Schneider caps late rally as Nationals upend Braves
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- The
were long overdue offensively and against the
's two-out, two-run double in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Nationals to a 4-3 triumph over the Braves.
Following eight superb innings by
, Atlanta manager
turned over a 3-1 lead to his new closer, Danny Kolb. After registering saves in his first three appearances for the Braves, Kolb ran into immediate trouble in this one.
opened the inning with a walk and and
singled. After a walk to
loaded the bases, Kolb appeared poised to escape the jam by getting
to bounce into a forceout at the plate and retiring
on a sacrifice fly to center field. However, Schneider ripped a line drive into the right-center field gap for a 4-3 lead.
"I will take that last double," said Schneider, who has four doubles this season. "It was huge. My job was to keep the inning going and get a hit. I got fortunate where the ball got in the gap and we were able to score from first."
"I didn't get away with a fastball at the knees," Kolb said. "He did his job and hit it in the gap."
Kolb set a
' record with 39 saves last season and posted a 0.84 ERA in nine appearances last April.
"I haven't had that lack of control in three or four years," Kolb said. "I didn't have my fastball. It happens over the course of a season, but it isn't supposed to happen in April."
Prior to the ninth-inning outburst, Washington had managed just six runs in its previous 45 innings. Five of those six runs came on solo homers.
"It's a big confidence booster to just come up with a big hit," said Nationals outfielder
. "We haven't been doing that the last four or five games."
The win also was just the Nationals' second in 10 meetings with the Braves. Washington, which dropped the series opener Monday, is 0-10-1 in its last 11 series with Atlanta dating to the opening three games of the 2003 campaign.
"It felt good," Schneider said. "Thirteen straight years, this team is the team to beat. This is a huge, huge win because we came from behind and we have a chance to win the series."
After the Nationals rallied, rain forced a 31-minute delay. When play resumed, Washington closer
worked around a two-out single to notch his first save of the season.
(1-0), who worked a scoreless eighth, notched the victory.
"Seems like old times," Nationals manager
said. "(Ayala) comes in the ballgame, we score runs."
started for the Nationals, allowing three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out three.
Hudson allowed a run and six hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six.
"I felt pretty good," Hudson said. "This is what I've been searching for most of the spring. My location was a lot better than in Florida. For the most part, I was able to stay ahead of the hitters."
Atlanta scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by
in the fourth inning and tacked on two more on
' two-run double in the sixth.