Justin Upton’s game-winning home run helped the Braves (68-45) overcome a strong game from Nationals (54-58) pitcher Stephen Strasburg to win their 11th straight contest on Tuesday night.
Strasburg (5-9) threw seven innings, giving up two earned runs on only five hits. He faced 28 batters, striking out nine of them.
Upton’s home run (20) off of Tyler Clippard (6-2) in the eighth inning proved to be the game winner. Clippard gave up another hit but only the one run in his single inning of work.
Upton was 3-for-4 on the night and scored another run off of a Freddie Freeman two-out single in the fifth.
Freeman also drove in the other run scored for the Braves on a single in the third inning. Jason Heyward scored on that play. Freeman was 3-for-4 on the night with the two RBIs.
Upton, Freeman, Heyward, and B.J. Upton were the only Braves to secure a hit in the contest.
Brian McCann, Dan Uggla, Andrelton Simmons, and Chris Johnson, one game removed from a Braves record hitting streak, were all 0-fer in the game. Both McCann and B.J. had two strikeouts.
The story in the game will undoubtedly be pulled toward the Justin Upton go-ahead home run in the eighth. Some would argue that it should be the timely hitting by Freddie Freeman to drive in the two runs earlier in the game. For me, the story of the game is easily the pitching. More importantly, the Braves bullpen.
You can score as many runs as you want to, but, if your bullpen gives up more than you’re scoring, it won’t matter for much.
Mike Minor (11-5) started things off for the Braves on Monday, but picked up a no-decision. In his six innings of work, Minor gave up eight hits and two earned runs. He also issued three walks and had three strikeouts.
David Carpenter (3-0) picked up the win for Atlanta on 1-2/3 masterful innings. He was perfect in his time on the mound, with two strikeouts along the way.
Luis Avilan was on the bump for the final out of the eighth inning. Avilan walked up to the mound and tossed one (1) pitch for the out.
Usually, in a one-run game, Craig Kimbrel would enter the game to finish off the game and toss the last inning. After working all three nights in Philadelphia, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez decided to give him a rest and give the ball to Jordan Walden for the save opportunity.
Walden picked up the save, his only of the season, on nine pitches. He gave up only one hit in the ninth to cap off the game.
Walden and Cory Gearrin are the only two pitchers outside of Kimbrel to have a save on their resume from the Braves 2013 season.
The game was the Braves 36th comeback win of the year, most in the Majors by any team.
We’re going streaking:
With the end of the Phillies series, the Braves were at 10-straight wins, which tied a streak from earlier this season. With the win on Monday night, 11-straight makes the longest win streak for Atlanta since winning 15-straight from April 16-May 2 in the 2000 season.
Through the 11 games, the Braves have outscored their opponents 69-27. Atlanta is hitting a solid .294 as a team throughout the streak, holding their opponents to a .211 average. The team has hit 13 home runs during the run as well.
Opposing pitchers have walked the Braves 40 times compared to the Braves pitching staff giving out only 21 walks. Atlanta’s staff has also struckout the opponents batters 97 times out of 360 at-bats.
Extending the streak:
Tuesday night is game two of a three-game series between the two squads. The pitching match-up, Julio Teheran VS Gio Gonzalez, will be fun to watch.
Teheran (8-5), the Braves 22-year-old right-hander, has a 3.02 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with 117 strikeouts this season.
Coming into Tuesday’s game, Teheran has pitched 18 innings and amassed a 4.50 ERA against the Nationals in three games in 2013.
Pitching against Washington this year, Teheran is 0-1. In his three starts, he’s given up 23 hits, nine earned runs, and the Nats are hitting a nice .329 off of him.
Teheran has tossed only six innings at Nationals Park this season. In that time he has picked up a 6.00 ERA and given up a four earned runs with a home run in only six hits.
As for Gonzalez (7-4), he has faced the Braves three times this season as well with an 0-2 record.
In his 16 innings against Atlanta, the Braves are hitting .270 off of him with 13 earned runs, including three home runs. Gonzalez has a 7.31 ERA against a team who have been hot as of late.
When pitching at home, Gonzalez has a 3.07 ERA with a 4-2 record in 11 games. In those games, he’s thrown over 67 innings and given up 23 earned runs and issued 26 walks. He’s also held opponents to a .232 average.
The Braves will chase their 12th-straight victory against the Nationals in Washington on Tuesday night against Gonzalez. First pitch from Nationals Park will be at 7:05 ET.