As the Nationals and Braves tangle in the second game of their initial three-game set of 2014 on Saturday night in Washington, D.C., right-hander Stephen Strasburg is facing Braves right-hander Julio Teheran.
The Nationals opened the scoring with a two-run homer by Adam LaRoche in the first inning. The mammoth shot by LaRoche came on a 2-2 pitch off of Teheran and reached the upper deck down the right field line, landing in what appeared to be the first row above the Jackie Robinson No. 42 sign on the facade.
Denard Span walked to lead off the first inning and after a pair of strikeouts, scored in front of LaRoche. The 2-0 lead after one inning marked the first time this season that the Nats scored first. They had come back to win in all three of their games in New York and lost to Atlanta 2-1 Friday after trailing 1-0.
Update: The Braves got on the board in the fourth. With Justin Upton on second, Andrelton Simmons hit a grounder to deep third. Ryan Zimmerman threw over LaRoche’s head at first base, allowing Upton to score, making it 2-1 Nationals. Simmons went to second on the throwing error by Zimmerman.
Teheran followed with a single over LaRoche again, this time to right field, scoring Simmons to even the game at 2-2.
Update II: The Braves plated four more runs off of Strasburg in the fifth. Dan Uggla’s two-run single gave Atlanta a 4-2 lead. Ryan Doumit added a run-scoring single to make it 5-2 Braves, which ended Strasburg’s night. Simmons added a sacrifice fly off of Aaron Barrett to add to the Braves’ lead, making it 6-2.
Strasburg went 4 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits, six runs (three earned), three walks and six strikeouts. He is on the hook for his first loss of the season.
Update III: To begin the top of the sixth, Zimmerman was removed from the game. No word yet on whether it was related to an injury or that the Braves are up 6-2. Danny Espinosa was inserted on defense at second base and Anthony Rendon moved to third.
Update IV: The Braves have officially swiped the first series from the Nats this season, holding them to just five hits - two from LaRoche and one each from Ian Desmond, Rendon and Kevin Frandsen. The Nats have now lost back-to-back games after starting the season with a three-game sweep of the Mets. LaRoche drove in both Nats runs and now has eight RBIs in the first five games of the season.
Washington’s bullpen pitched well after Strasburg’s departure, combining for 4 2/3 scoreless innings. Barrett recorded two outs and Ross Detwiler pitched two scoreless innings before Jerry Blevins and Drew Storen each pitched one scoreless frame. Storen has now pitched three scoreless innings through three appearances this season.
But now the Nats will need to find a way to win tomorrow to salvage a win from the weekend series against their top division rival.