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Braves Lose Frustrating Series Opener With Nationals In 13 Innings

The Braves left 14 runners on base -- all of which seemingly came in the final innings when the club had numerous scoring opportunities -- in Monday night's 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals. Atlanta now sits six games back of their NL East foes with 40 games to play.

Jason Heyward singled home the first run of the game in the first inning. Tim Hudson's struggles continued against the Nationals in the bottom half of the frame, as he surrendered four runs.

The Braves started chipping away after trailing 4-1 early. Paul Janish beat out an infield single in the fourth to cut the deficit to two runs. Heyward followed in the fifth with a two-run jack off Jordan Zimmermann to tie the game at 4-4.

That score held until the 13th inning despite countless chances for both teams. It seemed like each club had a runner in scoring position in every inning, with strikeouts and unproductive pop outs leading to no runner crossing home plate safely.

The Nationals won in the 13th without hitting a ball out of the infield. Ian Desmond singled on a weak grounder to second baseman Dan Uggla. After a bunt groundout forced Desmond out at second and put Danny Espinosa on first, Chad Tracy chopped a ball between shortstop Paul Janish and third baseman Chipper Jones. The ball was booted, allowing Espinosa to advance to third base and putting Tracy on first.

Kurt Suzuki followed with a grounder to Uggla, who was playing in, only this time the veteran second baseman bobbled the would-be double play opportunity and allowed the winning run to score.

The Braves and Nats will meet again on Tuesday night.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.