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Braves Take 2 Of 3 From Nationals With 2-1 Win In Turner Field

The Washington Nationals wasted opportunities early in the series finale with the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field and in spite of a strong outing by Gio Gonzalez, the Nats dropped two of three with the NL East's first place team, falling to 60-63 overall on the year. 2-1 Braves final.

Kevin C. Cox

Gio Gonzalez walked the first batter he faced this afternoon in Turner Field. Atlanta Braves' outfielder B.J. Upton took the free pass, stole second in the next at bat and advanced to third when rookie infielder Philip Gosselin bunted for a single and his first major league hit. RISP monster Freddie Freeman stepped in next against the Washington Nationals' left-handed starter and improved to 45 for 102 with runners in scoring position this season when he sent an RBI single to center for an early 1-0 lead in the final matchup of the eventful three-game weekend set in the state of Georgia. Gonzalez got a double play grounder out of Evan Gattis in the at bat that followed, but Chris Johnson hit a two-out single to left to drive in Atlanta's second run and the NL East's first-place team led 2-0 after a 22-pitch inning by the Nats' lefty in the Sunday afternoon series finale.

After failing to make anything of Denard Span's single and Anthony Rendon's walk in the top of the first, the Nationals got the first two batters on again in the second with Ian Desmond walking and Chad Tracy singling to center off Braves' right-hander Julio Teheran. Kurt Suzuki K'd swinging in the next at bat for an unproductive out. Gio Gonzalez popped a bunt up to Freddie Freeman in foul territory off first. Denard Span flew out to center after a seven-pitch battle with Teheran and the Nationals were 0 for 6 w/ RISP early. The Braves 3 for 4 w/ RISP and up 2-0 in Atlanta after one and a half.

Gio Gonzalez walked the batter he faced this afternoon in the second inning in Turner Field, putting right fielder Joey Terdoslavich on to start the Braves' half of the second. Paul Janish K'd looking at a 2-2 fastball from Gonzalez for the first out of the inning. Gonzalez was up to 17 pitches in the second when he threw a 1-2 fastball by the opposing pitcher upstairs and 25 pitches in the inning when he busted B.J. Upton inside with a fastball that was called strike three by home plate umpire Wally Bell. 47 pitches in two innings. 2-0 Braves.

Julio Teheran's 13th HBP of the year caught Anthony Rendon on the arm. An opposite field single by Bryce Harper in the next at bat gave the Nats two runners on to start the third straight frame. Jayson Werth K'd looking at an 0-2 slider outside that Wally Bell called strike three. Adam LaRoche popped to short left and Paul Janish and Evan Gattis let it fall in for a hit, but got the force at third, since Rendon couldn't run. Adam LaRoche's groundout to third left the Nationals 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position in the first three innings. 2-0 Braves.

Philip Gosselin's second major league hit was a more respectable line drive single to center to start the Braves' third. Bryce Harper tracked down a line drive to left off Freddie Freeman's bat and made a running catch to rob the first baseman of a second hit in two at bats and extra bases. Evan Gattis K'd swinging at a full-count fastball with Gosselin running with one down, and Gattis stumbled in front of Kurt Suzuki and interfered with the catcher for what was ruled a strike'em out, throw'em out double play. 11-pitch inning for Gio Gonzalez. 58 total after three.

Chad Tracy and Kurt Suzuki went down quickly on four pitches for the first two outs of the fourth. A pop to Freddie Freeman by Gio Gonzalez ended an eight pitch inning for Julio Teheran that had the Braves' right-hander up to 69 pitches overall after four scoreless. Ian Desmond made a strong throw to first after backhanding a Chris Johnson grounder to short. Gerald Laird K'd swinging through an 0-2 fastball. Joey Terdoslavich took a full-count four-seamer for a called strike three. 12-pitch fourth for Gio Gonzalez. 70 total after four. 6 Ks.

Denard Span flew to right to start the fifth. Anthony Rendon took a 2-2 slider outside for a called strike three. Note For Players: Wally Bell's calling that one a strike. Bryce Harper doubled to right with two down to get Jayson Werth to the plate with the tenth runner in scoring position of the day at second and Werth's line drive to right was tracked down by Evan Gattis to leave the Nationals 0 for 10 with RISP and still down 2-0 to the Braves and Julio Teheran after five scoreless by Atlanta's right-handed starter. Paul Janish flew to left on Gio Gonzalez's 74th pitch of the game.Teheran K'd swinging at a 2-2 fastball up and away. B.J. Upton worked the count full with two down and K'd swinging at a 94 mph fastball for the eighth strikeout of the game by the Nats' left-hander. 15-pitch inning, 85 overall after five. Eight straignt batters retired for Gonzalez and 11 of the last 12.

Chad Tracy doubled to center with two down in the Nats' sixth, but the Nationals were 0 for 11 with RISP when the Braves walked Kurt Suzuki and got Gio Gonzalez swinging for the final out of the frame. 9 LOB. 2-0 Braves. Atlanta's second baseman Phil Gosselin K'd looking at a 2-2 curve for Gonzalez's ninth K of the day. Freddie Freeman doubled to center with one down in the bottom of the sixth, breaking up the Nats' lefty's streak of nine-straight set down. Evan Gattis grounded to third for out no.2 of the home-half of the inning and Chris Johnson grounded out to short to end the sixth after 16 pitches by Gio Gonzalez, who was at 101 overall. Still 2-0 Braves.

Denard Span singled to start the seventh, but was forced out at second on an Anthony Rendon grounder to short. Bryce Harper stepped in against Braves' lefty Scott Downs and took a one-out walk to push another runner into scoring position with Jayson Werth due up and the Nationals were 1 for 12 w/ RISP on the day when Werth singled to center to drive Rendon in and move Harper to third. 2-1 Braves. Runners on the corners, one out. Adam LaRoche worked back from 0-2 to a full count but K'd swinging with Werth running to start a strike'em out, throw'em out inning-ending DP. Still 2-1 Atlanta after six and a half in Turner Field.

Gio Gonzalez came back out for the bottom of the seventh and walked Joey Terdaslovich on his 108th pitch of the game. Jordan Schafer came on to run at first and stole second with Paul Janish at the plate, then took third when Gonzalez missed outside with ball four to the Braves' shortstop. With runners on the corners and one down, Jason Heyward grounded to second to start a 4-6-3 inning-ending DP, however, on the Nationals' lefty's 19th pitch of the inning and his 120th pitch of the game. 2-1 Braves after seven.

• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 9 Ks, 120 P, 74 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

Jordan Walden took over on the mound in the top of the eighth and threw a 3-2 slider out of the zone that Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond chased for a swinging strike three. Chad Tracy popped to Paul Janish in short left for the second out of the inning. Kurt Suzuki flew to right where Jason Heyward caught the final out of a scoreless inning of work by the Braves' right-handed reliever. Drew Storen needed just five pitches to retire the Braves in order in the bottom of the eighth. Still 2-1 Atlanta.

Craig Kimbrel started the ninth against Ryan Zimmerman. Zim K'd swinging over a filthy 1-2 slider for out no.1. Paul Janish made a great play and strong throw on a grounder to second by Denard Span, but Freddie Freeman came off the bag according to first base ump Jordan Baker. Anthony Rendon fell behind 0-2 quickly and took a 98 mph heater for a called strike three. Bryce Harper stepped in with the tying run on first... and K'd swinging on a check-swing strike three. Braves win, 2-1 final.

Nationals now 60-63