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Jon Lannan Too Much for Atlanta Braves as Washington Nationals Win 5-2

July 17th, 2011 at 3:00 PM
By Jonathan McCullough

The Atlanta Braves have always struggled against John Lannan.

Saturday night was no different.

Lannan got it done with his arm and his bat as the Washington Nationals won 5-2 over the Braves. Lannan, who has a 3.24 ERA in 13 career starts against the Braves, gave up only two runs and recorded four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of work. He even helped his own cause with two hits and two RBI.

Tommy Hanson had a rough outing in his first start after the All-Star break. After a stellar first half of the season, Hanson gave up five runs in 5 1/3 innings while recording eight strikeouts. After giving up three runs in the second inning, including a 2-run single by Lannan, Hanson settled down and was putting together a solid start before Wilson Ramos’ two-run homer in the sixth.

“I can’t just go out there and toy with those hitters,” Hanson said. “You can’t just go out and dominate every single time. They’re big-league hitters and you’ve just got to keep battling and try to make your pitches.”

Despite Hanson’s struggles, the Braves were never out of the game. After the Nationals scored three runs in the second, the Braves answered in the bottom half with a two-run homer by Alex Gonzalez.

Jordan Schafer led off the third inning with a gift-wrapped double on a weak fly ball that dropped into shallow left field. Schafer then committed a costly blunder on the bases when he was thrown out at third with no outs on a grounder to the shortstop.

After Ramos’ two-run homer in the top of the sixth, the Braves were threatening in the bottom half with two on and one out. However, Jason Heyward continued his struggles with a weak fly-out, and Alex Gonzalez grounded out to end the rally.

“Lannan pitched great tonight," Dan Uggla said. "He was getting ahead, mixing it up and throwing strikes. He was making the pitches when he needed to. It just didn't go our way tonight."

Uggla continued his hot hitting as of late with a single and two walks. Unfortunately, he and Gonzalez were the only hitters to mount any offense against Lannan.

“He did a nice job of getting out of some jams,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We had some chances and it just didn’t happen. We didn’t get the big knock. Tomorrow we have a chance to win the series and that’s what we always talk about.”

Jair Jurrjens (12-3, 1.87 ERA) will face Tom Gorzelanny (2-6, 3.94 ERA) in the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon at 1:35 EDT.

Tags: Alex Gonzalez, Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Dan Uggla, Fredi Gonzalez, John Lannan, MLB, Tommy Hanson, Wilson Ramos

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