The Atlanta Braves fell short in their second opportunity to win their four-game series with the Washington Nationals and were forced to settle for a split. Their offensive struggles continued in the 3-1 loss at Turner Field.
Kris Medlen was solid over seven innings, giving up three runs over seven innings, but Dan Haren allowed one run over eight innings to send the Braves into their next series with the New York Mets on a losing note.
"We won the first two and had a chance to win the series," manager Fredi Gonzalez said on braves.com. "We pitched good enough to win the [final] two games. They pitched a little better."
Medlen struggled out of the gate when he allowed Denard Span to double and Steve Lombardozzi to drive him in with a single to start the game. But it was a Chris Johnson error in the second inning, which was later revised to a double, that really cost the Braves.
With runners on second and third with two outs, Johnson was playing in to cover any potential drag bunts by Span. Instead he got a grounder off the end Span's bat with awkward spin, causing the ball to completely avoid Johnson's glove and trickle into left field.
"I should have just backhanded the ball," Johnson said. "I tried to get in front of it, and I didn't have time, because I was playing in. It was just a bad error at a really bad time."
But Medlen put the loss on himself after the game.
"I'm tired of doing interviews postgame saying I just kept us in the game," Medlen said. "If I clean it up from the get-go, I don't give up any runs. I took what I was working with in between starts into the start, and I was sitting there trying to work on stuff in the middle of the game."
The only Braves run was off a solo homer by Dan Uggla with two outs in the seventh, and the only other hits Haren gave up were singles to Freddie Freeman and Evan Gattis in the fourth. The run broke a streak of 18 straight scoreless innings for the Braves, and Freeman's hit snapped an 0-for-35 skid for Braves position players.
The Braves now limp into their three-game series with the Mets on a two-game losing streak.
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