On Sunday, with his team badly in need of a win, Wood came up
big. He struck out a career-high 12 batters and pitched the Atlanta
Braves to a 3-1 win over the Washington Nationals at Turner Field.
"He pitched great," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He competes
and he makes pitches. Woody was definitely the player of the game.
He made some terrific pitches when he needed to."
Wood (8-9) allowed five hits and one run over 7 1/3 innings. He
threw 124 pitches, the most in his two-year career, and won for the
first time since July 20. The left-hander improved to 2-1 against
Washington with a 1.48 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings.
"It was a lot of fun and we found a way to win," Wood said.
Second-place Atlanta won two of three games in the series against
the Nationals and pulled to within 3 1/2 games of first-place
Washington in the National League East. Atlanta is 9-3 against
Wood left with one runner on base in the eighth, but reliever David
Carpenter threw one pitch and induced shortstop Ian Desmond into an
inning-ending double play. Closer Craig Kimbrel, working for the
third consecutive day, pitched a scoreless ninth to record his 34th
"The thing I like about Woody is he competes," Gonzalez said. "He'll
beat me here (to the ballpark) tomorrow. His preparation is second
Washington starter Gio Gonzalez (6-9) was chased after 4 2/3 innings
and 111 pitches. He struck out eight -- all six of Atlanta's outs in
the first two innings were on strikeouts -- but allowed six hits and
four walks that led to two runs.
"He didn't command as well as he wanted to," Washington manager Matt
Atlanta broke a tie and took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio singled, second baseman Tommy La
Stella walked and first baseman Freddie Freeman grounded into a
double play, sending Bonifacio to third.
Gonzalez walked Upton, whom he pitched around in order to face
left-handed-hitting Jason Heyward. However, the right fielder ruined
the strategy by grounding a ball just past the glove of first
baseman Adam LaRoche and reaching safely when Gonzalez failed to
cover the bag. The infield hit allowed Bonifacio to score.
"He got caught watching the play," Williams said. "Rochie went for
the ball and we had a shot. Ultimately that was the difference in
things. That play made the difference."
Wood said, "That was definitely a big home run by Justin and Jason
had a big hustle play and beat one out and that was the difference."
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The Braves added an insurance run in the eighth inning against reliever
Jerry Blevins. Pinch hitter Evan Gattis blooped an opposite-field single
into right that scored third baseman Chris Johnson.
The Nationals scored first when shortstop Ian Desmond led off the fourth
inning with a solo home run over the 390-foot sign in right-center
field. It was his team-leading 19th homer of the season.
The Braves got the run back in the bottom of the fourth when left
fielder Justin Upton lined his 21st homer to left field. It was his
1,000th career hit and his 500th career RBI.
Washington center fielder Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 14
games with a double in the fifth inning. He finished 2-for-4, reaching
base in his 36th consecutive game.
NOTES: The Nationals placed OF Steven Souza Jr. on the 15-day disabled
list due to a left shoulder contusion and recalled OF Michael Taylor
from Triple-A Syracuse. Souza injured his shoulder Friday when he
crashed into the right-field fence trying to catch a home run. ...
Washington RF Jayson Werth returned to the starting lineup after sitting
out two starts with a sore ankle and sore shoulder. He appeared as a
pinch hitter Saturday. ... Atlanta continues its 10-game homestand
Monday when the Dodgers come in for four games. The opener features
Atlanta RHP Julio Teheran (10-8) against Los Angeles RHP Kevin Correia
(5-13), who was just acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins. ...
After an off day, Washington sends RHP Doug Fister (11-3) to start the
series opener at New York. The Mets' pitcher is uncertain after RHP
Jacob deGrom was scratched because of a sore shoulder.
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