- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2015

Doug Fister provided the latest chapter in a dominant stretch by Washington Nationals starting pitchers on Thursday, throwing seven scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

With the win, the Nationals have now swept consecutive series and won six in a row overall. They lead the National League East by 3 1/2 games.

THE RUNDOWN:The Nationals‘ rotation has been spectacular over the past week, but the lineup has also done its part by not just scoring runs, but scoring them early. That proved true again Thursday, when Denard Span hit a leadoff single to right field and advanced to second after Nick Markakis bobbled the ball, his first error in 398 games. Danny Espinosa laid down a bunt, allowing Span to move to third, and a groundout to the right side by Yunel Escobar brought him home. The Nationals tacked on two more runs in the second inning and three in the third, putting the game well out of reach with Fister on the mound.

THE HIGHLIGHT: Ian Desmond was the hero Wednesday night, lifting a sacrifice fly to left field in the 11th inning to bring home the decisive run. But entering Thursday’s series finale, he had not recorded an extra-base hit in more than two weeks, a drought dating to June 7 against the Chicago Cubs. That changed in the third inning, when the slumping shortstop hit a 1-2 pitch from Matt Wisler over the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field. He went 50 at-bats between extra-base hits.

STAR OF THE GAME: In his second start since returning from the disabled list, Fister was in complete control. He allowed only four hits and walked one batter over seven scoreless innings, keeping alive an incredible streak by Nationals starters over the past week. The streak began Friday with rookie Joe Ross, who has since been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, and it has carried through a full turn of the rotation. Washington’s starters have now pitched 41 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest such stretch in franchise history and the longest in the majors since 2008.

THE TAKEAWAY: It’s amazing how the dynamics of this so-called rivalry between the Braves and Nationals have shifted over the past year. Not too long ago, the Braves were celebrating a National League East title while the Nationals frantically (and unsuccessfully) pushed for a Wild Card spot in the 2013 playoffs. Since then, the series has been all Washington, particularly this season. The Nationals have not lost to Atlanta since Dan Uggla hit a memorable go-ahead three-run home run there April 28. They have now won eight in a row against the Braves and outscored them 64-40 during that stretch.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide