Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was asked Friday afternoon about the New York Mets' six-run ninth-inning rally to beat St. Louis a day earlier, which cut a game off Atlanta's magic number to clinch the wild card.
"We've still got to go out and win ballgames ourselves," he said. "Not only to clinch the wild card, but to go into the postseason with some kind of momentum. We're playing good baseball. ... We just haven't been able to get the hit when we need it."
A few hours later, they got the big hit. Then another. And a couple of more.
The Braves scored three runs in the first inning against phenom Stephen Strasburg and rolled to a 7-4 win over Washington at Nationals Park.
"Huge," left fielder Martin Prado said after Atlanta reduced its wild-card-clinching magic number to three with five games left on the schedule. "Everybody was pumped up... Every at-bat, every game, every inning is huge from now on."
Dan Uggla had three hits and two RBIs for the Braves, who moved three games ahead of second-place St. Louis in the National League wild-card standings, after the Cardinals lost 5-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Friday.
Braves pitcher Tim Hudson (16-10) left the game in the sixth inning after cramping up, and went to a local hospital to receive fluids. Initially it appeared that Hudson strained his neck or shoulder, but the Braves said afterward that he just needed fluids and was otherwise fine.
Braves beat Nats' Strasburg, move closer to wild card
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Sep 24