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Desmond's homer lifts Nationals over Braves

Apr 6, 2014 - 11:31 PM Washington, DC ( - Ian Desmond led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a tiebreaking home run to help the Washington Nationals avoid a three-game sweep with a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday at Nationals Park.

With the game tied 1-1 in the seventh, Desmond jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Atlanta starter Alex Wood and sent it deep into the seats in left field to break the deadlock.

"That was probably the worst pitch I threw all day and he made me pay," Wood said of the pitch Desmond drove over the left-field wall.

Jerry Blevins (1-0), who picked up the final two outs in the seventh in relief of starter Taylor Jordan, then got Freddie Freeman to fly out to start the eighth before Tyler Clippard retired the next two Braves in order to maintain Washington's one-run edge.

Atlanta made things interesting with a pair of two-out singles in the ninth against Rafael Soriano, but the Washington closer responded by striking out Jason Heyward to secure his first save the season.

Anthony Rendon registered one of Washington's four hits and scored the team's other run, while Jordan allowed just one run on six hits and two walks over 6 1/3 innings of work.

"I'm impressed with the way he went about it," Washington manager Matt Williams said of Jordan's effort. "He got into a couple of jams, but used his sinker to get out of it."

Wood (1-1), meanwhile, was charged for two runs on four hits with four strikeouts over seven strong frames in the loss. Dan Uggla drove in the lone run for the Braves, who had won four straight.

Washington pushed a run across against Wood in its first turn at-bat, as Rendon and Kevin Frandsen opened the frame with consecutive singles.

Jayson Werth followed with a bouncer back up the middle that Uggla fielded with his backhand on the shortstop side of second base. However, Uggla's off- balance throw short-hopped Freeman at first and trickled toward the outfield, allowing Rendon to race home for a 1-0 lead.

After Adam LaRoche flied out to left, Desmond slapped a slow roller down the third-base line that Chris Johnson barehanded before firing to first to retire Desmond. Williams came out of the Washington dugout to challenge the call, but after video review, the umpires ruled the throw beat Desmond.

Wood induced a soft groundout from Danny Espinosa to escape the frame with runners on second and third.

Atlanta, meanwhile, stranded runners on first and second in the second and then left the bases loaded in the fourth before finally breaking through in the sixth.

Freeman started the frame with a single and moved to third on Johnson's double into the left-field corner before scoring two batters later on Uggla's sacrifice fly to the warning track in left-center field.

Game Notes

Atlanta hasn't given up more than two runs in any game this season ... Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was held out of the starting lineup after leaving Saturday's tilt due to pain in his right shoulder. He struck out in a pinch-hit appearance ... Prior to the game, the Nationals placed outfielder Scott Hairston on the 15-day disabled list and recalled infielder/outfielder Tyler Moore from Triple-A Syracuse ... Atlanta will open its home slate on Tuesday when it starts a three-game set with the Mets ... The Nationals begin a three-game home set against the Marlins on Tuesday ... Atlanta went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.