Thursday, May 1, 2008
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WASHINGTON - The Atlanta Braves simply cannot win a one-run game.
Felipe Lopez's bases-loaded hit to left with no outs in the 12th lifted the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 victory over the Braves on Wednesday, dropping Atlanta to 0-9 in games decided by the slimmest possible margin.
The Braves are the first team since the 2000 Houston Astros to lose their first nine one-run games.
The Nationals, meanwhile, have their first three-game winning streak since opening the season 3-0. They fell behind 2-1 in the 12th on Mark Kotsay's RBI single off Saul Rivera (3-1), who nonetheless earned the win with two innings of relief.
The loss went to Manny Acosta (0-1), who came in to start the 10th. He loaded the bases in the 12th with no outs:
Austin Kearns walked, Willie Harris singled off first baseman Martin Prado's glove, and Wil Nieves laid down a sacrifice bunt that Acosta let get past him for a fielding error.
Acosta then walked pinch-hitter Ronnie Belliard to force in the tying run. Buddy Carlyle replaced Acosta and gave up Lopez's game-ender.
It was a tough way for Atlanta to have its first four-game losing streak since July 25-28.
Then again, Acosta barely got through the 10th, when the Nationals loaded the bases with one out with two four-pitch walks and a single. But Acosta got Lopez to ground into a 1-2-3 double play.
Starters Shawn Hill of Washington and Jair Jurrjens of Atlanta had nearly identical lines. Hill made his third start of the season and lasted more than five innings for the first time, giving up one run and four hits over eight innings. Jurrjens allowed one run and only two hits in his seven innings.