ATLANTA — They shuffled into the visitors’ clubhouse at Turner Field with upbeat voices and smiles for those they saw along the way, even if their eyes revealed their fatigue.
About nine hours after the Washington Nationals’ beat the Atlanta Braves in a 15-inning game that lasted five hours and 29 minutes, the teams were back inside the confines of the clubhouses to begin the process of readying for Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. game.
Manager Davey Johnson smiled as he walked toward his office, a plate of breakfast in his hands. Asked how he was feeling, the manager, who was ejected more than four hours before the game actually ended, laughed.
“Well rested,” he said.
Nationals players didn’t have to arrive until 11:30, but most were there well before that. Bench coach Randy Knorr, who managed the Nationals’ final 14 innings, was walking the steps in the Turner Field seats before 10 a.m. A Braves player returned to the field in Saturday’s street clothes, having decided to stay in town with a teammate rather than drive the 40 minutes home to the suburbs.
The gray, overcast skies that threatened to bring rain right around game time matched the sleepy atmosphere, though on the Nationals’ side it was sleepy, but content.
“Five-hour games are fine when you win them,” right-hander Dan Haren had said around 1 a.m. “But when you lose them, they really stink.”
There was still business to take care of, though.
The Braves put together a lineup that included few regulars, with Freddie Freeman, Chris Johnson and B.J. Upton the starters anchoring them.
Jayson Werth’s back, which stiffened up on him in Saturday’s game and was the reason for him being removed in the eighth inning, was still stiff and sore but he said he’d try to play. Bryce Harper — who was out of Saturday’s lineup with a sore left triceps, the result of being hit with a pitch, but entered in the ninth inning and played the remainder of the game — said he felt OK.
Ultimately, Ryan Zimmerman, who fouled a ball off his left shin early in Saturday’s game but stayed in for all 15 innings, joined Wilson Ramos as the only regulars not in the Nationals’ lineup.
“I was ready for 15 or 20 innings,” said Ramos, who played the whole game despite still recovering from a tweaked left hamstring. “Right now, I feel a little bit tired. That happens. You play 15 inings like that you don’t feel tired in the moment. You feel tired the next day.”
Asked if he thought he might need Monday off as well, Ramos just gave an incredulous look.
“If they need me today, I will be ready,” he said.
Here are the full lineups as the Nationals look to win the series with Gio Gonzalez on the mound:
Denard Span CF
Anthony Rendon 2B
Bryce Harper LF
Jayson Werth RF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Ian Desmond SS
Chad Tracy 3B
Kurt Suzuki C
Gio Gonzalez P
B.J. Upton CF
Phillip Gosselin 2B
Freddie Freeman 1B
Evan Gattis LF
Chris Johnson 3B
Gerald Laird C
Joey Terdoslavich RF
Paul Janish SS
Julio Teheran P