Nats Hang On to Break Streak

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, April 14, 2008 | , , , , | 0 comments »

Washington, DC--The Washington Nationals finally took advantage of another team's struggling pitcher and held on late to take a 5-4 victory over their division rival Atlanta Braves.

The Nats got out of the box quickly in the first inning against future hall-of-famer Tom Glavine, as lead-off hitter Cristian Guzman doubled to deep left and Lastings Milledge pushed a bunt past the pitcher to put runners at first and third. Ryan Zimmerman singled up the middle to score Guzman and as the ball whizzed past Glavine he made an attempt to knock it down. After throwing two balls to Austin Kearns, Glavine signaled for the trainers, and his day was done. He strained a hamstring and is listed as day-to-day.

Jeff Bennett relieved and forced Wily Mo Pena, in his fist at bat of the season after being activated from the disabled list, into a double play that allowed Zimmerman to score, and after the first the Nats held a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, the Nats used a single, sacrifice bunt and four consecutive walks to push the lead to 4-0. The Nats' last run scored in the third when Aaron Boone singled in Paul LoDuca, who in his at bat had been hit in the hand by Bennett.

Nats' starter Tim Redding cruised through five innings, but as has been so often the case this season, the starter ran into problems in the sixth. The Braves clawed back, getting a two-run home run from Chipper Jones and a sacrifice from Jeff Francouer in the top of the inning, cutting the lead to 5-3. In the top of the eighth inning, back-to-back singles by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann off of Luis Ayala and a fielding error by Pena allowed the Braves to get within one in the tenuous late innings.

Manager Manny Acta went to Chad Cordero, in his first appearance off the disabled list, to protect the one run lead in the ninth. He got two quick outs, but allowed a walk and double to stir things up. After walking Teixeira intentionally, Acta summoned Jon Rauch to face catcher Brian McCann, who had been 0-8 lifetime against Rauch. Rauch got the job done, getting McCann to fly out to right field, and earned his second save of the season in the Nationals fourth victory.

Redding was credited with the win, running his record to 2-1. He pitched five innings, gave up three earned runs on six hits and three walks, and struck out two. Glavine (0-1) was saddled with the loss. There was no word post-game whether Glavine wold be available for his next start.

The Nats are off on Monday and start a three-game series with the New York Mets in New York. Tuesday's match-up features Odalis Perez (0-2) against Mike Pelfrey (1-0).

NATS NOTES: To make room for Pena, the Nats reassigned catcher Jesus Flores to Triple-A Columbus, leaving the Nats with LoDuca and Johnny Estrada to handle the catching duties.

Outfielder Elijah Dukes, on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, will resume running this week and may resume baseball activities later in the week, according to team officials.

Nats Hang On to Break Streak also posted at DC Sports Box

Photo Courtesy of D. Perry, DC Sports Box.