Baseball will likely be of secondary concern in the nation's capital on Tuesday.
The Atlanta Braves will have an opportunity to clinch the NL East in a day-night doubleheader against the Washington Nationals - one day after the start of this three-game set was postponed due to the shootings at the Navy Yard.
Located just blocks from the Navy Yard, one of Nationals Park's parking lots was used for families of the Navy Yard employees to meet following the evacuation of the facility."It's a very emotional day. An extremely horrific act happened very near to the ballpark," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims over there and all the people affected by this. We felt it was inappropriate to play a major league baseball game with such tragedy right down the street."
Atlanta (89-60) has a magic number of four to end a seven-year drought without an NL East title since the franchise won 11 straight from 1995-2005. The Braves, who can capture the division with a sweep, agreed with the decision to stay away from the park Monday.
"Nobody is thinking about baseball. Baseball is a game," pitcher Scott Downs told Major League Baseball's official website. "You look at the real-life perspective when things go on. That's the last thing I want to do or any team wants to do, especially when something is going on five minutes down the road."
Washington (79-70) is trying to catch Cincinnati for the NL's second wild card. Dan Haren (9-13, 5.02 ERA), who was scheduled to pitch Monday and will start Tuesday's opener, said the Nationals will move on when the game starts.
"I know we are waiting basically for 16 hours to play the game," Haren said. "We are doing the best we can. As inconsequential as the game may seem on a day like today, we have to play baseball at some point, and that will be tomorrow."
Washington native Denard Span has a chance to match the 27-game hitting streak of Colorado's Michael Cuddyer as the longest in the majors in 2013. Span is batting .387 during his career-high 26-game run.
Haren, meanwhile, is 5-2 with a 5.23 ERA in seven career starts against the Braves, yielding one run in eight innings for a 3-1 victory May 2 in the lone one this year.
The right-hander could have a favorable matchup against Mike Minor (13-7, 3.15), whose 5.03 career ERA against the Nationals is the left-hander's highest mark against any NL club. Minor has a 7.04 ERA and no decisions in two starts versus Washington this year.
Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos , who has started the last 23 games, is 6 for 8 off Minor and 13 for 35 with five homers and 15 RBIs in his last eight games.
Roark has allowed two runs over 12 innings in winning his first two starts, surrendering two in six frames last Thursday in a 7-2 win over the Mets.
This will be the right-hander's first home start and first against the Braves, who he threw two innings of scoreless relief against in his big league debut Aug. 7.
Garcia wasn't with Atlanta then, finishing up a poor stint with a Baltimore club that sent him to the minors June 24. His first start with the Braves, who acquired him Aug. 23, was successful as he gave up one run in six innings to earn a 6-1 win at Miami last Thursday.
The right-hander is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts against the Nationals, including a season-high, eight-inning effort May 30 in a 2-0 victory for the Orioles.
Span is 2 for 18 off Garcia and Ryan Zimmerman is 0 for 7. Zimmerman has nine homers and 12 RBIs in 14 games this month for the Nationals, who have won eight of nine.
Atlanta has won 12 of 16 meetings behind Freddie Freeman , who has 12 of his 99 RBIs in the season series. Freeman also has 13 hits in his last 26 at-bats.
|September 11, 2013||Paul Maholm||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|September 10, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right knee|
|August 29, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left hand injury|
|August 22, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Fractured right jaw|
|August 21, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 20, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|September 08, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left hip soreness|
|August 22, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|August 17, 2013||Taylor Jordan||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|August 13, 2013||Wilson Ramos||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|August 11, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Right knee|
|August 01, 2013||Ross Ohlendorf||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Craig Kimbrel had converted 37 consecutive save chances since early May. Andrelton Simmons began the day with the second-best fielding percentage among National League shortstops.
Both faltered in the ninth inning on Tuesday, when the Washington Nationals overcame a two-run deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 in the makeup of a series opener postponed by a shooting rampage a day earlier at the nearby Navy Yard.
Simmons allowed Denard Span 's grounder off Kimbrel to bounce through his legs as two runs scored on the game-ending error.
"The numbers were probably pretty well stacked against us," Washington's Ian Desmond said. "But they have been for a while now, so we're just going out and playing."
Pinch-hitter Chad Tracy had an RBI grounder against Kimbrel as Washington kept Atlanta's magic number at four for clinching the NL East for the first time since the Braves' streak of 11 consecutive division titles from 1995-05. A sweep of the day-night doubleheader would have sealed the division for Atlanta.
Washington closed within 4 1/2 games of Cincinnati for the NL's second wild-card berth with 12 games remaining.
"By no means are we to, I guess, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow yet," Desmond said." But we are playing better, and I think that's all that anybody in here really wanted to see."
Kimbrel (3-3), who leads the major leagues with 47 saves, blew a save chance for just the fourth time this season.
Atlanta trailed 3-0 but took a 4-3 lead in the eighth on Evan Gattis ' two-run homer off Tyler Clippard on an 0-2 pitch, which stopped an 0-for-18 skid. The Braves added a run in the ninth when Elliot Johnson singled, advanced on a throwing error by left fielder Bryce Harper , stole third and came around as Desmond allowed Freddie Freeman 's four-hop grounder to shortstop to bounce off the heel of his glove for his 18th error this season.
"It's only fitting the way it turned out that we got their Superman closer," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "That was worth it all."
In the ninth, Adam LaRoche walked on a full count, Wilson Ramos reached on an infield single and Anthony Rendon walked on a 3-2 pitch. After Tracy's grounder, Atlanta elected to pitch to Span with first base open, and he hit a three-hopper over the mound that rolled past Simmons into center field. Span was given an RBI, with the second run scoring on the error.
"If you don't get your job done, you want to go out there as fast as you can and do it again," Kimbrel said. "Hopefully, we score some runs and are winning in the ninth inning in this next game, and I can go in and shut it down."
Ian Krol (2-1) faced two batters in the ninth, giving Washington its first win in seven home games against Atlanta this year and sparing Clippard the loss.
"He felt terrible," Nationals starter Dan Haren said of Clippard. "He was yelling for 15 minutes straight, screaming in the locker room. How many times has the guy picked us up this year in huge games? Has so many holds. The guy pitches six out of seven days. The guy has been money all year. It's nice for us to pick him for once, and I know after the game he was going crazy, too. So, he felt great about it. It just shows you it's the time of year where you just kind of throw personal stuff out the window. It's just about winning the game."
Before the game, both teams stood in front of their dugouts, heads bowed, and a color guard was stationed behind home plate during a minute of silence to pay tribute to the people killed Monday and those affected by the shootings.
Span's second-inning single extended his hitting streak to 27 games, matching Colorado's Michael Cuddyer for the longest in the major leagues this season.
Washington took a 3-0 lead in the first against Mike Minor on Jayson Werth 's RBI double, Harper's run-scoring groundout and LaRoche's RBI single.
Freddie Freeman 's sixth-inning sacrifice fly off Dan Haren made him the first Atlanta player with 100 RBIs in a season since Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur in 2007, and pinch-hitter Dan Uggla singled in a run in the seventh.
NOTES: Minor retired his final 13 batters. .RHP Stephen Strasburg 's bullpen session Monday went "great," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. Strasburg is set to start Thursday against Miami after missing Friday's turn due forearm tightness in his pitching arm. ... Adm. James Winnefeld , the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, greeted players in the Nationals clubhouse before the game, handing out blue and gold Navy caps to wear during warmups.