A meltdown of epic proportions (Nats fall in 11 innings)

What was a 9-0 Nationals lead entering the sixth turned into a 10-9 deficit.

How the heck did this happen?

The Nats were cruising over the Braves through five, smacking Atlanta pitchers around and putting up crooked numbers. Then Stephen Strasburg got ambushed in the sixth, allowing hits to four of the five hitters he faced and getting charged with four runs.

In the eighth, the Braves hit up Drew Storen and Sean Burnett for four more.

Storen, who manager Davey Johnson surprisingly went to for the second straight day, faced just two hitters, giving up a single to Dan Uggla and a single to Paul Janish.

Burnett then was brought on, and he struggled through his inning of work, needing 31 pitches to get out of the frame. He walked in a run, allowed a two-run single to Chipper Jones and then an RBI base hit to Freddie Freeman before finally shutting the door.

That four-run frame made it 9-8. But things only got worse in the ninth.

Tyler Clippard imploded, walking the leadoff hitter, hitting the next batter and then giving up a two-run triple to Michael Bourn.

It’s now 10-9. The Nats had this one in the bag, and now they’re on the verge of what would be a crushing defeat.

Update: How about that?

Danny Espinosa launched a solo homer to tie the game 10-10, giving Craig Kimbrel just his second blown save of the season.

Game of the year? Game of the year.

We go to extras. The day before a doubleheader. Hope John Lannan is prepared to go nine tomorrow.

Update II: This one is going to sting.

The Nats fell to the Braves 11-10 in 11 innings. Tom Gorzelanny worked a 1-2-3 10th, but gave up an unearned run in the 11th that became the game-winner. Dan Uggla took second base leading off the 11th when Ryan Zimmerman tried to make a spectacular spinning throw but instead tossed the ball down the right field line.

Uggla took third on a Sandy Leon passed ball and came around to score on Paul Janish’s bloop single just over a drawn-in Ian Desmond.

The Nationals went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th, and they head home tonight trying to brush off a punch to the gut from their top division contenders.

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