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Nats 8, Braves 6: More homers again lead to walkoff win

May 9, 2015, 7:20 PM EST

May 9, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with his teammates after hitting a two run walk off home run off Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Cody Martin (57) (not pictured( at Nationals Park. Washington Nationals defeat Atlanta Braves 8-6. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The Nationals’ recipe for wins lately has included a heavy helping of home runs and good starting pitching. That trend continued on Saturday in the Nats’ 8-6 matinee win over the Atlanta Braves – their ninth victory in their last 11 games – though this one required a walk-off homer by Bryce Harper after their bullpen caved in the eighth inning.

Braves reliever Cody Martin allowed the walk-off bomb, Harper’s sixth homer in the last three games. The Nats are now above the .500 mark for the first time in the 2015 season at 16-15.

Jose Lobaton and Ryan Zimmerman smacked the early homers, Lobaton’s a two-run shot in the second inning and Zim’s a three-run bomb in the fifth. Those big hits gave Doug Fister a nice cushion as he carved up the Braves’ lineup on an efficient afternoon.

After Fister left the game, Aaron Barrett and Tanner Roark allowed the Braves to tie it up in the eighth inning. Barrett was handed three earned runs in the box score, but Roark allowed the game-tying double to Christian Bethancourt.

Braves starter Julio Teheran was not as sharp as Fister, as he was knocked around for six earned runs on 10 hits and three walks in five innings of work. Teheran now sports an ugly 4.74 ERA on the year after taking his second loss.

The Nationals clinched their fourth consecutive series win on Saturday and now have an opportunity for their first sweep of 2015 on Sunday.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: Zimmerman entered the day just 6-for-25 in the month of May with a .222/.279/.359 slash on the season. He was struggling, but the first baseman certainly didn’t look like it on Saturday. Zimmerman crushed a line drive to left field that bounced off the top of the fence in the bottom of the fifth inning.

The play was originally ruled a double before the umpires watch the replay and overturned the call. The big swing brought home Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper and extended the Nationals’ lead from 3-1 to 6-1.

The homer was Zimmerman’s first since April 13 and his third on the season. He now has 20 RBI, good for second on the team.

PITCHING LOWLIGHT: After a strong outing by Fister, Barrett and Tanner Roark combined to cough up a three-run lead in the eighth inning. Barrett began the inning by allowing singles to Andrelton Simmons and Freddie Freeman. Alberto Callaspo walked one batter later to load the bases. That convinced Matt Williams to call on Tanner Roark to face Jace Pederson.

Pederson bunted down the first base line and scored Simmons on a fielder’s choice. Christian Bethancourt then doubled to left-center to score two more and knot the game at 6-6. Barrett was charged with all three runs after entering the day with five consecutive scoreless outings.

KEY STAT: Fister hasn’t allowed a walk in 18 straight innings.

UP NEXT: The Nationals and Braves close their series on Mother’s Day with a 1:35 p.m. start. It will be another good pitching matchup with Jordan Zimmermann (2-2, 4.15) going up against Braves lefty Alex Wood (1-2, 4.32).

  1. Drew - May 9, 2015 at 7:22 PM

    34 from 100.
    689 from Henry Aaron.
    Holy freaking cow.
    GYFNG!!!

  2. Section 222 - May 9, 2015 at 7:23 PM

    Everyone in the park and watching thought he might do that, and he did. Unbelieveable! (Said with Charlie’s inimitable inflection.)

  3. manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:26 PM

    A curve ball or slider clobbered.

  4. manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:28 PM

    Harper is playing last 3 games like the stud he was as an armature.

  5. conatsguy - May 9, 2015 at 7:31 PM

    Bryce with the bat and the glove. Gonna be a special year for him. Hope he likes chocolate ☺️

  6. manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:32 PM

    Last 11 games

    WWWLWWWLWWW. let try not to keep the same pattern, though in reality I would loving 3 of 4.

  7. Drew - May 9, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    Ramos and Lobaton are both hitting .300 and they’ve combined for 17 RBIs.

  8. Eric - May 9, 2015 at 7:39 PM

    WOW, what a team. Just a pleasure to watch right now. Keep it up fellas!

  9. natsfan1a - May 9, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    I told my husband that Bryce would walk it off, and he did.

    Did Max get Rosenthal with the chocolate?

    • manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:48 PM

      Just missed.

