for this game

Morse, Zimmerman power Nats to rout of Braves

Aug 31, 2011 - 3:48 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman each drove in three runs and finished a triple shy of the cycle as Washington crushed Atlanta, 9-2, in the opener of a three-game series from Turner Field.

Morse ended 3-for-5 with a homer and scored twice, while Zimmerman clubbed a three-run shot and scored three times for the Nationals, who snapped a six- game skid. Laynce Nix also contributed a two-run homer and Danny Espinosa posted a solo shot.

"Not at all," Zimmerman said when asked if he was thinking of hitting for the cycle. "Actually a triple wouldn't be good for me right now. I'm just happy I had a good one. I had a couple bad games in Cincinnati, got away from my usual approach for a few days. Tonight, I got back to simplifying everything and doing what I do."

Livan Hernandez (8-12) allowed five hits and two runs with three walks over seven innings to earn the win.

Jason Heyward drove in both runs for the Braves, who have lost three of four and slipped 7 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East after the Phillies won in Cincinnati.

Jair Jurrjens (13-6) was charged in the setback with six runs and eight hits over six full frames -- his third loss in four starts for the NL wild card leaders.

"Just a bad performance. I need to go back and try to get in the groove of things again and let it all go," Jurrjens said of his outing. "I just left a lot of pitches up and down the middle. I have no excuses. You still need to go out and perform, layoff or not, and I didn't today."

In the third, Zimmerman reached second when Braves catcher Brian McCann threw his two-out dribbler in front of the plate wild to firs. Zimmerman scored on a Morse double to the gap in left-center for a 2-1 game.

Hernandez doubled to start the fifth, Ian Desmond followed with a base hit and Zimmerman hit a one-out, three-run shot to make it 5-1.

Espinosa's leadoff shot in the following frame gave the visitors a five-run edge, and the Nats tacked on three more in the seventh on a Morse RBI single and two-run homer by Nix.

Alex Gonzalez doubled with one out in the home seventh and scored on Heyward's single, but that was all Atlanta had in its arsenal.

Tom Gorzelanny shut the door on the Braves in the final two frames.

Morse's leadoff shot to deep left in the second put the Nats on the board, and though Jurrjens allowed runners on the corners with one out, he worked out of the jam.

The Braves countered in the home half on Heyward's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded.

Game Notes

Hernandez reached the 50,000-pitch plateau early in the contest. He joins Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield as the only other active pitcher to reach the mark...Prior to the game, the Nationals announced that starter Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to return to the mound on September 6, but will make one more rehab start on Thursday to continue his recovery from Tommy John surgery...Jurrjens tied a career high by giving up three home runs in Tuesday's outing...Espinosa's homer was his 19th of the season, vaulting him over Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman for the NL rookie lead.

    ATLANTA: 2

    Aug 30 9:55 PM

  • Jason Heyward single to right scored Alex Gonzalez with one out. Runner on first with and Cristhian Martinez due up.

    Nationals 9, Braves 2  Bot 7, 1 OutAug 30 9:18 PM

  • Laynce Nix two-out, two-run Home Run (16) to right scored Michael Morse. Danny Espinosa due up.

    Nationals 9, Braves 1  Top 7, 2 OutsAug 30 9:09 PM

  • Michael Morse single to center scored Ryan Zimmerman with two outs. Runner on first and Laynce Nix due up.

    Nationals 7, Braves 1  Top 7, 2 OutsAug 30 9:09 PM

  • Danny Espinosa lead-off Home Run (19) to right center. Chris Marrero due up.

    Nationals 6, Braves 1  Top 6, 0 OutsAug 30 8:50 PM

  • Ryan Zimmerman one-out, three-run Home Run (10) to center scored Livan Hernandez and Ian Desmond. Michael Morse due up.

    Nationals 5, Braves 1  Top 5, 1 OutAug 30 8:39 PM
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    Nationals 5, Braves 1  Top 5, 1 OutAug 30 8:39 PM
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    Nationals 2, Braves 1  End 4Aug 30 8:28 PM
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    Nationals 2, Braves 1  Bot 4, 0 OutsAug 30 8:16 PM
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    Nationals 2, Braves 1  Top 4, 0 OutsAug 30 8:08 PM

  • Michael Morse doubled to center scored Ryan Zimmerman with two outs.. Runner on second and Laynce Nix due up.

    Nationals 2, Braves 1  Top 3, 2 OutsAug 30 7:57 PM
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    Nationals 1, Braves 1  Top 3, 2 OutsAug 30 7:52 PM

  • Jason Heyward sacrifice fly out to center scored Dan Uggla with two outs. On the play, Chipper Jones advances to third. Runners on first and third and Jair Jurrjens due up.

    Nationals 1, Braves 1  Bot 2, 2 OutsAug 30 7:45 PM

  • Michael Morse lead-off Home Run (23) to left. Laynce Nix due up.

    Nationals 1, Braves 0  Top 2, 0 OutsAug 30 7:25 PM

    ATLANTA: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Aug 30 7:12 PM
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    Nationals vs. BravesAug 30 7:30 AM
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    Nationals vs. BravesMar 31 2:29 PM