Nationals lead Braves 5-3 after trading runs

After Ryan Zimmerman’s leadoff triple in the seventh inning - on a ball that went past Nate McLouth when he dove for it, rather than playing it on a bounce - the Nationals had an interesting situation. Adam LaRoche couldn’t drive Zimmerman in (falling to 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position this year) and the Braves walked pinch hitter Jerry Hairston. That brought up lefty Rick Ankiel and switch hitter Danny Espinosa - whose OPS in his one-month callup last year was 238 points better against righties than lefties - to face left-hander George Sherrill.

It wasn’t a great situation for the Nationals to pound out a run, so they scratched one out instead.

Ankiel dropped a perfect squeeze bunt, bringing Zimmerman home and extending the Nationals’ lead to 5-2. It didn’t pad Washington’s lead for long, with Alex Gonzalez homering off Drew Storen in the eighth inning, but it at least kept them two runs ahead of the Braves.

Storen is done for the day after facing three batters, and Sean Burnett just retired pinch hitter Eric Hinske on one pitch. He’ll be asked to pitch the ninth for a four-out save.