"I think it was just ball four," Gonzalez said. "Really all he did was slam the bat and broke it. He never said a word to Tim. ... I was trying to get out there and keep [Freeman] in the game. I came up short. I said what I said. They could play the game without the manager, but it's hard to play the game without your three-hole hitter."
Now 4 1/2 games behind the Pirates in the battle for the National League's second Wild Card spot, the Braves know they can't continue to squander opportunities like the one Freeman gained after Andrelton Simmons had doubled with one out in the sixth.
Nor could they afford to lose Freeman, who has batted .470 (31-for-66) against the Nationals this season.
"I didn't say a word, not even, 'Are you serious, Tim?' Or anything like that," Freeman said."Not a word came out of my mouth. He's usually pretty good about that stuff. But he had a quick one tonight. I guess I shouldn't have slammed my bat."
After getting tossed, Freeman and Gonzalez watched the remainder of the game together in the clubhouse.
"I've never really heard [Gonzalez] in the game like that," Freeman said. "He was rooting for the players. It was kind of cool to see. It's nice to see he has our back. Even though he's not managing the game up in the dugout, he's still fighting for everybody."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.