For much of the young season, the Washington Nationals have been falling behind early and staying behind late.
The last two games against the division-leading Atlanta Braves, the Nationals bucked that trend – and came away with two needed victories to pull within 2 1/2 of the Braves in the standings.
Dan Haren, whose tenure with the Nationals has been just short of nightmarish, entered the game with an ERA well over 5 and had not lasted six full innings the whole year. He turned in a dominating performance in leading the Nationals to a 3-1 win. Haren pitched eight strong, efficient innings, giving up only one run and lowering his ERA to 5.01. Haren threw 90 pitches and had 62 strikes, both season highs.
Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth for his ninth save of the year.
Kris Medlen did not pitch poorly for Atlanta but still took the hard-luck loss. He pitched seven innings, giving up only one earned run (three overall) and striking out eight. He fell to 1-4 on the year with a 3.38 ERA.
Washington scored first in the first inning, when Steve Lombardozzi singled in Denard Span to make it 1-0. Washington then scored two unearned runs in the second on an error by 3rd basemen Chris Johnson, scoring Anthony Rendon and Wilson Ramos.
Atlanta scored its only run in the 7th, when Dan Uggla homered to left to make it 3-1.
Washington heads off to Pittsburgh to take on the Pirates, while the Braves roll out the welcome mat for the Mets.