Nationals turned the tables and took two of three from the Braves, tying Atlanta, Florida, and Washington for first in the division at 5-4 and Philadelphia a game back at 4-5. Here's a recap of the Washington series:
Braves 11, Nationals 2
Rafael Furcal and Andruw Jones connected for their first home runs of the, highlighting the awakening of the Braves' offensive awakening. Six different Braves had at least two hits, and Jordan was the only starter without one. Mike Hampton even went 2-for-4 and scored two runs. Hampton also pitched very well, allowing seven hits and only one run (a Jose Guillen solo home run) in eight innings.
Nationals 4, Braves 3
Danny Kolb blew his first save as an Atlanta Brave tonight, spoiling a brilliant outing by Tim Hudson -- eight innings, six hits, no walks, and only one run (also a solo home run, this time off Jose Vidro's bat). But after a short rain delay in the eighth, Kolb helped the Nationals load the bases in the top of the ninth before a sacrifice fly and a double put them on top for good.
Nationals 11, Braves 4
Bobby Cox earned his first ejection of the year arguing balls and strikes in the first, and another Nationals rally in the ninth put the Braves in their place. But John Thomson had already had an uncharacteristic outing, walking four and giving up seven hits and four of the Nationals' 11 runs in his six innings of work. Four of five Braves relief pitchers also gave up runs, with only Chris Reitsma getting through unscathed. The highlights were few: Chipper, Andruw, and Estrada each had two hits, and Giles batted in the sixth and looked good, despite swinging at the first pitch he saw.
Now the Braves move on to Philadelphia for a set of three against their fourth and final NL East opponent. After 12 games, we should have a pretty good idea who the top performers in the division should be! But I have one question:
With Marcus Giles coming back this weekend, what do we do about Pete Orr and his .281 batting average?