keep calm, beat Braves
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[June 23, 2014]
WASHINGTON -- Atlanta Braves third
baseman Chris Johnson, after striking out on a checked swing, threw up
his arms at first base umpire Tim Welke before he was ejected by home
plate umpire Mark Carlson in the sixth inning.
Braves left fielder Justin Upton had some unpleasant things to
say after he was ejected by Carlson after he fanned in the ninth.
The rivalry between the Braves and Washington Nationals got a little
heated Sunday afternoon, as starting pitcher Tanner Roark took a
shutout into the sixth inning and his bullpen got the last 11 outs
without allowing a hit as the first-place Nationals beat the
frustrated Braves 4-1 to salvage a split of the four-game series.
"You can never get mad at umpires," Roark said of not getting some
calls on borderline pitches. "You get frustrated with yourself. We
came out with a win and I am happy about that. It is a huge swing.
It gives us a big (vote) of confidence in ourselves. We just have to
keep it rolling" on Monday in Milwaukee.
Atlanta won the first two games of the series and Washington took
the last two.
"If we would have lost the first two games and won the last two
games [we would be] feeling pretty good," said Atlanta manager Fredi
Gonzalez. "Our goal is to always win a series and we didn't do it."
Washington (39-35) extended its first-place lead in the National
League East over the Braves (38-37). The win was just the third in
10 games against Atlanta this year. The Braves are 20-9 against
Washington the past two seasons.
"That is a really good team," Washington left fielder Ryan Zimmerman
said of the Braves. "It's a step in the right direction. To win the
last two was big. They are a tough team."
Roark (7-4), who allowed just four hits and one run in 5 1/3
innings, gave up an RBI single to Upton in the sixth as the Braves
pulled to within 3-1. "That was a grind-it-out at bat," Gonzalez
Roark was then replaced by Craig Stammen and the first batter he was
faced was Johnson, who was ejected when he was called out on strikes
on a check swing.
"It may be one of the toughest calls an umpire has to make,"
Gonzalez said of the checked swing by right-handed hitting Johnson.
"I didn't see the bat go across the plate. That is me; I may have
had the worst seat in the house (from the third base dugout). He is
a competitive guy. He wants to drive in those runs."
A second-year major leaguer, Roark helped himself at the plate in
the bottom of the fifth as he laid down a sacrifice that allowed
catcher Sandy Leon to advance to second. Roark threw off his helmet
after the bunt and nearly beat out the bunt when the throw from
catcher Evan Gattis was high to first baseman Freddie Freeman.
"I didn't know where the ball went," said Roark, with a grin. "I got
the job done."
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Washington center fielder Denard Span then followed with an RBI
double to score Leon and make the score 3-0 against Atlanta starter
and loser Ervin Santana (5-5), who gave up three runs and six hits
with nine strikeouts in six innings.
"He gave us a good opportunity to win the game," Gonzalez said of
Santana. "He did a pretty nice job. We had some people on base. We
couldn't punch them through. I was encouraged with a lot of things
Santana did today."
"He settled in nicely," Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward said of
Santana. "It was a shame we couldn't get him some runs. He threw
really well for us. Their pitcher just threw better."
The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by first
baseman Adam LaRoche and a sacrifice fly by Zimmerman. Washington
made the score 4-1 with two outs in the eighth when third baseman
Anthony Rendon scored on a wild pitch by Luis Avilan.
Washington reliever Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect eighth and
Rafael Soriano record his 17th save by fanning all three batters in
the ninth. Gattis had his 20-game hitting streak come to end when he
went 0-for-3 with a walk to end the longest active hitting streak in
NOTES: The Nationals are now 33-3 when scoring four runs or more and
6-32 when scoring three runs or less. ... Washington began Sunday
with a team ERA of 3.07, the best mark in the National League. ...
Washington begins a series at the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday and
the starting pitchers will be LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-4, 4.85 ERA) of
the Nationals against RHP Matt Garza (4-4, 4.02). ... The Braves
begin a series on Tuesday at the Houston Astros and RHP Aaron Harang
(5-6, 3.83) will face Houston RHP Scott Feldman (3-4, 3.95). ...
Atlanta OF Jason Heyward reached base in 37 of his last 40 games
through Saturday, with a batting average of .298 since May 9.
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