The Washington Nationals squeaked by the Atlanta Braves in a 2-1 victory on Monday night as right-handed starter Doug Fister tallied his thirteenth win of the season. Fister threw 104 pitches and 74 strikes in seven innings pitched and gave up two hits and three walks while striking out three batters faced.
Washington took an early and necessary lead in the top of the first inning before the game turned into a pitching duel between Fister and the Braves’ left-handed starter Mike Minor. Third baseman Anthony Rendon scored on two-out single hit by shortstop Ian Desmond off Minor but the Nats wouldn’t score again until the seventh inning; Braves 0, Nats 1.
Catcher Wilson Ramos helped tack on some much needed insurance after Washington held onto a one-run lead through six innings played. Ramos led off the seventh inning with a single before reaching third base on a double hit by second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera. Manager Matt Williams decided to go with a pinch runner for Ramos thanks to the expanded September roster allowing Jeff Kobernus to pinch run and score for Ramos as he crossed the plate during Rendon’s at-bat; Braves 0, Nats 2
Atlanta nearly managed to make a comeback in the eighth inning against right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard when they scored a run off him but after Williams set-up a few pitcher-to-batter match-ups between left-handed reliever Matt Thornton versus Atlanta’s first baseman Freddie Freeman and right-handed reliever Craig Stammen verses Braves outfielder Justin Upton, Washington got the out they needed to hold the Braves to one run; Braves 1, Nats 2.
The Nats held on tightly as right-handed reliever Drew Storen entered the game during the ninth inning for his second save opportunity in two days. Thanks to the solid use of his change-up, in addition to his slider and fastball, Storen dominated the ninth by striking out all the batters he faced (two swinging, one looking) to secure his third save of the season and the Nationals’ 81st win.
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No one seems to be saying that Matt Williams should have put in a pinch runner for Ramos as soon as he reached first base. He was followed by a Cabrera double and a decent runner could have scored giving the Nats another run in an extremely tight game. Very odd, with two other catchers on the bench, that he waited until Ramos was on 3rd.
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