Thru 6: Braves lead, tempers flare

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Things have gotten a little testy here at Turner Field, where the Braves have taken a 4-3 lead with a three-run fourth off John Lannan.

It began in the top of the fourth, when Lastings Milledge was called out on a borderline check swing. Milledge slammed his bat and helmet to the ground and said a few unprintable words, leading to plate umpire Chuck Meriwether issuing a warning to the Nats center fielder. Manny Acta had to come out of the dugout to settle things down.

In the bottom of the inning, Lannan had some issues with a bang-bang play at first and said a few things to umpire Eric Cooper. That again brought Acta out of the dugout. One more close play and Acta was out again, an unusual scene for the Nats mild-mannered manager.

All of it seemed to affect Lannan, who allowed those three runs right after the incidents, though he settled down after that and completed the fifth and sixth without any trouble.

The Nats’ bats cooled off against Kenshin Kawakami, who has now been lifted after allowing three runs and four hits in six innings, walking four and striking out eight. Washington will attempt to rally against Atlanta’s much-maligned bullpen.

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Mark Zuckerman

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