What started as Dan Uggla hesitating to make a routine play at second base turned into a 5-4 Nationals victory in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It took four hours, twenty seven minutes, thirteen innings, and a fifty six minute rain delay, but Washington beat the Atlanta Braves and are now 30 games over .500.
Jordan Zimmermann started the night and went on to pitch five innings and 102 pitches (68 strikes) against Atlanta. The Nats offense started early behind Zimmermann with a four-hit, four-run rally in the first innings off of Braves veteran starter Tim Hudson.
Atlanta did manage to score one run off Zimmermann in the top of the first but Washington opened the night with three consecutive hits from the top of their order – Jayson Werth (double), Bryce Harper (single), Ryan Zimmerman (single) – only to have Ian Desmond come through with a two-out homerun to left field, making it a 4-1 game.
From that point on, the Nats continued to strand men on the base path with the Braves came inching back to close the run differential. A run in the fourth followed by a pair in the fifth thanks to a Jayson Heyward two-run homerun tied the game up for what seemed like an eternity.
Both sides continued to strand their men or whiff their chances at getting on base. Washington went on to use every arm in their bullpen for at least one inning each from the six inning onward until reliever Craig Stammen pitched the final two innings of the game. He was charged with the win and is now 6-1 this season.
What won it for Washington in the thirteenth was a play that only happens every once in awhile. The Braves’ second baseman Dan Uggla flat out dropped the ball in an attempted play at first to catch Kurt Suzuki in a one-out situation on a Chad Tracy pinch-hit grounder. With Danny Espinosa on third at this point, the Nats second baseman had just one choice – to run home. And run home he did.
The Nats beat Atlanta 5-4 to extend their lead over them in the National League East. Washington is now 11-6 in extra-inning play.