Francoeur, miscues help Braves edge Nationals
ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Three hits by
plus two defensive miscues by the
added up to another win for the
Francoeur drove in two runs, including one with a double that snapped a tie in the eighth inning, as the Braves posted a 4-3 victory over the Nationals.
Entering with sole possession of first place in the National League East Division for the first time since June 4, Atlanta staged a late rally Wednesday to increase their lead over Washington.
The Braves led, 3-2, before
came through with an RBI single in the top of the eighth to tie the contest.
It appeared the game would head to the ninth tied as Washington catcher
made a perfect throw to shortstop
on a steal attempt by
with two outs in the bottom of the inning.
But Guzman was unable to handle the throw and, after
was walked intentionally, Francoeur plated Jones with a bloop double to center field.
"When they were playing behind me, (third base coach Freddy Gonzalez) gave me the sign to take (the base), if I got it,"
said. "I didn't get a good jump. Luck was on our side, he dropped the ball."
Atlanta took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a solo homer by
and another gift from the Nationals' defense.
hit a pop-up to right that Johnson lost in the lights for a double. Two outs later, Francoeur delivered a seeing-eye run-scoring single up the middle.
"There's always a 10 to 15-minute period where it's impossible to see a fly ball," Washington centerfielder
said. "I don't think anyone in the park saw (
"When Andruw hit that ball, nobody saw it," Francoeur admitted. "They all look like (lasers) in the scorebook. I'll take them."
Despite allowing consecutive RBI singles by
and Johnson in eighth,
(3-6) picked up the victory for the Braves. Closer
tossed a perfect ninth for his 11th save.
(2-2) took the loss after yielding one run and two hits while retiring just two batters.
The Nationals clubhouse was closed for 15 minutes after the game while manager
held a closed-door meeting to discuss Washington's poor play. The Nationals have lost 15 of their last 20 games and have dropped eight straight one-run contests.
"We're not playing winning baseball," Robinson said. "(The meeting) was something I had to do, get it off my chest and I did it."
"I think (the meeting) was deserved," Nationals' reliever
said. "He's tired of the baseball we're playing. Hopefully, people will take heed to what he said. Hopefully, there will be a change."
pitched well but failed in his final attempt to become only the sixth pitcher since 1970 to win 100 games in 200 appearances. The 30-year old righthander scattered one run and five hits in seven innings but was saddled with a no-decision.
Hudson found himself in immediate trouble in the first. Wilkerson led off with a triple and scored on
's RBI single. Johnson singled and
walked to load the bases.
But former Brave
grounded into a double play to end the threat.
"I was able to make some pitches and get a big double play ball," Hudson said. "As a starting pitcher, that's what you want to do."
The win was the 9,500th victory in Braves franchise history. Only the Giants and Cubs organizations have more franchise wins than Atlanta.