric O'Flaherty (3-0) faced the minimum in the eighth for Atlanta, extending his scoreless innings streak to 19 1/3 innings, a span of 22 games.

Mattheus (5-2) allowed one hit, one walk, two walks and no strikeouts.

With the game tied 4-4 in the eighth, David Ross led off the eighth with a single off Mattheus and moved to second one out later when Uggla walked. Baker pinch-ran for Ross before Chipper Jones walked to load the bases.

Mattheus hit Simmons' uniform to give Simmons an RBI when Baker scored to make it 5-4.

"I just couldn't fine the [strike] zone," Mattheus said. "I just couldn't throw strikes. That's inexcusable. I didn't give us a chance to win that game."

Nationals manager Davey Johnson was ejected for the first time this season for arguing what appeared to be a blown call in the sixth that led to Atlanta scoring two runs to make it 4-all.

Washington starting pitcher Edwin Jackson knocked down Martin Prado liner, picked up the ball off the mound and threw to first baseman Adam LaRoche.

First-base umpire Marvin Hudson ruled that Jackson's throw pulled LaRoche right foot off the bag, but television replays showed that likely wasn't the case and that Prado should've been called out.

Johnson was upset that Hudson refused to ask another umpire for help in making sure the call was correct.

"I've got old eyes and I could see it," Johnson said. "I thought he overreacted. He wasn't going to get any help. It was a big run."

Jackson was charged with a throwing error on the play, and Heyward, the next batter, made it 4-all with his 27th homer, a two-run shot.

Jackson gave up four hits and four runs -- three earned -- with one walk and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

LaRoche hit his 30th homer, a two-run shot off Tommy Hanson, to make it 2-0 in the first.

The Nationals went up 4-0 in the second on two errors by the Braves.

After Jesus Flores walked with one out, Lombardozzi reached when Freeman fielded his grounder near first, juggled the ball while considering a throw to second and was late to the getting to the bag.

Jackson followed with a bunt single that Hanson fielded in front of the mound. Hanson threw errantly to first and allowed both runners to score.

In the bottom of the third, Dan Uggla made it 4-1 with an RBI double.

Freeman's 20th homer, a solo shot in the fourth, cut the lead to 4-2. Freeman tripled in the third and singled in the sixth.

"[Washington] is the No. 1 team in the National League," Freeman said. "We're playing them tough. We've beaten them twice now, so we've got a chance to sweep them tomorrow."

Hanson, who is winless in his last six starts, allowed four hits and four runs -- two earned -- with one walk and seven strikeouts in five innings.

Jonny Venters pitched the next 1 2/3 innings for Atlanta. Peter Moylan relieved him with pinch-runner Roger Bernadina at first. Moylan gave up a single to Jayson Werth that advanced Bernadina to third.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez brought in Luis Avilan, who ended the threat with one pitch when Freeman fielded Bryce Harper's grounder and threw to second for the forceout.

Tom Gorzelanny got the final two outs of the sixth for Washington. Christian Garcia retired two batters in the seventh, but had runners on first and third when Mike Gonzalez entered and struck out Heyward.

"This team has had success against us over the past few years, regardless of where they've been in the standings," Heyward said. "This year is no different."

Notes

  • Jones entered as a pinch-hitter for 3B Juan Francisco in the sixth and stayed in the game, going 0-for-1 with a walk.
  • The official scoring was changed after the game regarding Jackson's bunt single in the second. The play was initially ruled a sacrifice bunt.
  • The Braves activated RHP Ben Sheets from the 15-day disabled list before the game. Sheets, 34, will pitch out of the bullpen for the first time in his 10-year career.
  • Ross replaced Brian McCann as the Atlanta catcher before the top of the third and threw out Lombardozzi trying to steal second in the fourth. McCann left with tendinitis in his right hamstring.
  • Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez will go for his 20th victory on Sunday. LHP Mike Minor pitches for Atlanta.
  • The Braves won just their third series in their last 14 with Washington.
 
