Haren gets more of a grip in followup start

Haren gets more of a grip in followup start

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Last week, Nationals right-hander Dan Haren had a dead arm and his worst outing, allowing five runs in five innings against the Cardinals.

On Thursday, Haren was much better in a 4-3 loss against the Braves. Although he allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings, Haren threw the ball much better. It helped that he changed the grip on his split-finger fastball. Haren got off to a slow start, allowing three runs in the second inning. But starting in the third, Haren retired nine straight hitters.

Haren left the game in the sixth inning after having a tough time getting hitters out. He threw 90 pitches, 59 for strikes.

"I was frustrated with the way I finished. The [second] inning, another 0-2 hit. It has kind of burned me the last couple of starts," Haren said. "I changed a few things. There were some offspeed pitches and I was having success in the middle innings. Overall it was a lot better. I felt a thousand times better. That's good."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.