Braves' swoon now sits at five straight
by Charles Odum
Associated Press Sports Writer
May 26, 2012 12:41 AM | 1020 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Neither Matt Diaz (23) nor Michael Bourn could catch up to a fly ball off the bat of the Nationals’ Rick Ankiel, who made it around for a two-run triple in the first inning of Friday’s game. 
<BR>Associated Press photo
Neither Matt Diaz (23) nor Michael Bourn could catch up to a fly ball off the bat of the Nationals’ Rick Ankiel, who made it around for a two-run triple in the first inning of Friday’s game.
Associated Press photo
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ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves’ injury list and losing streak keep growing.

Rick Ankiel hit a two-run triple in Washington’s four-run first inning, Ryan Zimmerman padded the lead with a three-run double in the seventh and the first-place Nationals beat the slumping Atlanta Braves 7-4 Friday night.

After the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Chipper Jones will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left leg.

Gonzalez said the team has to make the move because it needs the roster spot to call up a catcher. Backup catcher David Ross left the game in the second inning with a right groin strain.

Brian McCann, who missed his fourth straight start with flulike symptoms, took over for Ross.

“He barely made it through the game,” Gonzalez said of McCann.

Gonzalez said Ross will be checked again today but is not expected to be placed on the disabled list.

Jason Heyward homered in the eighth, Martin Prado had two doubles and a triple and Matt Diaz drove in three runs with two hits for the Braves. Atlanta has lost five straight, its longest skid of the season.

Jones missed his seventh straight start with swelling and discoloration in his left foot, ankle and calf. He was hit by a grounder May 18 at Tampa Bay.

“It’s not getting better and we’re starting to play a little short-handed,” Gonzalez said, adding he has been told Jones will need the full two weeks before he can play.

Jones walked in one pinch-hit appearance Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Prado, the normal starter in left field, started at third base against left-hander Ross Detwiler. Juan Francisco is another option at third base while Jones is out.

“That’s a tough loss, but we’ve got to move on,” Prado said of Jones’ move to the DL. “We knew we’d be having some rough times in the season. I’d rather be having those moments now than at the end of the season.”

Ross grimaced when he strained the groin as he jumped to avoid ball four from Detwiler in the second inning.

Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (1-0) won in his season debut. He gave up one run in three innings after taking over for Ross Detwiler in the fifth.

The Nationals moved two games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.

Ian Desmond had a two-run single in the Nationals’ first inning. The Braves cut the lead to 4-3 before Zimmerman’s bases-loaded double off Tim Hudson in the seventh.

Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his second save.

Wang entered the game after Prado doubled and Detwiler walked Dan Uggla with one out. Wang gave up a two-run double to Diaz, who was thrown out going for a triple.

A left hamstring injury in spring training kept Wang out this season before he came off the disabled list Tuesday.

Washington manager Davey Johnson may not consider moving Wang back into the Detwiler’s spot in the rotation.

Detwiler, who gave up three runs on five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings after being spotted a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

“I was a little disappointed in Detwiler that he didn’t take charge and go after them,” Johnson said.

Asked if Detwiler’s inability to last five innings and Wang’s strong showing could lead to consider a change in the rotation, Johnson said “Yes and no.”

Johnson said he doesn’t make those decisions “in the heat of the moment.”

Johnson said Detwiler “has been outstanding all year long.” He said the decision to take Detwiler out of the game with one out in the fifth “was especially difficult for me.”

The Nationals took a 4-0 lead off Hudson (3-2) in the first. Desmond’s bouncing single up the middle drove in Bryce Harper, who singled, and Zimmerman, who doubled. Hudson hit Danny Espinosa with a pitch before giving up Ankiel’s two-run triple to left-center.

Hudson recovered with five scoreless innings. He retired the first two batters in the seventh before walking Wang, giving up a double to Steve Lombardozzi and a walk to Harper. Zimmerman’s three-run double to center field gave the Nationals a 7-3 lead and knocked Hudson out of the game.

Hudson gave up a season-high seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. The four runs he allowed in the first inning topped the three he gave up in his previous three starts.

“I just didn’t hold up my end of the bargain,” Hudson said. “We should have won the ballgame. Four runs, we should win.”

NOTES: OF Michael Morse, who has missed the first two months with an injured back muscle, is playing in extended spring training and is expected to begin a rehab stint at Class A Potomac on Monday. ... 1B Freddie Freeman, wearing new contact lenses, was back in the lineup. He missed Thursday’s game at Cincinnati due to vision problems caused by dryness in his eyes while wearing contacts. He also was fitted for new sports glasses Friday. ... Nationals ace RHP Stephen Strasburg will face Braves struggling LHP Mike Minor when the series continues today. Scotty McCreery, the 2011 “American Idol” winner, will have a postgame concert.

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