National League: Braves 11, Nationals 10
Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2012
WASHINGTON — Paul Janish hit a run-scoring bloop single in the 11th inning to complete the Atlanta Braves’ wild 11-10 comeback win against the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
The Nationals led 9-0 after five innings but Atlanta scored four runs in both the sixth and eighth innings and took a 10-9 lead in the top of the ninth on Michael Bourn’s two-run triple.
Craig Kimbrel blew his second save in 30 chances in the bottom of the ninth when Danny Espinosa hit a solo homer into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center field to tie the game at 10.
In the top of the 11th, Dan Uggla led off with a single against Tom Gorzelanny (2-2), advanced to second on Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error and then went to third on a passed ball before scoring on Janish’s bloop.
Eric O’Flaherty (2-0) pitched the 10th to earn the win, and Chad Durbin was perfect in the 11th for his first save.
It was the Braves’ largest comeback since 1987 and pulled them within 21/2 games of the Nationals in the National League East. The teams will play three more games this weekend, including a doubleheader Saturday.
The nine-run lead was the largest ever given up by the Nationals franchise, including the games played as the Montreal Expos.
Michael Morse and Zimmerman each hit two-out, three-run homers off Braves starter Tommy Hanson, who gave up a season-high eight runs on eight hits.
Morse’s fifth homer of the year — a bomb that nearly reached the Red Porch restaurant in the centerfield concourse — came in the first. Zimmerman added his 12th in the fourth, hitting a 3-2 pitch into the left-field seats.
Hanson gave up singles to the first two batters in the fifth. Reliever Luis Avilan walked two, including a bases-loaded pass to Washington starter Stephen Strasburg, and Steve Lombardozzi hit a two-run single to push the Nationals ahead 9-0.
Lombardozzi had three hits in the game, extending his hitting streak to 13 games.
Strasburg held the Braves scoreless through five but seemed to tire in the sixth, giving up four runs, starting with a two-run homer by Brian McCann scored the Braves’ first runs with a two-run homer in the sixth.
Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske narrowly missed another when he hit a double off the top of the wall, and Martin Prado capped the four-run inning with a two-run double off reliever Michael Gonzalez.
The Braves scored four more in the eighth. Drew Storen — pitching for the second day in a row after being activated from the disabled list Thursday — gave up a leadoff single to Uggla and a walk to Janish before being pulled for Sean Burnett.
Burnett struck out the first two batters he faced before walking two, including a bases-loaded walk to Jayson Heyward. Chipper Jones singled home two runs and Freddie Freeman also had a run-scoring single before Burnett got out of the inning, leaving the Nationals a 9-8 lead.
Tyler Clippard came on in the ninth hoping to close the game for the Nationals, but walked leadoff batter Uggla and hit Jarnish, who was squaring to bunt. After pinch-hitter David Ross struck out, Bourn tripled to right field to score both runners.
NOTES: Nationals OF Jayson Werth, on the DL with a broken wrist, was scheduled for a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac on Friday, but Washington manager Davey Johnson said it would be pushed back to Saturday because Werth was feeling some stiffness and a forecast of rain. … SS Ian Desmond, who has been dealing with a strained oblique muscle, was in the starting lineup for the first time since July 14. … Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said 3B Chipper Jones will sit the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. … Freeman doubled in the second to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, and C Brian McCann doubled in the fourth for a 10-game streak.