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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Jason Heyward's two-run HR helps push the Braves past the Nats to pull within 6 ½ games of first place in the NL East.   (Getty Images)
Jason Heyward's two-run HR helps push the Braves past the Nats to pull within 6 ½ games of first place in the NL East. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

F. Freeman
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Washington

A. LaRoche
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jayson Werth, RF4120001 .308
Bryce Harper, CF4000023 .263
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000021 .282
Adam LaRoche, 1B4112000 .269
Ian Desmond, SS4010000 .292
Danny Espinosa, 2B4000041 .251
Jesus Flores, C2100100 .223
   a- Chad Tracy, PH1010000 .295
    Eury Perez, PR0000000 .000
Stephen Lombardozzi, LF4110021 .279
Edwin Jackson, P2010011 .226
    Tom Gorzelanny, P0000000 .400
   b- Mark DeRosa, PH1010000 .169
    Roger Bernadina, PR0000000 .296
    Christian Garcia, P0000000 .000
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
    Zach Duke, P0000000 .000
   c- Tyler Moore, PH1000011 .277
Totals35482112  
a-singled for Flores in the 9th
b-singled for Gorzelanny in the 7th
c-struck out for Duke in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ian Desmond (30, Hanson)
HR - Adam LaRoche (30, Hanson)
RBI - Adam LaRoche 2 (94)
2-OUT RBI - Adam LaRoche 2 (35)
SB - Jayson Werth (5, 2nd base off Hanson/McCann), Eury Perez (2, 3rd base off Kimbrel/Boscan)
CS - Stephen Lombardozzi (3, 2nd base by Hanson/Ross)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Edwin Jackson (3, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edwin Jackson 5.1443172 3.89
Tom Gorzelanny 0.2100000 3.02
Christian Garcia 0.2000200 1.50
Mike Gonzalez 0.1000010 2.59
Ryan Mattheus (L,5-2) 0.1111200 2.55
Zach Duke 0.2000010 1.93
HBP - Simmons (by Ryan Mattheus)
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 86-57, Tom Gorzelanny 12-7, Christian Garcia 20-9, Mike Gonzalez 6-3, Ryan Mattheus 23-9, Zach Duke 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 8-2, Christian Garcia 1-1, Zach Duke 1-0
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 22, Tom Gorzelanny 3, Christian Garcia 4, Mike Gonzalez 1, Ryan Mattheus 5, Zach Duke 2
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Michael Bourn, CF4000113 .276
Martin Prado, LF3100101 .298
Jason Heyward, RF4112013 .274
Brian McCann, C1000001 .230
    David Ross, C3010020 .262
    Jeff Baker, PR0100000 .250
    Craig Kimbrel, P0000000 .000
Freddie Freeman, 1B4231001 .268
Dan Uggla, 2B3011101 .213
Juan Francisco, 3B2000011 .240
   a- Chipper Jones, PH-3B1000101 .296
Andrelton Simmons, SS2001121 .302
Tommy Hanson, P1000001 .022
   b- Jose Constanza, PH1000010 .240
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
    Peter Moylan, P0000000 .000
    Luis Avilan, P0000000 .333
   c- Tyler Pastornicky, PH0000000 .244
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
   d- Lyle Overbay, PH0000000 .276
   e- Reed Johnson, PH1000013 .304
    J.C. Boscan, C0000000 .143
Totals3056559  
a-flied out for Francisco in the 6th
b-struck out for Hanson in the 5th
c-hit a sacrifice bunt for Avilan in the 7th
d-announced for O'Flaherty in the 8th
e-struck out for Overbay in the 8th
Batting
2B - Dan Uggla (26, Jackson)
3B - Freddie Freeman (2, Jackson)
HR - Jason Heyward (27, Jackson), Freddie Freeman (20, Jackson)
SH - Tyler Pastornicky (7)
RBI - Jason Heyward 2 (73), Freddie Freeman (86), Dan Uggla (66), Andrelton Simmons (17)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - J.C. Boscan (1, Throwing), Freddie Freeman (10, Misplayed grounder), Tommy Hanson (4, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Hanson 5542171 4.33
Jonny Venters 1.2100020 3.59
Peter Moylan0100000 0.00
Luis Avilan 0.1000000 2.25
Eric O'Flaherty (W,3-0) 1000000 1.92
Craig Kimbrel (S,36) 1100030 1.14
WP - Tommy Hanson (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 84-54, Jonny Venters 23-16, Peter Moylan 3-2, Luis Avilan 1-1, Eric O'Flaherty 5-5, Craig Kimbrel 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 2-6, Jonny Venters 1-2, Luis Avilan 1-0, Eric O'Flaherty 2-1
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 21, Jonny Venters 6, Peter Moylan 1, Luis Avilan 1, Eric O'Flaherty 3, Craig Kimbrel 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38763
Game Time - 3:22
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Marty Foster, First Base - Marvin Hudson, Second Base - Field Culbreth, Third Base - Tim Timmons