It’s hot, damn hot. Tanner Roark’s throwing strikes, but Ender Inciarte lines the sixth pitch through the box. Last night’s goat Erick Aybar lifts a can of corn to left. One out, one on for Hitman Freddie Freeman. His line drive to right chases Ender to third. Matt Kemp bounces weakly to the pitcher, who turns the play on Ender at the plate. Inciarte’s Aybad imitation is spot on as he’s an easy out at home. Now the inning’s success rests on Nick Markakis. His line drive reaches Ben Revere in center, and the Braves come up empty. Ender’s bonehead play didn’t matter, but there is no mistaking dumb.
Tyrell Jenkins climbs the hill, and Trea Turner rips his first pitch into the left field corner for two bases. Turner’s a player. Barring injury, he’s going to be something. Anthony Recker guns Ben Revere’s bunt down the first base line. Turner scores, and Revere moves to second. Bryce Harper doubles to left. It’s two-nothing Nats, and Tyrell’s still looking for out one. Soon to be wealthy beyond measure Wilson Ramos moves Harper to third with a bounce out, and Anthony Rendon brings Harper home with a fly ball to Ender. Three-nothing, but there are two outs. Clint Robinson continues the onslaught, lacing a single to right center. Mercifully Chris Heisey bounces to Erick Aybar, and the Braves get out of it with no further damage, down 3-zip.
In the Braves third, Ender hustles into second with a double, then barely avoids getting picked off. He looked out to me but stays alive to score later as the umps blow the call. The comeback begins, and it’s up to Tyrell to keep the Nats in check.
Tyrell’s rolling but stumbles in the fifth. Roark should have been an easy out number one but walks instead. Maybe the heat and running the bases will sap his stamina. Turner singles sharply to right. I want him to wear a Braves uniform. Revere hits a sharp ground ball to Chase, who turns a routine 5-4-3 double play into a force at third. Tyrell walks Harper to load the bases for Ramos, who delivers a sacrifice fly to Markakis is the right field corner. Rendon ends Braves faltering hope with a three run dinger to left. Tyrell’s gone, and so’s the game. Nats lead 7-1.
Nats added a meaningless eighth run in the seventh when Eric O’Flaherty played the clown and a ninth in the eighth when Ryan Weber threw a home run ball to Heisley, but they were just salt in the wound. The Braves never challenged in this game.
The better team won today. Roark pitched well. Jenkins had good moments but lost home plate in the fifth to eliminate all hope. FrEddie Picked up another couple of hits but hit into a double play when we still had a breath of a chance. After the fifth, the Braves wilted. Perhaps going home and the off day tomorrow will restore their vigor. At least Julio Teheran returns Friday. That’s good.