Nationals drop Braves as Chien-Ming Wang wins season debut

ATLANTA -- Davey Johnson was frustrated Ross Detwiler wasn't attacking Atlanta's hitters when given a four-run lead in the first inning.

Now the Washington Nationals manager has to decide if Detwiler will keep his spot in the rotation or if it will be time to give Chien-Ming Wang a chance.

Rick Ankiel hit a two-run triple in Washington's four-run first inning, Ryan Zimmerman padded the lead with a three-run double in the seventh, and the first-place Nationals beat the slumping Atlanta Braves 7-4 on Friday night.

Wang (1-0) won in his season debut. He gave up one run in three innings after taking over for Detwiler, who gave up three runs, five hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings.

"I was a little disappointed in Detwiler that he didn't take charge and go after them," Johnson said.

Asked if Detwiler's inability to last five innings and Wang's strong showing could lead him to consider a change in the rotation, Johnson said, "Yes and no."

Johnson said he doesn't make those decisions "in the heat of the moment."

Johnson said Detwiler "has been outstanding all year long." He said the decision to take Detwiler out of the game with one out in the fifth "was especially difficult for me."

The Nationals moved two games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.

After the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said Chipper Jones will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised left leg.

Gonzalez said the team has to make the move because it needs the roster spot to call up a catcher. Backup catcher David Ross left Friday's game in the second inning with a right groin strain. Gonzalez said Ross has had the injury before and will not need to be placed on the disabled list.

Regular starter Brian McCann, who missed his fourth straight game with flu-like symptoms, took over for Ross.

Jones missed his seventh straight start with swelling and discoloration in his left foot, ankle and calf. He was hit by a grounder May 18 against Tampa Bay.

"It's not getting better and we're starting to play a little short-handed," said Gonzalez, who added he has been told Jones will need the full two weeks before he can play.

Jones walked in one pinch-hit appearance Wednesday in Cincinnati.

Detwiler threw 100 pitches while giving up three runs. He said Wang's return from the disabled list did not add pressure to his start.

"There's no pressure on me," Detwiler said. "I have to go out there and do my job. There's no added pressure."

Detwiler said his problem was his command of his pitches, but he said they were close to the strike zone.

"It wasn't terrible," he said. "It's an easy fix."

Ian Desmond had a two-run single in the Nationals' first inning. The Braves cut the lead to 4-3 before Zimmerman's bases-loaded double off Tim Hudson in the seventh.

Jason Heyward homered in the eighth, Martin Prado had two doubles and a triple, and Matt Diaz drove in three runs with two hits for the Braves. Atlanta has lost five straight, its longest streak of the season.

"I just didn't hold up my end of the bargain," Hudson said. "We should have won the ballgame. Four runs, we should win."

Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his second save.

Wang entered the game after Prado doubled and Dan Uggla walked with one out. Wang gave up a two-run double to Diaz, who was thrown out going for a triple.

Wang allowed three hits and one run, Heyward's homer, in three innings.

A left hamstring injury in spring training kept Wang out this season before he came off the disabled list Tuesday.

The Nationals took a 4-0 lead off Hudson (3-2) in the first. Desmond's bouncing single up the middle drove in Bryce Harper, who singled, and Zimmerman, who doubled. Hudson hit Danny Espinosa with a pitch before giving up Ankiel's two-run triple to left-center.

Hudson recovered with five scoreless innings. He retired the first two batters in the seventh before walking Wang, giving up a double to Steve Lombardozzi and a walk to Harper. Zimmerman's three-run double to center field gave the Nationals a 7-3 lead and knocked Hudson out of the game.

Hudson gave up a season-high seven earned runs, eight hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. The four runs he allowed in the first inning topped the three he gave up in his previous three starts.

Game notes
OF Michael Morse, who has missed the first two months with an injured back muscle, is playing in extended spring training and is expected to begin a rehab stint at Class A Potomac on Monday. ... 1B Freddie Freeman, wearing new contact lenses, was back in the lineup. He missed Thursday's game at Cincinnati due to vision problems caused by dryness in his eyes while wearing contacts. He also was fitted for new sports glasses on Friday. ... Nationals ace RHP Stephen Strasburg will face Braves struggling LHP Mike Minor when the series continues Saturday. Scotty McCreery, the 2011 American Idol winner, will have a postgame concert.