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Bullpen Gives up Four Runs, Atlanta Braves Lose Sixth Straight

May 26th, 2012 at 10:26 PM
By Cody Fields

Earlier in the week, it seemed the Atlanta Braves could not get back to Turner Field quickly enough. Now that they have arrived, the Washington Nationals started beating up on their injury-riddled lineup and bullpen, downing the Braves 8-4 Saturday afternoon.

With Chipper Jones, Freddie Freeman, David Ross and Brian McCann injured or ill, it just seemed fitting that Kris Medlen and Jonny Venters would give up more costly runs in critical situations.

The Braves offense finally woke up enough to come back from an early four-run deficit on Stephen Strasburg, but Medlen gave up three extra-base hits and two runs in the sixth inning to give the Nationals a series win and a wider lead in the National League East.

Dan Uggla tied the game at 4 with a two-run homer in the fifth inning, but Medlen, in relief of Minor, gave the game back to the bad guys. Ian Desmond started the inning with a double and was driven in by an RBI-double off the bat of Chad Tracy. Rick Ankiel would hit a two-out RBI-triple over Michael Bourn on a potentially catchable flyball.

After starting the year by allowing one run in his first nine innings, Medlen has now given up five hits and three runs in his last 1 2/3 innings.

At least Medlen's struggles have been over a couple of appearances, in contrast to Venters, who cannot wait to get out of May. Venters saw his troubles continue in the seventh inning when Bryce Harper hit an two-run opposite field home run. Venters has given up six homers in his career, and half of them have come in the last two weeks.

In his 11 May appearances, Venters has struggled to post a 7.27 ERA

Mike Minor also had troubles early on when he gave up a three-run homer to Danny Espinosa. Compounding the problem was the fact that he gave up two-out singles to Jesus Flores and Strasburg.

The homer was the 14th Minor has given up in seven starts. His ERA over his last six starts is a whopping 9.94.

The Braves' six-game skid is their longest since April 2010, when they lost nine straight games. They have dropped to three games back of the first-place Nationals and sit in fourth place in the NL East in a crowded division.

Freeman was once again scratched from the lineup with his dry eye problem. Eric Hinske played in his stead and batted fifth. With Ross hurt and McCann still sick, J.C. Boscan played his fifth Major League game, going 1-for-4 with his first career RBI.

With a primetime pitching matchup, Brandon Beachy (5-2) will look to mercifully snap the losing streak against Gio Gonzalez (6-1) at 8:05 on Sunday.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Brian McCann, Bryce Harper, Dan Uggla, David Ross, Freddie Freeman, J.C. Boscan, Jonny Venters, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, MLB, Rick Ankiel, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

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