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braves-7-nationals-3-were-above-500-finally-2 | April | 2008 Articles

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Braves 7, Nationals 3: We're Above .500! Finally!

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Braves 7, Nationals 3 The Nationals should have made this closer, but this was our game almost from the beginning. Tim Hudson had his velocity back, but pitched up in the zone a fair amount, giving up 10 hits and 2 walks, striking out only 3, and he was lucky only to give up 2 runs -- the Braves threw out two Nationals at the plate. One was in the first on a bullet by Frenchy, hosing Cristian Guzman by several feet. The second was in the fifth; Martin Prado, starting in place of Kelly Johnson, dove for a grounder up the middle and deflected it off his glove. It was a clear infield single, but Felipe Lopez tried to score from second, and Yunel threw him out in plenty of time. The Braves weren't so lucky with the first base umpire, Dan Iassogna, whose name you should remember. After a first-inning bunt by Lastings Milledge, where Milledge was called out despite replays showing he may have just beaten the throw, the umpire may have felt remorse for having blown a call. That doesn't really matter; what matters is that he called Yunel out on a bunt when he had beaten the throw by about two steps and his entire body was past the bag. At the time, Nats announcer Bob Carpenter said, “I have never seen a runner that safe called out.” The bunt came off a leadoff double by Prado, and the blown call may have cost us a big inning; we only scored one run. However, in the second, McCann homered to lead off, and Prado got another double, and the Braves knocked around Matt Chico enough that it didn't matter. The Nats left him in much longer than they should, and the Braves ended up scoring 6 times in the first few innings. Every Brave regular got a hit but Hudson, and Hudson had two RBIs, on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice bunt on which Diaz managed to score from third by running when the throw was made to first. Diaz also had three hits and a stolen base, and appears to be coming out of his early-season funk. His seeming platoon partner, Gregor Blanco, was in for Kotsay and added another two hits; this gives Blanco three two-hit games in his first four major league starts, and I'm all for playing him some more. They can platoon him with both Diaz and Kotsay, as far as I'm concerned. The early-inning runs were enough for Hudson, who was strong through 6. By the 7th, though, Hudson was gassed, and we've discovered that once he's done, the bottom falls out very quickly indeed. Bobby probably wanted him to go 7 tonight, but after a walk, a pinch double, an error (a bad throw by Prado, who's terrible defensively, that Tex dropped), a sac fly, and a single, Royce Ring came in for his first appearance in a week and got the Braves out of the inning. Buddy Carlyle pitched a shaky eighth, giving up two hits and a walk, but the Braves got out of the inning on yet more sloppy Nats baserunning. With two outs, Aaron Boone got a swinging bunt to score the Nats' third run of the night, and Chipper threw the ball away trying to end the inning. But Boone decided to try for second, Tex retrieved the ball near the dugout, and Boone was easily out. Acosta's 9th wasn't pretty, but he had some devastating curveballs, and he managed to escape with the lead intact.

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