Nationals starter cruises before allowing four runs in fourth, including consecutive dingers
By Carlos Collazo
ATLANTA -- Nationals right-hander Doug Fister cruised through his first three innings against the Braves on Wednesday night, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced.
Unfortuantely for Fister, the fourth inning came along, and with it came a barrage of Atlanta runs, thanks largely to back-to-back home runs from catcher A.J. Pierzynski and third baseman Juan Uribe, which led to a 4-1 loss.
"The Pierzynski home run, I'm pretty sure I left it over the plate," Fister said. "He was pretty much sitting on it, I think, and he got it. Tip my cap to him.
"Uribe's home run, I fell behind, 3-0, and I was trying to fight my way back with a fastball. It was kind of a challenge, and he won the challenge. Both those guys I've just got to tip my cap and go back to playing baseball."
The inning began with a leadoff single from Cameron Maybin, who then became the first baserunner to steal off of Fister since he joined the Nationals before the 2014 season.
Fister allowed five of his seven hits in the fourth inning, including opposing pitcher Matt Wisler's first career hit and RBI after intentionally walking left fielder Eury Perez.
"[Fister pitched] pretty good with the exception of that one inning," said Nationals manager Matt Williams. "But other than that, he pitched pretty well, kept us in the game."
Outside of the fourth inning, the Braves went just 2-for-16 against Fister, with two singles and a walk. But Fister's road record fell to 1-3, and his ERA away from Nationals Park climbed to 5.13.
"We were able to extend him into the sixth inning, so that's good," Williams said. "Just didn't have enough offense tonight to help him out."
The Nationals' potent offense fell short behind Fister, breaking an 11-game stretch in which the team scored multiple runs in every game.
But the 31-year-old took full credit for the loss after the fact: "Period, didn't get my job done. Didn't keep the other team [down], and that hurts."
Fister said after the game that he feels like he's in the right spot health-wise -- after dealing with a forearm injury earlier in the season -- and that he just needs to iron out the small issues that have crept up at times.
"Things are starting to get back to normal," he said. "It's just a matter of fine-tuning and getting back to the game plan. Little misses here and there, and that's what I've got to be a little better at."
Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.