Welcome to MASN’s discussion space for today’s Nationals-Braves game at Turner Field. I’ll have updates and analysis throughout the day, and if you want to participate, leave your thoughts in the comments section (as a reminder, you can log in to the site with Facebook, Google, AIM, Yahoo or other third-party accounts). I’ll respond to you there. You can also follow me on Twitter for more updates.
12:11: We’re just underway here, with Danny Espinosa trying (unsuccessfully) to bunt his way on.
12:15: A nice fastball from Mike Minor, which clips the outside corner of the plate to catch Ian Ian Desmond looking for the third out of the first inning.
12:26: Minor strikes out Ryan Zimmerman on a hard-biting curveball, again on the outer half of the plate.
12:31: Michael Morse gets the Nationals’ first hit, doubling over the fence in left center. But Morse could have gone to third on Wilson Ramos’ single. He ran back to second, thinking the line drive might be caught.
12:34: Now it doesn’t matter, anyway; Alberto Gonzalez drew a walk to load the bases.
12:35: And now the Nationals have done some damage. Justin Maxwell blasted a fastball to left for his third career grand slam - among his nine career homers - and the Nationals lead 4-0. Maxwell’s first career homer was a grand slam, as was his walk-off shot to beat the Mets in the home finale last year.
12:48: The Nationals catch a break at the end of the second, when John Lannan deflects a David Ross grounder that looked like a sure RBI single up the middle. But Lannan got a piece of it with his glove, and it bounced right to Ian Desmond to start a 1-6-4-3 double play.
1:07: The Braves get a 6-4-3 double play of their own to end the top of the fourth inning, though nobody seemed to know there were three outs; Minor shrugged in confusion as he belatedly left the field.
1:25: Lannan is through four, and is hitting in the fifth, but is starting to struggle. With a three-run lead and the left-hander pitching his way in and out of jams, he could be done after five innings.
1:31: Lannan and manager Jim Riggleman met with umpires to inspect a divot just in front of the pitching rubber before the inning; Lannan and Minor were starting from the same spot on the third-base side of the rubber. But they’ll keep play going here.
1:38: The Braves score a run, but the Nationals catch a break when Justin Maxwell’s throw sails past the cutoff man and allows Wilson Ramos to throw back to Danny Espinosa at second. Espinosa caught Martin Prado turning around first and threw him out to end the inning. 4-2 Nationals.
1:52: Braves sidearmer Peter Moylan is in the game now, and that’s bound to make things tough for the Nationals for the time being. Even Ryan Zimmerman, who has destroyed Moylan throughout his career, struck out against him in the sixth. Still 4-2 Nationals.
2:04: After a mound meeting with Jim Riggleman and Steve McCatty, Lannan stays in the game, and gets a huge strikeout against David Ross on a curveball in the dirt. It was Lannan’s sixth strikeout of the day, and it stranded two runners on base. He’s almost certainly done, but on a day when he wasn’t at his best, credit Lannan for holding onto a lead.
2:14: Lannan took the mound to start the seventh, but it was just a ruse; Riggleman wanted to wait to swap Lannan for Joel Peralta until the Braves brought right-hander Diory Hernandez up to pinch hit. But with Peralta coming in, on a double switch with Adam Kennedy, Bobby Cox got the left-handed Eric Hinske.
2:19: Nyjer Morgan, after calling off Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, loses a ball in the sun, allowing Hinske a double.
2:26: But Ryan Zimmerman makes a great play on Omar Infante’s bunt, and Sean Burnett strikes out Martin Prado on a breaking ball to end the seventh.
2:53: Great work from Burnett, getting five outs to keep the Nationals’ two-run lead headed into the ninth. The last two came on a 5-4-3 double play that showed off the rocket arms of Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa. Drew Storen will get his first save opportunity since Aug. 28, when he blew a save against the Cardinals.