for this game

Ankiel homers twice, Nationals edge Braves

Aug 2, 2011 - 5:43 AM Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Rick Ankiel smacked two home runs as the Washington Nationals took down the Atlanta Braves, 5-3, in the opener of a three-game series.

Livan Hernandez (6-10) threw six strong innings, allowing one run on six hits and no walks while striking out three in his first win since June 26.

Drew Storen worked his way out of trouble in the ninth to earn his 27th save of the year and give the Nationals their third straight victory.

Michael Bourn, traded from the Astros to the Braves on Sunday, led off the first game with his new club with a single. But the center fielder did not record another hit and ended 1-for-4 at the plate.

Dan Uggla also went deep twice as the Braves lost for the third time in five games.

Jair Jurrjens (12-4) allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks through five-plus innings to take his first loss since June 14.

"On any given night we can go out and beat any given pitch. It just happened to be [Jurrjens] tonight," Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth said.

Storen got the first out in the ninth on one pitch, but then hung a 2-2 slider to Uggla, who belted it over the left-field fence. Jason Heyward followed with a single to bring the tying run to the plate, but Storen fanned David Ross on a 96 m.p.h. fastball and induced a groundout to third by Alex Gonzalez to end the game.

Washington took an early lead when Ankiel led off the bottom of the first with a homer to center field.

Atlanta answered in turn with an Uggla leadoff home run in the second.

"I'm just going up there and grinding," Uggla said. "I'm just trying to take good swings on pitches in the zone."

Werth started the home half of the second with a double into the left-field corner, moved to third on a groundout by Laynce Nix and came home on a Hernandez single through the right side of the infield. Wilson Ramos was intentionally walked with two outs prior to Hernandez's base hit.

A wild pitch by Jurrjens moved the runners to second and third, but Ankiel grounded out to first to end the inning and keep it a 2-1 game.

Heyward was hit by a pitch after back-to-back one-out singles by Freddie Freeman and Uggla in the fourth, loading the bases. Ross came up next and grounded into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.

Ankiel then extended the Nationals' lead in the fifth when he hammered his second solo shot of the night, this one a bomb into the upper deck in right field.

Michael Morse started the sixth with a single and Werth followed with a walk before Nix lined a base hit up the middle, scoring Morse and knocking Jurrjens off the mound.

Anthony Varvaro came in and got Ian Desmond to hit a grounder to short. Gonzalez moved to his right to field the ball and, while turning, threw to Uggla for the force at second. Uggla had to avoid a slide by Nix at the bag, and jumped while making a throw to first. It sailed way over Freeman's head and landed a few rows deep in the stands, allowing Werth to cross the plate and give the Nats a 5-1 lead.

The Braves added a run in the seventh on Ross' solo home run into the left- field bleachers off Todd Coffey.

Game Notes

Atlanta placed pitcher Scott Linebrink on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game...Jurrjens hit eighth in the lineup. It was the first time in the Atlanta era that a pitcher batted anywhere but ninth. The last time in the Braves' franchise history it occurred was when Jim Tobin batted eighth for the Boston Braves on August 12, 1941...Uggla's home run in the second inning extended his hit streak to 23 games...Freeman extended his career-best hit streak to 16 games...Ryan Zimmerman extended his hit streak to 10 games, giving him 11 double-digit hit streaks in his career.