      • natsfan1a - May 9, 2015 at 7:55 PM

        Oh, well. They’ll get him next time. 😉

  10. manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    Had Taylor been safe, Harper wouldn’t have had the chance to homer.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 7:51 PM

      That’s true, but still. I’m in a walk-off coma right now! Harper is in the zone that Bonds was in. Don’t make a mistake to this kid, ok, yes, make a mistake to him!

      • nataddicted - May 9, 2015 at 8:10 PM

        Bonds’ zone was aided by modern pharmaceuticals! No valid data?

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 8:19 PM

        Even before his questionable chemical enhancements, he was deadly. Instead of hitting them 450 he was still hitting them far. In 1993, Bonds hit 46 HRs and I don’t believe he was cheating then.

        He tarnished his own legacy because his ego couldn’t stand to be in the shadows of cheaters and he most likely became one.

  11. manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:47 PM

    Where are the negative Bellies who wrote us out on April 26th?

    • Bruxtun - May 9, 2015 at 7:52 PM

      I don’t know how anyone could have written us off when we started last season the same way, and the luck seemed to be even worse this year. It was just bound to turn around. Keep going full steam ahead, boys.

    • Just. Dave - May 9, 2015 at 7:55 PM

      I was one of them. I badly wanted Williams fired, not because I thought he was a bad manager, but because I wanted to light a fire and get the team going.

      I still dislike holding on to all of the pending free agents, well not all, mostly just Desmond. I’m hopeful that we can keep Span and Fister.

      Finally, I am pleased that my agitating for the managers head was stupid and that I just needed to be patient.

      • Bruxtun - May 9, 2015 at 8:24 PM

        It was an easy time to get frustrated for sure. Fans can let it boil over, lucky for us the players don’t. Would love to see Span and Fister here on 3 year deals (I’m a dreamer). Good on you for owning up

    • AlexandriaNatFan - May 9, 2015 at 7:58 PM

      True! I haven’t seen nattygoats on here in a while….sigh (sarcasm)

      • nattygoats - May 9, 2015 at 9:25 PM

        I was at the game. Great win Bullpen stinks.

  12. manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    Wiz win

  13. AlexandriaNatFan - May 9, 2015 at 7:54 PM

    Love that the radio guys are giving shout outs to the Wizards on their win, too. Good night all around for DC. Just need the Caps to close it out tomorrow!!

    • manassasnatsfan - May 9, 2015 at 8:14 PM

      70 in goal we can win.

      • Bruxtun - May 9, 2015 at 8:39 PM

        Holtby is Holtbest (stolen from a Caps blog)

  14. nataddicted - May 9, 2015 at 8:15 PM

    I’ve really gotta figure out some more variety to order at the Uncle John’s place! And load that Mickey Mouse app.

  15. Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 8:16 PM

    Steven Souza with a 3 run blast.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 8:16 PM

      In that same game, Detwiler gave up 5 runs over 4 innings.

    • rayvil01 - May 9, 2015 at 9:11 PM

      I’m happy for that guy. I wish it would have worked out here for him. But, he’s a good guy. Good for him.

      • rayvil01 - May 9, 2015 at 9:11 PM

        Souza.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 9:19 PM

        Yep, he is making an impact. Needs to cut down on the Ks though

  16. knoxvillenat - May 9, 2015 at 8:43 PM

    I’m anxiously awaiting the return of Casey Jannsen ( sp?)……..can’t take this 8th inning drama from our bullpen.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - May 9, 2015 at 9:03 PM

      Back to matchups for 8th innings.

    • therealjohnc - May 9, 2015 at 9:58 PM

      Well, you’ll still get stuff happening from time to time. Baseball. Barrett was flat unlucky on the first two batters. He broke Simmons’s bat, but the bloop found some green behind second base. Freeman singled to right, but it wasn’t particularly sharply struck – it was just a grounder through the right side. The at bat by Callaspo was pretty epic – he fouled off several two strike pitches before working that walk.

      Janssen won’t prevent that from happening occasionally.

  17. rayvil01 - May 9, 2015 at 9:06 PM

    I remember some piece that was linked in here late summer last year…maybe August. Some “Scout” who wouldn’t be attributed said that the Nats should trade Bryce while they could get someone for him. Maybe they could get an arm. Bryce’s swing was a hot mess. MW hated Bryce. Time to get out while the getting was good.

