a 2009 Atlanta Braves: Braves take advantage of struggling Nationals
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Braves sweep struggling Nationals


Atlanta has carried their hot hitting into their home opening series with the Washington Nationals. Atlanta has been making it look easy, scoring no fewer than 4 runs this season. Game 1 of the three game set saw Derek Lowe pitch well before being removed after a lengthy rain delay. Atlanta’s bullpen was shaky the rest of the game allowing four runs on 10 hits. Mike Gonzalez continued to struggle by blowing his first save of the season. Washington made it a close game but Yunel Escobar’s three-run home run in the 3rd inning proved to be the difference in a 6-5 Atlanta victory.

Kenshin Kawakami made his major league debut for Atlanta in game 2 of the series. Kawakami threw six strong innings of three run ball while striking out eight batters. Kelly Johnson continued his hot start by blasting a home run off Washington’s starter John Lannan in the 3rd inning. Lannan pitched a quality game, throwing six innings and allowing four runs on nine hits, but was tagged with the loss to drop his record to 0-2. Clutch hitting proved to be the deciding factor as Atlanta was 5-11 with runners in scoring position while Washington was just 1-5. Mike Gonzalez pitched a perfect 9th inning to notch the save in a 5-3 Braves victory.

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Atlanta Braves hats & merchandise The highlight of game three was easily Jeff Francoeur who would notch two triples in route to an 8-5 Atlanta victory. Jair Jurrjens had a quality start, going 5 and 1/3 innings allowing two runs on five hits. Washington’s starter Scott Olsen had a little more trouble. Olsen pitched five innings and allowed five earned runs on six hits. A bright spot for Washington was Elijah Dukes, who had two hits and drove in three runs to keep Washington in the game.

Next up for the Braves is a three game series in Atlanta with the Florida Marlins. Game one is set for Chris Volstad (1-0, 1.80) to take on Javier Vazquez (0-0,4.50). Game two has Andrew Miller (0-0, 3.86) facing Atlanta ace Derek Lowe (1-0, 0.82). The final game is scheduled to see Anibal Sanchez (0-0, 0.00) take on Kenshin Kawakami (1-0, 4.50). The Sanchez-Kawakami match up seems to be the best looking one at this stage of the season.



By Ben Burrows
Atlanta Braves Correspondent

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