Published November 20, 2014
With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Andrelton Simmons was hit by a pitch to force in Jeff Baker with the game-winning run, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 5-4 triumph over the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
David Ross singled before Dan Uggla and Chipper Jones each drew a walk to load the bases.
Simmons, who scored the winning run for the Braves on Friday, faced a 2-2 count before he was plunked by Ryan Mattheus (5-2). Baker replaced Ross as a pinch-runner earlier in the frame.
Washington put a runner on third with one out in the ninth, but Craig Kimbrel was able to strand pinch-runner Eury Perez to seal the win. It was his 36th save of the season.
Jason Heyward cracked a two-run homer and Freddie Freeman added a solo shot for Atlanta, which has won two in a row on the heels of a three-game skid. They are 6 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals, but remain on top in the wild card standings.
"Definitely a big win agaisnt these guys. They want to bury us everytime they play us," Freeman said. "It was a big win, we were able to come back and get some runs early, and get closer (in the standings). (Heyward), with the big home run to tie us up and (starting pitcher Tommy Hanson) battled. We didn't really help him out too much in the first couple of innings but we battled the rest of the game."
Eric O'Flaherty (3-0) earned the win after pitching a perfect eighth.
Adam LaRoche homered and Jayson Werth had two hits and scored a run for the Nationals.
The Nationals jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after scoring a pair in both the first and second innings.
In the first, Werth reached on a single before LaRoche clobbered his two-run homer to right field.
In the second, Jesus Flores walked and Steve Lombardozzi reached on a Freeman fielding error before both runners came around when Tommy Hanson's throw on a sacrifice bunt sailed past Freeman at first base.
The Braves were able to get on the board in the home half after Freeman tripled and then scored on Dan Uggla's double to right field.
Freeman's solo homer in the fourth cut Atlanta's deficit to 4-2 before Heyward knotted it up in the sixth with a two-run homer to right field. Martin Prado reached on an error before Heyward smacked his 27th homer of the season.
"Any time you get a lead like that, and you're the starting pitcher you come out of a game and that lead isn't there its always tough" Nationals starter Edwin Jackson said. "My job is to go out and secure the lead, regardless of what kind of call is being made. You can't really control that. I have a job to go out and get outs."
Freeman finished a double short of the cycle ... Braves catcher Brian McCann left in the third inning with tendinitis in his right hamstring ... Hanson started for the Braves and gave up four runs -- two earned -- on four hits and struck out seven over five frames ... Nationals manager Davey Johnson was ejected in the sixth inning by first base umpire Marvin Hudson.