Major League Baseball
Nationals 7, Braves 3(11)
Major League Baseball

Nationals 7, Braves 3(11)

Published May. 12, 2011 4:48 a.m. ET

The Nationals are showing some resiliency at the end of a road trip.

Ian Desmond hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the 11th inning, Jayson Werth followed with a two-run homer and Washington beat Atlanta 7-3 on Wednesday night.

After losing three straight at Philadelphia to open a nine-game road trip, the Nationals (18-18) have climbed back to .500 overall by winning four of five, including the first two games of the three-game series with the Braves.

The win in the 11th was set up by a two-run rally after the Braves led 3-1 in the ninth.


''From where we started the road trip to now, with a chance to sweep these guys, is big for this team,'' said Alex Cora.

Cora drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the ninth as Braves closer Craig Kimbrel blew a 3-1 lead.

Drew Storen (3-1) pitched the 10th and Tyler Clippard took over in the 11th for his first save.

The Nationals improved to 5-1 in extra-innings games.

Atlanta's Eric Hinske homered in the seventh in his first start of the season in right field. He filled in for Jason Heyward, who will have an MRI on his sore right shoulder on Thursday.

With one out in the 11th, Scott Linebrink (0-1) hit pinch-hitter Ivan Rodriguez with a pitch. With Rodriguez running from first, Cora singled to right field, sending Rodriguez to third.

Desmond drove in both runners with his double down the third-base line. Werth followed with his sixth homer to add to the lead.

Brian McCann's two-run double in the first inning gave Atlanta the lead it held until the ninth.

Laynce Nix, who had three hits, and Jerry Hairston Jr. had ninth-inning singles before Kimbrel loaded the bases with a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Matt Stairs. Cora followed with two-run single past Kimbrel to tie the game.

''The closer throws so hard, Alex is a veteran,'' said Washington manager Jim Riggleman. ''He didn't try to do too much. He just tried to make contact and hope it found a hole, and it did.''

It was the third blown save in 10 chances for Kimbrel, a rookie who gave up three hits and a walk in the inning.

''Everybody went out there and played good, the entire team did,'' Kimbrel said. ''And I didn't go out there and do my job. I'm leaving balls over the plate. It's just bad execution by me.''

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he'll stick with Kimbrel.

''It's a cruel game, it really is,'' Gonzalez said. ''We just couldn't get those last three outs. You just hope the learning curve is there and I think it is. We'll keep running him out there.''

The burly Hinske came through with a surprise defensive highlight in the fifth when he raced to the gap in right-center to catch a long flyball hit by Roger Bernadina. With the Braves leading 2-1, Hinske hit his fourth homer off Doug Slaten in the seventh.

Tommy Hanson gave up five hits and one run in 5 2-3 innings.

With runners on second and third, Kimbrel struck out Desmond and Werth to end the inning.

Heyward's MRI could lead to more opportunities in right field for Hinske, who also has started in left field and at first base this season.

Heyward said Wednesday he has had soreness in the shoulder since spring training. He said the situation became more of a problem on Tuesday night when his right hand went numb and he couldn't shake it off, forcing him to leave the game in the eighth inning.

John Lannan couldn't extend his streak of wins in three straight starts against the Braves, including a home win on April 2. Lannan threw five straight scoreless innings after allowing two runs in the first.

Lannan gave up five hits and two runs in six innings. He walked three and struck out three.

McCann's first-inning double to right field drove in Martin Prado, who had an infield single, and Chipper Jones, who walked.

McCann, who hit another double in the eighth, has an 11-game hitting streak.

The Nationals scored a run off Hanson in the second. Wilson Ramos doubled and scored on a single by Nix.

NOTES: Hairston was thrown out by McCann while trying to steal third base to end the seventh. ... RHP Peter Moylan will have surgery next week to repair a bulging disc in his lower back. Moylan said the operation, tentatively planned for Tuesday in Los Angeles, won't end his season. He said he has been told the recovery could take eight to 12 weeks. ... SS Alex Gonzalez started after missing one game with a sore left hamstring. ... Jones' double in the 11th was the 505th of his career, breaking a tie with Roberto Alomar for third all-time for switch-hitters.


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