Updates: Nationals vs. Braves
I'll provide some periodic updates throughout the game ....
4:10 Change of plans -- I'm back up for the end. The Nationals lost, 11-8, but Ian Desmond helped his chaces to stick with the team with six RBI and a grand slam. Tyler Clippard pitched a strong eighth, with some help from a single that was not turned into a double, but rather an out. Derek Norris pinch hit to lead off the ninth and grounded to short.
3:53: It's 11-8 Braves. I'm heading down for postgame, and I'll write up a post on the game afterward, like yesterday.
3:13: Back up to the press box, and it's 10-8 Braves after Ian Desmond blasted a grand slam off of Jesse Chavez. Elijah Dukes, Justin Maxwell, and Mike Morse scored on the homer. Desmond's got six RBI to go with a few nice plays in the field.
2:55: It actually was 9-4 again for a while -- on a home run by Freddie Freeman in the fourth, he passed the runner on the basepaths and his run didn't count. But then the Braves scored their 10th run again off of Ryan Speier on an RBI single by Gregor Blanco. Time to head to talk to Miguel Batista.
2:42: The wheels came off in the fourth inning again for the Nationals. The Braves scored eight runs, meaning the Nationals have allowed 17 combined runs in the fourth inning between today and yesterday's game in Kissimmee. It's 10-4 Braves.
2:31: Craig Stammen is out of the game, which is now tied. The Braves beat him around pretty good in the fourth. Yunel Escobar led off with a double, his second today. Melky Cabrera followed with an RBI single. Later on, after Ryan Zimmerman made a great play on a sacrifice bunt, Marin Prado reached on an infield single despite a diving play by Ian Desmond, scoring Cabrera. Jesse English is the new pitcher, and he enters with men on first and third and one out.
2:19: The Nationals touched up Takashi Saito for two runs in the top of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Mike Morse, again, was in the middle of the damage. Chris Duncan led off with a line-drive single to right, and Elijah Dukes followed with a double that he crushed to left-center gap. Ivan Rodriguez and Justin Maxwell both struck out, but Morse delivered. He ripped a double to left-center, scoring both Duncan and Dukes.
Craig Stammen is coming back out for a second inning after allowing a hit, a walk, and no runs in the third.
1:53: The Nationals tied the game against Billy Wagner with their athletic bottom third of the order. Justin Maxwell led off with a walk, and Mike Morse pushed him to third with a single. Morse then stole second, and Ian Desmond grounded a single to center. Desmond then got picked off, Roger Bernadina struck out, Adam Kennedy singled, and Ryan Zimmerman flied out. 2-2 after 3 1/2.
1:46: The Braves have a 2-0 lead after two. Braves starter Derek Lowe retired all six Nationals he faced, striking out Chris Duncan and inducing five groundballs; pretty dominant stuff. Miguel Batista breezed through the first 1-2-3, including a weak grounder from uber-prospect Jason Heyward. He is wearing No. 71 today and won't be for long.
Batista, who is usually either effectively wild or just plain wild, hit trouble in the second. He walked Troy Glaus to lead off the inning, and Yunel Escobar scored him with a smoked one-out double to right-center. Melky Cabrera singled and David Ross walked. Brett Clevlen lined out right to keep the bases loaded. Martin Prado broke his bat on a single up the middle, and Ian Desmond saved any further damage. He made a diving stop behind second, noticed Cabrera breaking for home, and alertly fired home to nail him.
Mike Morse just singled with no out against Billy Wagner in the top of the third.
March 5, 2010; 1:46 PM ET
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