Washington – From 3 ½ games back in the standings, and nine runs down against Stephen Strasburg Friday night, the Braves came within striking distance of first place in the National League East.
They led the Nationals for 13 innings of a day-night doubleheader Saturday and stood just 12 outs from a sweep which would have brought them within one-half game of the lead heading into Sunday’s series finale.
But the Nationals chipped away at Randall Delgado and a depleted Braves bullpen, and the Braves offense shut down after the third inning in a sloppy end to a long rain-soaked day. The Nationals split the doubleheader split with a 5-2 win in the nightcap after the Braves had won the afternoon game 4-0 on the strength of six more shutout innings from Ben Sheets.
“We got off to the start we wanted to in the second game and just stopped,” said Chipper Jones, who surpassed 1,600 career RBIs with a pinch-hit two-run homer in the first game and an RBI double in the second.