Atlanta, GA – Michael Morse went 4-for-4 and his solo home run in the eighth led the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves in the opener of a three-game set.
Morse scored three times, Ian Desmond drove in two and Jesus Flores hit a solo home run for the Nationals, who have won three of their last four games.
Ross Detwiler started the game and gave up four runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings and added an RBI single. Sean Burnett (1-1) got the win after getting the final out of the seventh and pitching a scoreless eighth.
Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run home run while Michael Bourn and Martin Prado each drove in a run for the Braves, who have dropped their past two games.
Randall Delgado gave up four runs -- two earned -- on eight hits with three strikeouts over four innings. Chad Durbin (3-1) gave up the homer to Morse and got charged with the loss.
Atlanta had tied the game with a four-run seventh inning, but the Nationals quickly got the lead back as Morse led off the eighth with his third homer of the year to make it a 5-4 game.
"I'm just trying to see a good ball and get a good pitch to hit," said Morse. "I wasn't thinking of anything, just trying to be free and easy. That was my whole approach today."
Burnett, who got the final out of the seventh, stayed on for the eighth and gave up a leadoff single to Chipper Jones. However, he then struck out Brian McCann and got Matt Diaz to hit into a 6-4-3 double play.
Tyler Clippard gave up a leadoff double to Freddie Freeman to start the ninth and walked Prado with one out. Clippard, though, got Bourn and Simmons to fly out for his 13th save of the season.
"We always play good games against the Nationals," said Freeman. "It's always fun, and always fun to watch. They're a real good team and we battled them until the end."
Washington struck for a run in the second inning. Morse singled to leadoff and Danny Espinosa later singled to put runners on the corners. Detwiler helped his cause with a two-out single to right for a 1-0 lead.
The Nationals scored two more in the third inning. With two outs, Adam LaRoche reached when Jack Wilson misplayed a grounder. Morse then reached base on an infield single that saw Simmons' throw go wild, putting runners on second and third. Desmond then singled to left to plate both runners and was himself thrown out at third to end the inning, but not before it was a 3-0 game.
Flores made it a 4-0 game in the fourth when he clubbed a 2-2 pitch deep into the seats in left for his third homer of the season.
The Braves wasted a first and third opportunity in the third when Simmons grounded out to end the inning, but the team got a leadoff double from Diaz to start the fifth.
Nothing came of it, though, as Freeman lined out and Wilson grounded out without moving Diaz. Juan Francisco was then hit by a pitch and Bourn reached on a Detwiler error to load the bases, but Simmons flied out to end the frame.
Atlanta finally got to Detwiler in the seventh, and did so in a big way. Freeman was hit by a pitch with one out and Wilson followed with a bunt single. A balk called on Detwiler moved the runners up a base and Prado singled home the first run. A sac fly from Bourn made it a two-run game, but not for long as Simmons clubbed a pitch just over the left field wall to make it a 4-4 game.
The Nationals are 36-2 when leading after six innings...Washington has won five of six against Atlanta this season...The Nationals left nine men on base while the Braves stranded seven...Stephen Strasburg will look for his 10th win of the season as he takes the mound for Washington on Saturday while Mike Minor will hope to snap a two-start losing streak for Atlanta.