Apr 29, 2015, 9:57 PM EDT
GAME IN A NUTSHELL: It’s far too soon to know whether Tuesday night’s stunning comeback will be the turning point in the Nationals’ season. But it’s probably safe to say this: It certainly woke this team’s bats up.
After pounding the shell-shocked Braves for 13 runs during that record-setting rally, the Nationals came right back out tonight and pounded out 13 more runs (establishing a new franchise record). They got hits from every member of the lineup except for Ian Desmond (who did draw a walk), got five RBI out of Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and Dan Uggla and got a bases-clearing single from none other than Jordan Zimmermann in the top of the fourth to complete the impressive showing at the plate.
Zimmermann also churned out seven strong innings to give the Nationals’ bullpen a much-needed rest, holding the Braves to three earned runs. And so a ballclub that after two innings Tuesday night appeared on the brink of complete disaster has now won two in a row, thanks to an offensive explosion, and heads to New York feeling a whole lot better about itself than it did 48 hours ago.
HITTING HIGHLIGHT: This was going to go to Zimmermann, whose 3-run single helped break the game open. But how could we gloss over another big night for the Most Popular Man in Atlanta, Mr. Dan Uggla himself? OK, so he didn’t quite duplicate his incredible performance from Tuesday, but he did draw a walk, drive in a run with a groundout and then drive in another run with a base hit to left. So Dan Uggla, who drove in 10 total runs for the Braves last season, drove in eight runs against Atlanta in this series. And was paid handsomely by the Braves to do it.
PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Zimmermann still isn’t quite in peak form. He’s been quite hittable this season, allowing 32 base hits in 27 2/3 innings, and the Braves hit him fairly hard early in this game. But Zimmermann is getting better, and he got better over the course of tonight’s outing. He gave up only one earned run on five hits over his final six innings, and he walked only one batter in the entire start. On this night, that was more than good enough for Zimmermann to become the first member of the Nationals’ rotation to earn his second win of the season. (Which is a pretty crazy fact in and of itself.)
KEY STAT: Bryce Harper is now on pace to draw 155 walks this season. Only four players in MLB history have done that: Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Ted Williams.
UP NEXT: The final leg of this East Coast road trip takes the Nationals to New York, where the first-place Mets await for a big, 4-game series. Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 4.88) faces Jacob deGrom (2-2, 2.96) in Thursday’s 7:10 p.m. opener at Citi Field.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
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