October 21, 2020

Washington Nationals Game 142 Review: Nationals Out-Duel Braves in Victory

DOUG FISTER PITCHES SEVEN STRONG AS NATS TOP BRAVES

In front of 25,000-plus fans filled with “Natitude,” the Washington Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 2-1 to reduce their magic number to 12.

The Nationals gave Doug Fister an early run, and in return he gave them a seven-inning gem that earned him his 13th win of the year.

Washington broke the scoreless tie right off the bat in the bottom of the first inning. After Anthony Rendon (1-for-3, RBI) singled and was moved to third on a two-out infield single by Adam LaRoche (2-for-4), Ian Desmond (1-for-4, RBI) recorded his team-leading 82nd RBI of the year as he singled home Rendon.

While it was just a run, it was more than enough for Fister to feel comfortable on the mound.

After giving one hit in the first and second innings, the Nationals’ right-hander hitless for the remainder of his outing. In fact, Atlanta didn’t start knocking on the door until the seventh inning, where Fister had his finest moment.

To start off the inning, Freddie Freeman walked. Two batters later, Tommy La Stella also drew a walk to put runners at first and second with two outs. Manager Matt Williams then headed out in what appeared to be a move to sub his pitcher, but Fister waved him off, assuring him he could get the final out of the inning.

Andrelton Simmons then came to the dish for the Braves and quickly fouled off the first two pitches Fister tossed. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Simmons grounded into a fielders choice to end the threat, inning and Fister’s outing.

Over seven scoreless innings, the Nationals starter gave up just two hits, three walks and struck out three.

In the bottom of the seventh, Washington struck again thanks in large part to the base running of catcher Wilson Ramos (1-for-3).

After singling to leadoff the inning, Ramos went from first-to-third on a double by Asdrubal Crabrera (1-for-3). With the bases loaded and Jeff Kobernus (0-0) pinch-running for Ramos, Rendon grounded out to the pitcher for a fielders choice. Atlanta tried to turn the double and end the inning, but Rendon beat the throw to first, allowing Kobernus to score from third.

Pitching in relief for Fister, Tyler Clipper gave up a double and a walk to Ryan Doumit and Jason Heyward respectively, but bookend those two plays with strikeouts. Matt Thornton the relieved Clippard with a man on third, but gave up single to Freeman to score the Braves’ lone run. Craig Stammen entered and got Justin Upton to pop out to end the eighth inning.

Just like he was Sunday, Drew Storen was masterful in the closer role for Washington. He needed 19 pitches, but tossed a perfect ninth inning, striking out all three batters he faced to earn his second consecutive save and third of the season.

The Nationals magic number has been reduced to 12 with the win. On Tuesday, they’ll send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound to toe the rubber against the Braves’ Ervin Santana. First pitch from Nationals Park is set for 7:05 PM EST.

Game Notes

With the win, the Nationals’ winningest pitcher this year drops his ERA to 2.53. While Doug Fister may be the newest member of their staff, there’s no questioning the fact that he’s been the best.

The Braves’ eighth inning running, their only tally of the ball game, was credited to Tyler Clippard. While it was Matt Thornton that was on the mound when the run scored, Clippard allowed the runner to reach base.

To his credit, Mike Minor pitched a dandy of a ballgame for the Braves. Over six innings, he gave up seven hits, two earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts. On this night, however, Fister was just that much better and picked up the “W.”

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Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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