for this game

Ankiel's homer lifts Nationals over Braves

Apr 3, 2011 - 12:57 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Rick Ankiel hit a two-run homer in the third inning, as the Washington Nationals built an early lead before taking a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Ankiel also drove in a run with a squeeze bunt, while Jayson Werth had a big day in his second game with the club. The free agent signee went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a walk for the Nationals, who dropped the season opener on Thursday and will close the three-game set on Sunday.

Saturday's game was twice delayed by weather, totaling nearly an hour and a half.

Nationals starter John Lannan (1-0) got the win after limiting Atlanta to one run on five hits and a walk in five innings. Wilson Ramos added three hits for Washington.

Tommy Hanson (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs -- three earned -- in 3 2/3 innings.

"I think the biggest thing for me to take away from this is I was inconsistent," Hanson said. "I wasn't consistently throwing strikes and wasn't consistently in command."

Dan Uggla hit his first homer for Atlanta, which acquired him from Florida in November and signed him to a contract extension in January. Alex Gonzalez added a solo shot in the loss.

Danny Espinosa's sacrifice fly in the second got Washington on the board, and Atlanta evened the game in the third on Chipper Jones's RBI single.

But the Nationals took control in the bottom half, which Werth began with a double. After Ryan Zimmerman was hit by a pitch, Werth advanced to third on Adam LaRoche's fly out.

The move paid off during the next at-bat, when Mike Morse flied out to right to score Werth, and Ankiel followed by slamming a pitch to right, making it a 4-1 game.

The contest was delayed in the bottom of the fourth, when wind picked up and hail began to fall. But after almost an hour, the game resumed and Cristhian Martinez replaced Hanson.

Uggla began the sixth with a homer off Chad Gaudin, and later in the inning, the Braves had runners on second and third with one away. However, Tyler Clippard came in to get the final two outs, then pitched a scoreless seventh.

Washington made it a 5-2 game in the bottom portion, when Ankiel came up with runners on the corners and bunted to get Zimmerman home.

"We really wanted to get that game," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "We got a lead. You really want to get that game so your guys can start feeling like we can play with these other teams."

Gonzalez reached down for a low pitch from Drew Storen and pulled it over the left field fence in the eighth, again bringing the Braves within two. But Storen struck out the next batter, and Sean Burnett got the final out of the inning before working a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Nationals got their final run in the home eighth, when Jones deflected Zimmerman's hard-hit grounder into foul territory, allowing Ian Desmond to race in.

Game Notes

Jones finished with two hits, increasing his career total to 2,494...Gonzalez led Atlanta with three hits, while Freddie Freeman added two, including a double...Zimmerman ended 2-for-3 with a triple and walk for the Nationals, who went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 10 on base.

  • ATLANTA: 3

    Apr 2 5:29 PM

  • Ryan Zimmerman infield single off third scored Ian Desmond. Runners on first and second with two outs and Adam LaRoche due up.

    Braves 3, Nationals 6  Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 2 5:17 PM

  • Alex Gonzalez one-out, solo Home Run (1) to left. Freddie Freeman due up.

    Braves 3, Nationals 5  Top 8, 1 OutApr 2 4:59 PM

  • Rick Ankiel suicide squeeze bunt to pitcher scored Ryan Zimmerman. Runner on second with two outs and Danny Espinosa due up.

    Braves 2, Nationals 5  Bot 7, 2 OutsApr 2 4:52 PM

  • Dan Uggla lead-off Home Run (1) to left. Jason Heyward due up.

    Braves 2, Nationals 4  Top 6, 0 OutsApr 2 4:05 PM
  • 98
    RUWTbot Added 49 roots

    Braves 1, Nationals 4  Mid 5Apr 2 3:56 PM
  • 44
    Steven Powers Added 5 roots

    Braves 1, Nationals 4  Top 4, 1 OutApr 2 2:41 PM

  • Rick Ankiel two-out, two-run Home Run (1) to right scored Ryan Zimmerman. Danny Espinosa due up.

    Braves 1, Nationals 4  Bot 3, 2 OutsApr 2 2:35 PM

  • Chipper Jones singled to center scored Nate McLouth with one out. Runner on first and Brian McCann due up.

    Braves 1, Nationals 1  Top 3, 1 OutApr 2 2:22 PM

  • Danny Espinosa sacrifice fly out to center scored Mike Morse with two out. Wilson Ramos due up.

    Braves 0, Nationals 1  Bot 2, 2 OutsApr 2 2:09 PM
  • 39
    Josh Kennedy Added 5 roots

    Braves 0, Nationals 0  Bot 1, 1 OutApr 2 1:46 PM
  • 34
    Randy Massengale Added 5 roots

    Braves 0, Nationals 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsApr 2 1:44 PM

  • Martin Prado grounded out second to first. None on with one out and Nate McLouth due up.

    Apr 2 1:38 PM
  • 19
    AlFitz614 Added 5 roots

    Braves vs. NationalsApr 2 12:58 PM
  • 14
    RUWTbot Added 14 roots

    Braves vs. NationalsMar 31 2:29 PM