The Braves were unable to rebound from a poor start by Tommy Hanson, as the Nationals put four on the board early in route to a 6-3 win.
Hanson allowed four runs on five hits in 3.2 innings, walking two and striking out one. The first run came in the second inning on a sac fly RBI by Danny Espinosa following a walk and error by Hanson. The Nationals scored three in the third on a sac fly RBI by Michael Morse and two-run home run by Rick Ankiel.
With two outs in the fourth, hail started pelting the field, causing the game to be delayed. When the game resumed, Cristhian Martinez took over for Hanson, loading the bases in the fourth before getting out of it. Martinez followed with a perfect fifth.
Scott Linebrink pitched a scoreless sixth but ran into unwarranted trouble in the seventh. A line drive by Ryan Zimmerman was dropped by Nate McLouth in center, resulting in a triple. George Sherrill was brought in to face lefty Adam LaRoche, and he induced a groundout to hold Zimmerman at third. After walking a batter to face another lefty, Ankiel dropped a squeeze bunt successfully to bring home Linebrink's run.
Peter Moylan gave up a single and a walk with two outs in the eighth. A chopper down the line by Zimmerman deflected off Chipper Jones' glove, causing the leading runner to score and knocking Moylan from the game. Eric O'Flaherty got the final out in the inning with the Nationals ahead by three.
The Braves missed several opportunities against Nationals starter John Lannan. They left two in scoring position in both the second and fourth innings. They managed a run in the third on a RBI single by Jones. Their second run came in the sixth on a solo home run by Dan Uggla, his first hit as a Brave. Their final run came in the eighth on a solo home run by Alex Gonzalez.
Gonzalez led the Braves on offense with three hits, including the home run and RBI. Uggla added a RBI on a home run and Jones picked up the other RBI. Freddie Freeman added two hits, including a double.
Ankiel went 1-3 with a home run and three RBI. Zimmerman went 2-3 with a triple and RBI. Jayson Werth went 3-4 with two doubles. Wilson Ramos added three singles in his 2011 debut.
Lannan's final line was five innings, allowing five hits and one run with one walk and three strikeouts. Chad Gaudin allowed the home run to Uggla. Tyler Clippard pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. Drew Storen allowed the home run to Gonzalez. Sean Burnett finished the game with 1.1 scoreless innings.
The Braves finish the series in Washington on Sunday at 1:30. Tim Hudson faces Jordan Zimmermann.