    How’s all that working out?

    I always cast a long eye to the “Scout” or “un-named executive” quoted in pieces. Those folks are being paid by rival organizations. They aren’t independent arbiters. Any scout that didn’t want Bryce on his club is a dumbass.

  18. soonernat - May 9, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    Folks….pay attention to young Mr. Harper. I believe we are watching the emergence of someone special. Not that others haven’t talked about him for years, but he now seems to be fulfilling his promise. He is still the 4th youngest player in the Majors- with Kris Bryant and Joc Peterson both older – and has yet to face a pitcher younger than himself – and has matured significantly over the past few years.

    His appreciation for the history of the game tells me a lot. He understands the “unwritten” rules of the game and appears to play baseball the “right” way. So sit back and watch him over the next 10 years or so and appreciate the fact that we are watching this generation’s Mantle or Mays emerge…along with Mike Trout….because I think he is going to be that good!!

  19. NatsLady - May 9, 2015 at 9:13 PM

    I was sitting with a large nest of Atlanta fans, some of whom were a family that had driven 14 hours from Georgia to be with Grandma and Grandpa on Mother’s Day, and take in a ball game… It was hysterical because Uncle was a Nats fan trying to indoctrinate 5-year-old kid while young mother is fuming and trying to teach him the chop. “We’re from Georgia we’re Braves fans.” Uncle is saying, we’re for the red team and if the guy goes around the bases we win. And young mom is talking over him: No we’re for the BLUE team! There was also a row of Chipper jerseys in front of me that really got chipper when the game was tied. There was a LOT of sadness when Bryce hit the homer. It was inevitable. I remember that happened once with Mikey Morse, where the whole stadium knew it before it happened.

    The most striking thing, however, was their reaction to Denard Span in the top of the ninth. They thought the first one was a certain triple. I said, wait and watch. OK, they saw. Then, they were CERTAIN the shallow fly would drop. I said, wait and watch. When Span reached out and got it without even breathing hard, they said, “Wow, he can cover some ground.” YUP.

    • Bruxtun - May 9, 2015 at 9:40 PM

      That’s awesome, NL. Hopefully those kids grow up rooting for The Red Team!

      • therealjohnc - May 9, 2015 at 10:03 PM

        Great story, NL! It was a fun day at the ballpark. While there were a handful of Braves’ fans in the 300 galleries there weren’t nearly as many as there have been in past years.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 9, 2015 at 10:23 PM

        +3

  20. Bruxtun - May 9, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    Just watched Jason Marquis give up 2 homeruns to the ChiSox in relief. Blast from the past.

  21. ehay2k - May 9, 2015 at 11:23 PM

    Such a fun game. My friends texted me they were going, so I took my youngest, just 10 years old but a big Nats fan. I got hugs for Storen’s outing and Bryce’s game winner. Perfect!

  22. sjm308 - May 10, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    Pretty nice game for my return from Europe!
    Our section is pretty regular but the one couple with Braves gear were great fans, no chop even when they tied it up and they took the Harper Homerun well. We were actually talking about this being the first game where we did not have to try and drown out the yell/chop and when they did tie it, there seemed to be an effort to get one going but it was quickly negated with cheers from the home town.

    Natslady brought up a great point about Span and he made another catch early in the game where he ran a great route.. We get a great look at him from 308 and his routes are almost pristine. The ball Maybin missplayed, or did not get to (can’t remember the batter), we all thought Span would have caught. Between all 3 outfielders, there were some really nice plays yesterday. Werth has slowed for sure but I like what I saw today. Actually both Espinosa and Desmond also got stars in my scorebook so it was a good defensive game all around.

    Team is undefeated since I returned but that has to end. Just keep winning series!!
    Sadly, will not be back to the stadium for at least a month (knee replacement)
    Does anyone know if the Nationals can move me temporarily or if they have a handicap section so I can just get left off at CF entrance and hobble over to the outfield seats? That would sure help.

    Go Nats!!

    • therealjohnc - May 10, 2015 at 11:46 AM

      Good luck with the knee surgery, sjm! On the seats question, if you’re a plan holder you should call your ticket representative. S/he may be able to come up with something.

    • micksback1 - May 11, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      Hey Coach

      you will back in the pool with the kickboard in no time

      take care

      Mick

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