Atlanta Braves fans may finally get off the case of B.J. Upton, who had a two-hit performance including a walk-off single in the 10th inning to give the Braves a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals Saturday night at Turner Field.
Upton was setup for his at-bat when Henry Rodriguez walked Evan Gattis to start the 10th inning. Gattis was pinch-run for by Jordan Schafer, who stole second. Rodriguez also walked Dan Uggla to put runners at first and second with one out.
Upton, who has been notoriously late with his swing while carrying a .145 average into Saturday, hit Rodriguez's 101 mile-per-hour heat into right field to seal the win for the Braves.
“Most importantly, we got a win,” Upton said on ajc.com. “We’ve had a couple of guys get big hits for us this year. I’m just glad that I was the one tonight.”
Craig Kimbrel did his own circus act by getting out of an enormous jam in the top of the ninth when Ryan Zimmerman flared a single and Adam LaRoche doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. Kimbrel reacted by striking out Ian Desmond and inducing a grounder from Roger Bernadina that allowed Chris Johnson to throw out Zimmerman at the plate before getting Danny Espinosa to fly out.
Kimbrel's outing gave him eight consecutive scoreless innings.
But none of that would have been possible if it weren't for a spectacular pitchers' duel between Tim Hudson and Gio Gonzalez.
Gonzalez had never completed more than five innings against the Braves, but he held them to one run on three hits in seven innings. The only run Atlanta scored off him came when they converted a lead-off walk by Uggla in the fourth into an RBI-groundout from Andrelton Simmons.
Hudson, meanwhile, completed a season-high 7 1/3 innings after being pelted for an 8.69 ERA over his last four starts.
Hudson retired the Nationals in order in four of his innings and retired eight of his first nine faced batters. The only run he gave up was unearned after Steve Lombardozzi reached on an error by Freddie Freeman. Lombardozzi hustled to third while moving on a full count grounder by Zimmerman, which allowed him to trot home by a single off the bat of Ian Desmond.
For reference, Fredi Gonzalez was ejected during Zimmerman's at-bat for arguing balls and strikes on a 2-2 pitch that was ruled a ball. Braves.com reports the Pitch F/X on MLB Gameday showed the pitch in the strike zone.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, B.J. Upton, Baseball, Craig Kimbrel, Fredi Gonzalez, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Schafer, MLB, Ryan Zimmerman, Tim Hudson, Washington Nationals