The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, a rally that included some drama between the Braves and home plate umpire CB Bucknor. The Nationals loaded the bases against Braves left-handed starter Alex Wood with a Ryan Zimmerman walk. Anthony Rendon led off the inning with a single, Ross Ohlendorf dropped down a sacrifice bunt and Denard Span reached on a fielding error by first baseman Freddie Freeman.
Up came Jayson Werth. He fouled off three pitches and worked a full count. Wood fired a 3-2 fastball that, at first glance, appeared to have caught the edge of the strike zone. Replays showed the pitch was just outside. Bucknor called the pitch a ball and Werth took first base. As Rendon jogged home to score the run, Manager Fredi Gonzalez emerged from the dugout.
Wood, a rookie, erupted at Bucknor, who doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation behind the plate. Chris Johnson ran over from third base, held Wood back and Johnson even covered Wood’s mouth with his glove. Wood yelled expletives at Bucknor. Wood escaped an ejection but Gonzalez was tossed by Bucknor for arguing the call.
The next batter, Bryce Harper, lifted a ball to center field and the sacrifice fly put the Nationals up, 2-0. Bench coach Carlos Tosca, acting manager, came out to hook Wood with Ian Desmond coming up to bat. Wood was clearly unhappy as he stepped off the mound, bumping into Tosca as he walked off. With his night over, he took advantage and pointed and yelled at Bucknor.
“Hey **** you, CB. **** you. That’s ****ing terrible,” he appeared to say on television replays. Bucknor ejected Wood instantly.
The Nationals lost the lead in the top of the next inning when Ohlendorf allowed three runs. In the bottom of the sixth, Bucknor appeared to issue warnings to both dugouts after Anthony Varvano hit Rendon in the hip with a pitch with two outs. Craig Stammen hit Chris Johnson with a pitch the next inning and Bucknor didn’t react. The two teams have plenty of shared history of drama. Bryce Harper, who yelled at Julio Teheran for plunking him after a home run, has been hit three times by Braves pitchers and Stephen Strasburg and Manager Davey Johnson were ejected in late August.