Thru 4 1/2: Tied 1-1

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Give the Nationals and Braves credit. This game may not count for anything now that the Rockies have clinched the NL wild-card, but both teams are giving full effort so far tonight. The result is a crisp, 1-1 ballgame through the midway point of the proceedings.

Ryan Zimmerman drove in the Nats’ lone run, absolutely crushing a pitch from Rookie of the Year candidate Tommy Hanson off the wall in right-center to score Willie Harris from second. When Zim is on, there are few right-handed hitters in baseball who can drive the ball to right-center the way he does. It’s yet another sign of his progression this season and his chances of being a truly top-notch hitter throughout his career.

Meanwhile, Garrett Mock is turning in one of his better pitching performances to date. The enigmatic right-hander put seven Braves on base in the first three innings but allowed only one to score: Nate McLouth, who clubbed a leadoff homer in the third. Mock has made the pitches when he’s needed to, though with a pitch count already at 71, he may not have more than two innings max left in him tonight.

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Mark Zuckerman

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