Bryce Harper doubles, singles as Nationals beat Braves for sweep
While Bryce Harper was putting together an impressive home run streak, one of his Washington teammates was swinging the bat pretty well, too.
Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 13 games and delivered a tiebreaking double to cap a two-run rally in the eighth inning that sent the Nationals over the Atlanta Braves 5-4 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Harper doubled, singled and drove in another run — but didn’t homer. He had hit six home runs in his previous three games. Harper doubled home a run, giving him 13 RBI in four games, and also scored once.
Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman each had a double, single and two RBIs, sending the Nationals to their 10th win in 12 games.
”I’ve always said I want to see what that guy can do with 120, 130 games, because he’s obviously a great catcher, but offensively he’s very talented,” Zimmerman said of Ramos, who’s been hampered by injuries each of last three seasons.
Sammy Solis (1-0) pitched one inning for his first major league win and Drew Storen closed for his ninth save.
After the game, manager Matt Williams said Stephen Strasburg, who left his last start after three innings with an alignment issue under his shoulder blade, will pitch Tuesday in Arizona instead of Monday. Max Scherzer moves up to Monday on full rest after an off-day last Thursday
Ian Desmond singled to open the eighth off Cody Martin (1-2) and Jayson Werth walked. After Harper popped out, Zimmerman hit a tying single, but Werth was tagged out after rounding second and falling. Ramos then hit an opposite-field double to the deep right.
”He’s got a knack for driving runs in, because he stays in the middle of diamond and goes the other way so well,” Williams said of Ramos, who’s hitting .420 (21 for 50) during the streak.
Freddie Freeman had two hits and scored twice for Atlanta, and pitcher Alex Wood had three hits and an RBI.
”Woody was a bulldog on the mound and he was in line to get the win,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ”We’ve got to mix and match out of the bullpen and we haven’t been able to do it.”
With Freeman on first and no outs in the seventh, pinch hitter Jonny Gomes lifted a fly to right center. Harper was lining up for the catch near the warning track, but lost the ball in the sun and it fell in for a single.
Freeman made it to third and scored the go-ahead run on Alberto Callaspo’s flare to short right.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings.
Wood gave up three runs in the first. Looking for his first win since April 7, he gave up eight hits, struck out seven and walked one in 6-2/3 innings.
His three hits doubled the three he collected in 68 at-bats before Sunday.
With two outs and a runner on second, manager Fredi Gonzalez elected to have the left-handed Wood pitch to the lefty Harper in the first. The result was a shot to center that Cameron Maybin couldn’t haul in on the warning track.
Zimmerman followed with a double, Ramos singled, and Washington led 3-0.
The Braves got two runs back in the second and tied it in the third.
Gonzalez produced 30 different lineup cards (not including the pitcher’s spot) over the first 30 games. On Sunday, the Braves became the last team to repeat a lineup as Gonzalez went with the same top eight he used Saturday.
Pirates: Gonzalez said RHP Jason Grilli was unavailable Sunday and has been battling back spasms.
Nationals: OF Nate McLouth (right shoulder surgery) has started hitting as part of his rehab work in Viera, Florida. . Williams said 3B Yunel Escobar, who left the game after three innings, had ”a stomach bug.”