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Washington Nationals Knock Around Jair Jurrjens, Split Series with Atlanta Braves

July 22nd, 2012 at 9:59 PM
By Cody Fields

After the Atlanta Braves came back in dramatic fashion to beat the Washington Nationals on Friday, they're back to where they were before the series began. The Nats shelled Jair Jurrjens en route to a 9-2 win Sunday at Nationals Park, salvaging a split after the Braves took the first two games.

Jurrjens struggled with putting batters away for the second straight start in which he allowed at least six runs. His performance of six runs over 2 1/3 innings followed his last start against the San Francisco Giants, when he gave up eight runs over 3 1/3 innings, leaving many contemplating Jurrjens' future with the Braves, particularly after he already spent two months back in Triple-A Gwinnett.

After his minor league stint, Jurrjens showed promise by going 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA over his first four starts, but in his last two has given up 14 earned runs on 17 hits in 5 2/3 innings, good for a 22.24 ERA.

Allowing nine hits over just 15 batters faced, Jurrjens gave up two home runs to Ryan Zimmerman, his first coming as part of a four-run first inning that also included an RBI-double by Danny Espinosa and an RBI-single from Roger Bernadina.

Zimmerman would lead off the third inning with a homer, and after another RBI-base hit by Espinosa, Jurrjens was headed for the showers.

Jurrjens struggled greatly with his command. His curveball was not effective and his fastball to lefties ran over the plate too much.

“It’s running back like a two-seamer and I’m trying to throw a four-seamer then,” Jurrjens said. “That’s something I need to go back and see if I’m dropping my arm slot again and try to get on top of it.”

With Jurrjens' performance being so shaky, Fredi Gonzalez would not say what any future plans for Jurrjens are. The Braves' schedule allows them to use four pitchers until July 31. They could use either Randall Delgado or a potentially traded-for pitcher by then.

"We've got time to talk about that," Gonzalez said. "I have not even thought about that right now."

The Braves offense only managed two runs, both in the sixth inning, off Nationals starter Ross Detwiler. After Martin Prado and Jason Heyward reached to begin the frame, Prado scored on a wild pitch, and Heyward was driven in by Freddie Freeman's groundout.

Atlanta's best chance to put together a rally, however, came in the fourth, when the Braves put together three straight singles to load the bases, but Brian McCann hit into a double play to kill the rally.

Dan Uggla struggled in the final three games of the series after tallying three hits on Friday. Since then, he has gone 0-for-9 with five strikeouts, two walks and a hit by pitch.

"Our chance to win the series was last night and we didn't get it done," Jones said. "Today was not good from pitch one. But we came in here, held our own and I thought we played well for the most part. We're right back to where we started."

After clawing their way to within 1 1/2 games after the first game of the doubleheader Saturday, the Braves have dropped two straight to split the series, putting them back to 3 1/2 back.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Jair Jurrjens, MLB, Ross Detwiler, Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

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