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Nationals Vs. Braves: Defense Comes Up Short As Atlanta Falls 7-6 In Series Opener

The Atlanta Braves opened up their three game set with the Washington Nationals in less than stellar fashion dropping a 7-6 contest thanks in large part to some defensive miscues. Tim Hudson struggled to his shortest outing of the year lasting just five innings but wasn't helped out by his teammates behind him. 

The Nationals got on the board in the first inning after Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina scored on a Jayson Werth double play ball. Bernadina had reached base thanks to a Freddie Freeman error. Washington struck again in the fourth after Adam LaRoche lined a hard hit grounder to first that caromed off of Freeman. The play was initially scored as an error but later changed to a hit. Wilson Ramos then hit a fly ball to right center where Nate McLouth got a glove on it but dropped the ball before securing the out. McLouth seemed to pull up as Jason Heyward closed in on the play. If you remember, McLouth spent a large portion of last season on the DL after a collision with Heyward in the outfield. 

The error put runners at second and third for Washington and Laynce Nix made Atlanta pay with a three-run homer into the right field bleachers which gave the Nationals a 4-0 lead. 

The Braves got on the board finally in the bottom half of the fourth inning when Martin Prado lined a home run to left field off of Washington pitcher Jason Marquis

Washington wasted no time adding to their lead as they scored three more times in the top of the fifth. Jayson Werth followed a single and a walk by Jerry Hairston Jr and Roger Bernadina with a three-run home run to left that gave Washington a 7-1 lead. 

Tim Hudson was pulled from the game after five innings. He allowed five hits and seven runs although only three of those were earned. He finished with two walks and three strikeouts. 

The Atlanta offense came alive in the bottom half of the eighth as they scored five runs to close the deficit to just one at 7-6. Martin Prado singled with one out and was quickly driven home by Eric Hinske's RBI double. Jason Marquis was then replaced by lefty Sean Burnett who then surrendered an RBI single to Chipper Jones. Burnett followed with a walk to Brian McCann and was then replaced by Tyler Clippard who promptly served up a home run ball to Dan Uggla

The Braves couldn't get any closer though against Washington's closer Drew Storen who closed Atlanta out in order in the ninth. Martin Prado grounded out to end the game giving Washington the victory.

Jason Marquis recorded his 100th win of his career after pitching 7.1 strong innings while allowing three earned runs. 

Game 2 of this series is scheduled for 7:10 tomorrow as Tommy Hanson takes on John Lannan

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Nationals fans check out Federal Baseball

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