A night after the Nationals came back to snatch a late lead from the Braves, they had the same thing done to them. Sean Burnett gave up a grand slam in the seventh - with two of the runs being charged to Jordan Zimmermann and two being charged to the left-hander - and the Nationals and Braves are tied at five.
Burnett was pitching in the seventh because a couple left-handers were due up and the fact that Tyler Clippard had pitched the last two games. But the lefty has been struggling since his loss against the Mets on April 27. He’s allowed eight runs in five innings over his last eight appearances, including the four he gave up against the Mets that night. And while he allowed a couple bloop hits that night, he’s been hit hard in a pair of outings since then.
Doug Slaten is back out for the 10th, which will be his third inning of the game. Manager Jim Riggleman is clearly resolved to staying away from Clippard tonight.
The game is tied in part because Alex Gonzalez’s would-be homer in the ninth inning barely stayed in the park, bouncing off the top of the wall in left. Michael Morse quickly played the ball on a hop and made a good throw to second, where Danny Espinosa tagged Gonzalez out. Gonzalez flipped his bat, thinking he’d hit a walk-off homer, and didn’t run as hard as he could into second. He also slid away from the bag, and never gave himself a chance to make contact with it before Espinosa tagged him.
So we’re in the 10th, and the Nationals and Braves are still tied.
UPDATE AT 10:15 P.M.: The Braves scored in the bottom of the 10th, with Brian McCann driving a single to right field that scored Martin Prado. The Nationals still won two of three, but as well as Jordan Zimmermann pitched, and given the fact they were up 5-1 at the seventh-inning stretch, this one is a bit of a head-scratcher. More in a little bit.