Wood struggles in blowout loss to Nationals
Apr. 30, 2015
ATLANTA (AP) — Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez suddenly has new areas of concern with his starting rotation.
One night after ace Julio Teheran was hit hard, Gonzalez watched No. 2 starter Alex Wood struggle to make it through five innings.
"It was a good first inning and then he just got into a lot of deep counts," Gonzalez said. "He battled. The Woody we love to see and the competitiveness was there. It was just a lot of pitches and a lot of deep counts."
Wood had gone 15 straight starts without allowing more than three earned runs, but his successful stretch ended Wednesday night in a 13-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Wood (1-1) allowed six hits and five runs, striking out eight in five innings. Most humbling was the three-run single allowed to Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann in the four-run fifth.
"Usually when I get that early lead, I thrive," Wood said. "When they got those runs, that was disappointing."
Zimmermann won for the first time in four starts and Denard Span, who had five hits the previous night, added a three-run homer in the ninth for Washington.
The Nationals banged out 15 hits again, giving them 30 hits and 26 runs scored over the last two games.
But the biggest swing in this one belonged to Zimmermann. In 264 career at-bats over seven seasons, he had just 12 RBIs, but his bases-loaded single gave Washington the lead for good.
With one swing, Zimmermann matched his RBI total from the previous two seasons.
"You get behind 3-0 (in the count) and you're just in a bad situation," Wood said. "You throw a fastball on 3-2. You play the odds and Zimmermann ended up getting a knock. Tip your cap to him."
On the mound, Zimmermann (2-2) gave up eight hits, one walk and four runs — three earned — with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
Washington has won two straight after dropping six in a row. Atlanta has lost seven of nine.
The Nationals cut the lead to 2-1 in the second on Wilson Ramos' RBI single, but they took a 5-3 lead in the fourth.
Bryce Harper doubled and scored from second when left fielder Kelly Johnson bobbled Ryan Zimmerman's single. After Danny Espinosa singled and Uggla walked, Zimmermann cleared the bases with a single into the gap in left-center.
Trevor Cahill replaced Wood, giving up Uggla's RBI groundout in the sixth and Jayson Werth's RBI single and Espinosa's two-run single in the seventh to make it 9-4.
In the ninth, Uggla had an RBI single and Span added his second homer, a three-run shot off John Cornely, who made his major league debut, to put the Nationals up 13-4.
The Braves went up 2-0 in the first on A.J. Pierzynski's two-run double and 3-1 in the third on Freddie Freeman's RBI single. Atlanta cut the lead to 5-4 in the fifth when Eric Young Jr. scored on Nick Markakis' double-play grounder.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer will to the rotation Friday at the New York Mets after missing his scheduled start Tuesday with a sprained right thumb. .. OF Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured left leg. Michael Taylor, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse earlier in the day, took his place on the roster. ... Manager Matt Williams said that 3B Anthony Rendon, on a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg, was out of the lineup for the fourth straight day with soreness in his side.
Braves: Gonzalez said Teheran is healthy after being asked about the pitcher's knee the night before. Teheran has allowed 12 earned runs in his last three starts, a span of 15 innings. Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell watched video Wednesday with Teheran to show the staff ace that he's been throwing his fastball less than 50 percent of the time — a trend Gonzalez wants to stop. ... Gonzalez said it's unlikely that Cahill, whose ERA swelled to 9.42 after he allowed four runs and six hits in two innings, will not make his scheduled start Friday.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2) is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA and has held the Mets to a .171 average in five career starts at Citi Field.
Braves: RHP Shelby Miller (3-0) has made six career starts against Cincinnati, going 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA.