Gosselin's bases-clearing triple means win for Braves
Medlen fans three, paving the way for Atlanta's first spring victory
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Phil Gosselin foiled Matt Williams' defensive shift with a three-run triple in the eighth inning that gave the Braves a lead they wouldn't relinquish on their way to recording their first Grapefruit League win of the year with Tuesday's 8-4 victory over the Nationals at Champion Stadium.
With the bases loaded and one out, the Nationals brought in right fielder Steven Souza to serve as an extra infielder. Gosselin promptly drilled his game-winning triple off Luis Ayala to an abandoned right field.
The Nationals gained a two-run lead when Christian Bethancourt was unable to handle Dan Uggla's attempt to prevent Brian Goodwin from scoring on a double steal in the seventh inning. But the Braves erased the deficit when Andrelton Simmons hit a two-run double off Drew Storen in the bottom half of the inning.
Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg completed two scoreless innings in his Grapefruit League season debut. Justin Upton's one-out single in the second inning accounted for the only hit surrendered by Strasburg, who concluded his outing by getting Chris Johnson to ground into a double play.
Like Strasburg, Kris Medlen did not seem to alter his approach despite the fact that he was pitching against an opponent he will likely face many times during the regular season. Ian Desmond's one-out double in the first inning was the only hit Medlen surrendered in three scoreless innings.
Desmond highlighted a three-hit performance with a homer in the fifth inning off Cory Gearrin, who also allowed Washington to gain a brief lead with a two-run fourth inning. Singles by Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman helped the Nationals load the bases in the fourth before Gearrin recorded his first out courtesy of Adam LaRoche's RBI groundout.
The Braves quickly erased the deficit by scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth, which began with Taylor Jordan surrendering four straight hits. After B.J. Upton and Freddie Freeman singled, Evan Gattis laced a double down the left-field line. Freeman scored all the way from first base when Bryce Harper bobbled the ball in the corner.
Up next: Brandon Beachy will make his second start of the spring when the Braves travel to Clearwater, Fla., to play the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon. Beachy will be looking to further prove he has distanced himself from the elbow issues that limited him to five starts after he returned from Tommy John surgery last season. Freeman, Uggla, Simmons and Johnson are all scheduled to be in the lineup.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.