Nationals beat Braves to win sixth straight
The Washington Nationals are playing as if they were contenders the last week of the season, not the team that has the worst record in the majors.
Justin Maxwell hit a two-out, two-run homer in the 11th inning and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-4 Saturday for their sixth straight victory.
The Nationals still have a dismal record at 58-103, but have beaten the Braves, who have lost five in a row, three consecutive times.
Maxwell hit a game-ending grand slam off the Mets' Francisco Rodriguez in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 7-4 win over New York on Wednesday.
"He's making some strikes. It's like he's kind of found something," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said of Maxwell, who is hitting over .300 since his recall on Aug. 30 from Syracuse.
After both teams scored two runs in the 10th, Pete Orr singled with one out in the top of the 11th and moved up on a sacrifice. Maxwell followed with his fourth homer, a drive over the right-field fence against Manny Acosta (1-1).
"Jim told me after Orr's hit that he was going to sacrifice and just wanted me to drive him in. To just look for a pitch and hit it and I got one," Maxwell said.
"I'm just trying to do my job. Not do too much. Just put the ball in play. It felt good. This game is all about confidence. There's nothing to think about when you're in the box. Just hit the ball," he said.
Zack Segovia (1-0) earned his first win despite giving up two runs in the 10th. Atlanta tied it at 4 on an RBI double by pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson and run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Greg Norton.
Logan Kensing got his first save of the season with a scoreless 11th.
Pinch-hitter Christian Guzman hit a two-out, two-run double in the 10th that put Washington ahead 4-2.
The Braves had won 15 of 17 to get within two games of Colorado in the wild-card chase on Monday before the latest losing streak.
"It just stinks, but when you're out of it, you're out of it," Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche said.
"Second place is nice, but you're not playing for the prize we wanted," he said. "There's no excuse not to go out and still get the job done."
Atlanta reliever Peter Moylan got the first two outs in the 10th before Ryan Zimmerman doubled. Adam Dunn was intentionally walked before Guzman doubled over the head of right fielder Omar Infante.
The Nationals had taken a 2-0 lead on a first-inning RBI single by Zimmerman and a solo home run by rookie Ian Desmond in the fourth off Jair Jurrjens.
The Braves tied it at 2 on a two-out, two-run single by Brian McCann off Ron Villone in the sixth.
Jurrjens went eight innings, gave up five hits and struck out nine. Washington starter Ross Detwiler went five innings and allowed one hit, a bunt single to Nate McLouth leading off the game.
NOTES: Atlanta OF Matt Diaz's season ended when he had a cyst removed from his infected right thumb after Friday night's game. ... Washington OF Willie Harris left the game in the fifth inning with a strained right oblique. ... The Nationals are 4-0 when Desmond homers. ... Jurrjens has allowed 2 earned runs or fewer in 26 of his 34 starts.