Bill Ladson

Ross, Nats pleased with return to mound

Out since early July, righty whiffs five in three innings

Ross, Nats pleased with return to mound

ATLANTA -- After missing more than two months because of right shoulder inflammation, Nationals right-hander Joe Ross was finally back on a Major League mound Sunday in a 6-2 loss to the Braves at Turner Field.

In his first game since July 2, Ross pitched his scheduled three innings and allowed one run on six hits and struck out five. The first inning was clearly his best. He struck out two in the inning and the last pitch -- a sinker -- to strike out Freddie Freeman was clocked at 95 mph.

The only run Ross allowed came on a Jace Peterson single in the second. The following inning, Ross found himself in a bases-loaded jam with no outs, but he prevented Atlanta from scoring. Matt Kemp flied out to Bryce Harper in right field, Nick Markakis struck out and Tyler Flowers popped up to second baseman Trea Turner to end the threat.

Ross fans Wisler to end the 2nd

"I was happy. I think I did well," Ross said. "I pitched myself into a jam and had to work my way out of it in the third. But I felt good. That's what I was mainly concerned with -- just feeling good out there and competing. I was hoping that I kept pitching, but it was probably best to keep me at three innings and move on to the next game."

Manager Dusty Baker was impressed with what he saw from Ross.

"I thought [Ross] was pretty good. We were contemplating taking him another inning, but we said, 'That's enough in his first time out,'" Baker said. "It's a welcome sight to see him back. … He looked sharp. His command was good. The Braves loaded up the lineup with left-handers and they found quite a few holes [for hits]."

Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.