Freddie Freeman's walk off single with two outs in the bottom half of the ninth gave Atlanta a 9-8 win against the Washington Nationals. The Braves prevailed in a wild back and forth game with Freeman further proving his case as the National League's top rookie.
The Nationals threatened in the top of the ninth but Craig Kimbrel finally got Jayson Werth to ground into a fielders choice to end the threat. Brooks Conrad pinch hit and drew a lead off walk to start Atlanta's half of the ninth. Jordan Schafer followed with a sacrifice that moved Conrad into scoring position. Conrad was then thrown out at third after Martin Prado grounded to shortstop on a heady play by Washington's Ian Desmond. The game once again looked like it was headed to extra innings as Brian McCann stepped to the plate with two outs and Prado at first.
On the 3-1 pitch to McCann, Prado stole second giving the National's manager Davey Johnson a decision to make. Johnson elected not to take anymore chances with McCann and issued the free pass to the Atlanta catcher. Freeman then stepped to the plate and promptly delivered a clutch hit to right that scored Prado and gave Atlanta the victory.
Neither starting pitcher was particularly effective in the game. Washington's Tom Gorzelanny left the game after two innings pitched due to an ankle injury he suffered on a pitch in the first inning. Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens labored for much of the afternoon allowing eight hits and six runs in five innings of work.
Atlanta took an early 2-0 lead in the first as Gorzelanny struggled with his control. Martin Prado singled home the first run and later scored on a wild pitch by Gorzelanny. The Nationals tied the game in the third. Roger Bernadina tripled to center scoring Gorzelanny who reached due to a botched sacrifice attempt. Bernadina scored on the play as the relay throw skipped away from Brian McCann in an attempt to nab the Washington pitcher at the plate.
Jurrjens ran into more trouble in the fourth inning as the Nationals would score four times. Ian Desmond doubled home Laynce Nix and Jesus Flores for a 4-2 lead. Later in the inning, Danny Espinosa tripled home Bernadina and Ryan Zimmerman followed with a run scoring double to extend the lead to 6-2.
Atlanta would answer back again and briefly take the lead in the fifth. Wilkin Ramirez led off the inning with a double and pinch hitter Jason Heyward was hit by a pitch. Jordan Schafer followed with a run scoring single to cut the National lead to 6-3. After a Martin Prado ground out, Davey Johnson brought in the lefty Sean Burnett to face McCann with two on and one out in the inning. McCann greeted Burnett with a game tying three run home run that sailed over the right center field wall. Following the homer, Burnett walked Freeman and Dan Uggla followed with a single to center with Freeman taking third on the play. Alex Gonzalez then grounded out to short but Freeman scored on the play giving the Braves back the lead at 7-6.
The lead would be short lived however, George Sherrill relieved Jurrjens and after retiring Desmond to start the innings surrendered a single to the pitcher Burnett. Roger Bernadina then grounded into a fielders choice before Danny Espinosa followed with a two run homer giving the Nationals back the lead at 8-7.
Nate McLouth tied the game once again with a two out home run in the bottom of the eighth that helped set the stage for Freeman's heroics in the ninth.
Kimbrel is rewarded with his third win of the season while Ryan Mattheus takes the loss for the Nationals. Atlanta takes two out of three from the Nationals in the series despite sub par pitching performances from Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens. The Braves will open a four game set against the Rockies in Colorado on Monday.