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) -- Washington Nationals rookie pitcher Tanner Roark wanted to keep going.
He had thrown 101 pitches - 23 more than he'd ever thrown in a single game - but still wasn't ready to call it a night.
"I said, `Nice game.' He said, `You sure I'm through?"' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said as he began to smile. "I said, `Yeah, you're through."
Roark was through, but Washington certainly isn't.
The right-hander threw seven shutout innings, and the Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 4-0 to sweep a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, ensuring the Braves leave Washington without the NL East title.
The Nationals entered the nightcap, which followed their 6-5 win in the makeup of a series opener postponed by a shooting rampage a day earlier at the nearby Navy Yard, within 4 1/2 games of Cincinnati for the NL's second wild-card berth. Washington, which has won 10 of 11, has 11 games remaining.
Roark (7-0) allowed just two hits, struck out six and retired the final 13 batters he faced. Johnson even seemed to make up a word - "posure," apparently a cross between poise and composure - to describe Roarke.
"It's not smoke and mirrors right now," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "When you get guys coming down to first talking about how good his stuff is, some really good hitters that are praising him, it says a lot."
After being called up in August, Roark was making just his third start.
"I'm just trying to do the same thing as I was doing all year and not trying to change anything," Roark said. "Keep the same mentality, a bulldog mentality, not giving in to anybody in any sense."
Roarke and the Nationals got cushion in the eighth inning, when Ryan Zimmerman hit a home run, Ian Desmond hit an RBI double and Adam LaRoche hit an RBI single. Steve Lomardozzi had a second-inning RBI single off Freddy Garcia (1-2).
Denard Span 's fifth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 28 games, breaking a tie with Colorado's Michael Cuddyer for the longest in the major leagues the last two seasons.
The Braves have lost nine of 13, but they still lead the division by eight games over Washington despite the sweep.
"We need to start playing a little better baseball and start swinging the bats," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I like where we are, our position, but there's still baseball games to be played, and we've just got to get back on a roll again."
Craig Kimbrel had converted 37 consecutive save chances since early May, and Andrelton Simmons began the day with the second-best fielding percentage among National League shortstops. But they conspired to blow a three-run lead in the ninth inning of the first game.
Simmons allowed Span's grounder off Kimbrel to bounce through his legs as two runs scored on the game-ending play.
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.
Kimbrel (3-3), who leads the major leagues with 47 saves, blew a save chance for just the fourth time this season.
In the ninth, 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.
Ian Krol (2-1) faced two batters in the ninth, giving Washington its first win in seven home games against Atlanta this year.
Before the games, 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.
NOTES: RHP Stephen Strasburg 's bullpen session Monday went "great," 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. . Freeman became the first Atlanta player with 100 RBIs in a season since Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur in 2007.