It took awhile for the Washington Nationals to finally breakthrough and beat the rival Atlanta Braves this season, but they will head out-of-town with that monkey off their back.
Veteran pitcher Dan Haren looked great tonight and followed up Jordan Zimmermann’s gem with one of his own by holding the powerful Braves to four hits and one-run over eight brilliant innings of work. This was a vintage performance for the wily old veteran and his best start of the season.
I know nobody will say it, but these wins were crucial for the Nats and almost must win games in my opinion for a variety of reasons. The Braves had won the first five games this season and another sweep could have been devastating to the young Nats as they try to get themselves going in this World Series or bust season.
The Nats haven’t played all that well this season, but have shown some recent signs of coming out of hibernation. I’m hoping these last two wins will be the spark they’ve been missing.
As flat as the Nats have been so far they trail the N.L. East leading Braves by only 2.5 games.
The Nats will start a three game series at the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night with Ross Detwiler on the mound. They will also be getting third baseman Ryan Zimmerman back in the lineup and have sent prospect Anthony Rendon back to Double-A Harrisburg. Rendon made eight starts and batted .240 (6-for-25), with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.