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Injury-depleted Nats try to salvage finale in Dixie
(SportsNetwork.com) - Aside from a pair of losses this weekend, the Washington Nationals have gotten off to a good start this season. Now, they'll have to overcome a rash of injuries.
Washington tries to avoid a three-game sweep in Atlanta Sunday and will play without third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and center fielder Denard Span. Zimmerman suffered a fractured right thumb in Saturday's 5-3 loss and is expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks, while Span was put on the 7-day disabled list before the game due to a concussion.
Zimmerman doubled with one out in the fifth inning, but was picked off at second. He was injured sliding back into the bag and left the game.
Anthony Rendon took Zimmerman's spot at third base, and Danny Espinosa entered the game at second.
Zimmerman was off to a good start in 2014, hitting .364 with two home runs and six RBI in 33 at-bats.
"These kind of things happen unfortunately," Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth said. "It's just been kind of a barrage in the first two weeks of the season."
Justin Upton had three hits for the second straight night and B.J. Upton went deep for the first time this season to highlight Atlanta's offensive output last night.
The Upton brothers went a combined 5-for-9 with three runs scored behind Alex Wood (2-1), who struck out eight and allowed just one run in five innings of work. Evan Gattis and Freddie Freeman had three hits apiece, with Freeman also going deep for Atlanta.
"It was a pretty weird game from a lot of aspects," Wood said. "Somehow I managed to get through five, don't ask me how."
Rendon led off the game with a home run for Washington, which hit just 1- for-16 with runners in scoring position. Starter Taylor Jordan (0-1) scattered five runs on 10 hits over five frames.
Washington turns to Gio Gonzalez on the mound Sunday. The left-hander has given up a total of six hits and one run over his first two starts of the season. On Tuesday, Gonzalez teamed up with four relievers on a four-hit shutout of the Marlins. He yielded just three singles and a pair of walks while striking out five.
Gonzalez is just 2-6 with a 4.88 ERA in nine career starts versus Atlanta.
Aaron Harang's ERA (0.71) is slightly better than Gonzalez's (0.75). Harang has given up just four hits and a run over his first two starts, although the 35- year-old righty is coming off a tough-luck loss to the Mets on Tuesday. That's when Harang surrendered only two hits and a run, but he did walk four batters against nine strikeouts.
Over his career, Harang is 1-4 with a 3.99 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals.
The Braves have won 20 of the last 28 games between the clubs.
04/13 08:41:51 ET