Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Upton's RBI in 10th wins it for Braves

The SportsXchange

ATLANTA - It's tough to stop Justin Upton when he gets on a roll.

The Atlanta left fielder, with his father watching in the stands, went 3-for-3 and drove in the winning run with a single in the 10th inning to give the Braves a 7-6 win over the Washington Nationals on Friday.

Upton fisted a 2-2 pitch off reliever Jerry Blevins (1-1) in front of center fielder Bryce Harper, who had moved over from left field to start the inning. The ball landed in front of Harper and took a bounce to the right, which allowed pinch-runner Jordan Schafer to race all the way from first base with the winning run without a throw.

"I've seen Schafer run before and I knew he had a chance if the ball got down and would get away from them a little bit," Upton said. "This game swung both ways and it was nice to be able to grind out a win."

Upton, who earlier blasted his third home run, is 8-for-15 over the last four games and improved his batting average to .324.

"The ball he hit to straightaway center was about as pretty a swing as you'll see," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He's starting to get hot."

The left-handed Blevins retired the first two batters in the 10th before third baseman Chris Johnson singled. Gonzalez then inserted the speedy Schafer to run for Johnson. Schafer was running on the pitch when Upton struck the decisive blow.

"He's a threat to steal a base and maybe that takes a little concentration away from the pitcher," Gonzalez said. "He scored on a ball that went 120 feet."

Washington manager Matt Williams said, "They put (Schafer) in there to take second, otherwise they wouldn't have moved Johnson."

The winning pitcher was reliever Luis Avilan (1-1), who pitched around two walks to post a scoreless 10th inning.

Washington's offense produced 14 hits and erased a four-run deficit, but the Nationals left 10 runners on base.

"The bottom line is we got back in the game and had a chance to win," Williams said. "One swing of the bat either way can make a difference. Tonight it was their turn."

Washington starter Tanner Roark had not allowed a run in three previous appearances against Atlanta, a span of 13 innings. But that changed quickly for the right-hander in the second inning when the Braves plated four runs. The first run scored on a sharp RBI single to center by catcher Evan Gattis, and the others scored on a line-drive, three-run homer to right field by shortstop Ramiro Pena, his first.

The Nationals got one of the runs back in the fourth inning on a sharp bases-loaded single by Ian Desmond that scored Adam LaRoche. But Jose Lobaton struck out and Roark grounded weakly to first base to end the threat.

Washington tied the game in the fifth on Ryan Zimmerman's towering three-run homer to left-center. The third baseman hit a 3-2 pitch for his second home run. Zimmerman unexpectedly got a chance to hit when second baseman Dan Uggla's throwing error on a routine ball extended the inning.

Atlanta regained the lead 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, first baseman Freddie Freeman doubled to chase Roark. Johnson capped a 10-pitch at-bat with a single against reliever Aaron Barrett to drive in Freeman.

The Nationals tied it back up in the top of the sixth when Lobaton lobbed a double down the left-field line and scored on Kevin Frandsen's pinch-hit single.

Denard Span put Washington ahead by a run in the eighth with an RBI single off reliever David Carpenter. The hit scored Harper, who led off the inning with a bunt single. But Atlanta matched the run in the bottom of the inning on a long homer to straightaway center by Upton, his third of the season. He hit two on Thursday night against the Mets.

NOTES: Washington RF Jayson Werth left the game in the 10th inning after a slight groin pull. He will be evaluated before Saturday's game. ...

Braves SS Andrelton Simmons missed his second straight game with a sprained wrist. He is expected to be back in the lineup on Saturday. Simmons was presented with his 2013 Gold Glove in an on-field ceremony before the game. ... Atlanta RHP Gavin Floyd and LHP Mike Minor will both make another injury rehab start on Sunday. Floyd will pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett and Minor will start for Class A Rome. ... Washington RHP Doug Fister threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday afternoon. Fister threw only fastballs and change-ups and said afterward he felt good. The Nationals want Fister to throw 50 pitches in a bullpen session and pitch a minor league rehab assignment before being activated. Fister, acquired in an offseason trade with Detroit, strained his side in a minor league game March 27 after being sidelined with elbow inflammation during most of spring training. ... Washington RHP Tanner Roark hit three of the first 14 Atlanta batters he faced on Friday. It was the first hit batsmen of his career.

Instantly join a new league.

League type:
Free Yahoo League
League size:
10 players
Draft time:
Aug 29 9:00 am
View Comments (0)