Uggla, Kimbrel in fine form in loss to Nats
Slugger doubles, drives in run; closer tosses shutout frame
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Jayson Werth homered and Gio Gonzalez produced three scoreless innings as the Nationals beat the Braves, 5-2, at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex on Tuesday afternoon.
Making his first start in a Nationals uniform, Gonzalez allowed one hit and issued a walk. The southpaw, who was acquired from the A's in January, left two runners stranded in the first inning and would have proven perfect in his final two innings had Ian Desmond not booted a grounder to begin the bottom of the third inning.
Werth's second-inning leadoff homer off Kris Medlen provided a spark for the Nationals, who did not allow Atlanta's top setup relievers to escape their respective Grapefruit League season debuts unscathed.
Chad Tracy hit a two-out, two-run double off Eric O'Flaherty in the third inning, and Mark DeRosa began the fourth inning with a solo homer off Jonny Venters. O'Flaherty ended the 2011 season with 19 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and Venters has allowed just three home runs in the 171 innings he has combined to pitch the past two years.
The Braves dented the scoreboard when Brian McCann and Dan Uggla began the bottom of the fourth inning with consecutive doubles off Yunesky Maya. Matt Diaz delivered a two-out RBI single in the sixth.
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel worked a scoreless fifth inning, with a walk and a strikeout.
Up next for Braves: Brandon Beachy will complete the first turn through Atlanta's rotation when he starts against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The game can be heard on Gameday Audio. Freddie Freeman is expected to start and remain in the game for at least three at-bats. Freeman returned to action on Tuesday, exactly one week after his right kneecap had briefly popped out of place.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.