Instant analysis: Nats-Braves


Instant analysis: Nats-Braves

Game in a nutshell: Mired in a three-game losing streak and in danger of seeing their lead over the Braves shrink to 12-game, the Nationals faced something of a must-win situation tonight. And they delivered with a gutsy performance, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to push across solo runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. John Lannan, called up from Syracuse for the day, battled back from an ugly first inning to shut Atlanta out over his next six and put himself in line to earn the win. His teammates did the rest, with Roger Bernadina producing the big RBI hit: a two-out single to right in the bottom of the seventh to score Sandy Leon and break a 2-2 tie. Bryce Harper, battling a sore ankle, then came off the bench in the eighth to ignite another rally and score a key insurance run. Tyler Clippard then bounced back from his shaky week to record the save and give the Nats a much-needed victory at the end of a long day of baseball.

Hitting highlight: When Harper went down with a left ankle injury early in Game 1, the onus fell on Roger Bernadina to pick up the slack. And did he ever. Bernadina wound up going 5-for-7 in the doubleheader, producing the biggest hit of the entire day: His two-out, RBI single to right that scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh. Bernadina has always been a streaky hitter, and he's on a legitimate hot streak right now. Whether he can sustain it, who knows? But the Nationals might as well enjoy it while they can.

Pitching highlight: The way his evening began, Lannan looked to be in a heap of trouble. He gave up two runs in the top of the first and let five of the first six batters he faced reach safely. But then the lefty settled into a groove, and he kept getting better and better with each passing inning. By night's end, Lannan had retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced, only three of those outs coming on flyballs to the outfield. In what was probably the biggest start of his career, Lannan came up big. And the Nats couldn't be happier about it.

Key stat: After a shaky start to his night, Lannan threw 47 of his last 63 pitches for strikes.

Up next: The series concludes at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, with Ross Detwiler facing off against Jair Jurrjens.

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With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever

WASHINGTON  -- The Washington Nationals say they have agreed to a one-year deal with 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The team announced the move Wednesday, along with placing pitcher Joe Ross on the 60-day disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery in July.

The Nationals didn't release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn't official at the time.


Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. 

He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: The Caps add two defensemen, problem solved?

NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: The Caps add two defensemen, problem solved?

The Capitals got their trade deadline started early by trading for defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek. Washington has been struggling of late, but do their new acquisitions address the team's weaknesses?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir evaluate the two trades and talk about where they could fit into the lineup.

You can listen to the latest episode here on the Capitals Faceoff page or with the player below.

Want even more great Capitals coverage? Follow @TarikNBCS and @JJReganNBCS on Twitter!