WASHINGTON -- This time, there would be no Nationals response. There was one in the third inning, one in the ninth and one in the 11th. But after Peter Bourjos singled home two runs in the top of the 12th inning Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park, Washington finally wilted, and
WASHINGTON -- This time, there would be no Nationals response. There was one in the third inning, one in the ninth and one in the 11th. But after Peter Bourjos singled home two runs in the top of the 12th inning Wednesday afternoon at Nationals Park, Washington finally wilted, and Atlanta earned the 5-3 victory.
"They just keep roaring back," Braves manager Brian Snitker said, his team having avoided suffering its first sweep of the season.
The Braves entered the finale having not led all series. Ozzie Albies ensured that trend would not hold in the first inning, when he blasted A.J. Cole's second offering deep into the right-center field seats. The Nationals would even the score two innings later, only for Kurt Suzuki to smack his first homer of the season in the top of the fourth.
The Nationals struck back in the bottom of the ninth, when Matt Adams took Braves right-hander Arodys Vizcaino deep.
Suzuki deposited another solo shot in the top of the 11th, the ball barely sneaking over the left-field wall, to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.The Nationals answered once more, with Howie Kendrick belting an RBI double in the bottom of the frame.
Finally, Bourjos, who in the seventh inning threw out Adams at home, ripped a single to right field. Albies and Freddie Freeman scored. Shane Carle, who had surrendered the double to Kendrick an inning earlier, retired the Nationals in order to seal the back-and-forth affair.
"[Carle] gave up a two-out single, came back and [threw] probably the best inning he had of the two. He was sharp," Snitker said.
"You never want to lose. But you never want to get swept either," Suzuki said. "It's a huge difference if you salvage a win against a good team like this, facing these pitchers."
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy left the game after the fifth inning, having suffered a left shoulder subluxation (partial dislocation), but said afterwards he doesn't expect it to keep him from making his next scheduled start.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Suzuki puts Braves back on top: As Suzuki did in the fourth inning with his solo home run, he also put the Braves back on top in the 11th. He hammered an 0-1 fastball from Shawn Kelley into the stands to provide the winning run for Atlanta. It was Suzuki's sixth career multi-homer game. His first homer traveled 365 feet, and his second went 343 feet. "I go for the shortest distance. You don't have to hit it as far," Suzuki said with a grin.
Ozzie the Great: Albies' career is young, but it's becoming more and more clear the 21-year-old has a power stroke fit for the Major Leagues. His first inning homer was his fourth long ball of the season, tying him for third in the National League. He recorded a pair of singles, too, and his three hits matched a career high. "The sky's the limit for a guy like this," Snitker said.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Ender Inciarte nearly created a run by himself on the basepaths in the 10th inning. After drawing a leadoff walk, he stole second base and was a part of a double steal to get to third base. Then with two outs in the inning, Inciarte attempted his boldest play yet, trying a straight steal of home against the left-hander Sean Doolittle. He recovered quickly and threw Inciarte out at the plate on a close play. Atlanta challenged the play, but the call on the field stood and the inning was over.
After an off day Thursday, Atlanta returns to action Friday on the road against the Cubs at 2:20 p.m. ET. Right-hander Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 2.25) takes the mound for the Braves in what'll be his second start of the season.
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Joshua Needelman is a contributor to MLB.com