Washington — Chipper Jones has seen a lot in his 19 seasons with Atlanta. Even he hasn’t seen anything like what the Braves did Friday night.
Atlanta was down 9-0 after five innings with Washington Nationals star pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the mound. The Braves came back to take the lead in the top of the ninth, and after the Nationals tied it Atlanta pulled out a wild 11-10 win on Paul Janish’s run-scoring bloop single in the 11th.
“I don’t even know where to start,” said Jones, who drove in two runs with a single in the Braves’ four-run eighth inning. “I still can’t believe it. I mean, 9-0. That’s never happened to me since I’ve been here.”
In the top of the 11th, Dan Uggla led off with a single against Tom Gorzelanny (2-2), advanced to second on Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error and then went to third on a passed ball before scoring on Janish’s bloop that just barely fell in past shortstop Ian Desmond’s outstretched glove.
“A really crazy game, but it counts, right?” Janish said. “All that matters is that we end up with one more than them, so it worked out.”
It was the Braves’ largest comeback since 1987 and left them 21/2 games back of the Nationals in the National League East. The teams will play three more games this weekend, including a doubleheader Saturday.
“It’s a big series, and there’s no way we were just going to go down without a fight,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
The nine-run lead was the largest ever given up by the Nationals franchise, including the games played as the Montreal Expos.
“Arguably the worst game I’ve ever managed in my life,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “I’ve never lost a nine-run lead when it was my part of the game to handle the pitching and it’ll be hard for me to sleep. I had a worse night than the guys did.”