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Nationals drop 3-1 decision to Braves, after clinching NL East last night

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The Washington Nationals dropped a 3-1 decision to the Atlanta Braves tonight in Turner Field, but took two of three to finish the year 8-11 against their NL East rivals. But the Nats totally won the NL East. Words. Blake Treinen was solid. Steven Souza homered.

Kevin C. Cox

Disrespecting the "A" Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' outfielder Steven Souza started in left tonight with most of the Nats' regulars off after the NL East divison-clinching win last night and the 25-year-old '07 3rd Round pick took advantage of the opportunity to connect for his first major league home run, taking Atlanta Braves' starter Alex Wood deep to center field in Turner Field in the fifth inning for a solo blast and a 1-0 lead.

The Braves battled back to take the lead with a three-run sixth, loading the bases on back-to-back singles by Phil Gosselin and Ramiro Pena and a two-out HBP on Jason Heyward. Rookie backstop Christian Bethancourt was up next and he sent a sharp grounder to first that bounced off a diving Tyler Moore's glove. Three runs scored on the play as the Nationals threw it around the infield, too late at each stop. 3-1 Braves after six.

That's how it ended. 3-1 Braves final.

4. Treinen in Atlanta: Blake Treinen, 26, has made four appearances out of the Washington Nationals' bullpen in the last two months, but the right-hander hasn't started in the majors since June 28th when he beat Chicago on the road in Wrigley Field, holding the Cubs to four hits, a walk and two earned runs in five innings of work in a 7-2 win.

Treinen was limited to five innings that night because of a rain delay, but he managed to earn his first major league win.

"His stuff plays. His stuff plays at any point later in the game. It's a bowling ball at 97 [mph]. So that's all good." - Matt Williams on Nats' RHP Blake Treinen this spring

He was returned to the Nationals' top minor league affiliate afterwards, however, but as he told reporters, including MLB.com's Joe Popely, he didn't mind at all.

"You can't be upset for even just being a spot starter,'" Treinen said. "'This is the big leagues. It's what everybody dreams to do, and I kind of know my role to do. I know it's whatever they ask me to do any given day, and I'm OK with that.'"

After the Nationals clinched the NL East with last night's win, they decided to rest all of their regulars in tonight's series finale with the Braves.

That included Gio Gonzalez, who was scheduled to start against Atlanta, but will instead go tomorrow night in the series opener in Miami.

So Treinen got another spot start tonight in Turner Field.

As a starter in the majors this season, Treinen has put up a 2.70 ERA with a .248/.315/.327 line against in 26 ⅔ IP after making his MLB debut on April12th.

The 2011 7th Round pick was, of course, acquired from the Oakland A's in the winter between the 2012-13 seasons when the Athletics sent him to the Nationals as part of a package with right-hander A.J. Cole and lefty Ian Krol in the three-team Michael Morse trade with the Seattle Mariners.

Treinen's sixth start of his first major league campaign began with a single to center...

1st: Braves' second baseman Phil Gosselin took a 3-2 sinker back up the middle for a leadoff single, but was forced out at second on a grounder to short by Andrelton Simmons. Simmons moved up on a line drive to center by Freddie Freeman. Justin Upton stepped in next and grounded to second to start an inning-ending 4-6-3. 12-pitch frame for Treinen.

2nd: Jason Heyward grounded out to second. Christian Bethancourt took an 0-2 sinker for a called strike three. Chris Johnson's groundout to short ended a seven-pitch frame. 19 total after two.

3rd: B.J. Upton lined the first pitch of the Braves' third to right for a leadoff single, but Alex Wood K'd trying to bunt Upton over/give up an out. Upton took second on a groundout by Phil Gosselin, but was stranded there when Andrelton Simmons sent a fly ball to Michael Taylor in center for out no.3. 10-pitch frame, 29 total for Treinen after three.

4th: Freddie Freeman pushed Michael Taylor back to the track with a fly to center for the first out of the Braves' fourth. Justin Upton walked with one down to bring Jason Heyward up with a runner on, but the right fielder popped up over the infield for out no.2. Christian Bethancourt's groundout to second ended a 13-pitch frame that left Treinen at 42 pitches overall.

5th: Given a 1-0 lead to work with Blake Treinen took the mound and got back-to-back groundouts to short from Chris Johnson and B.J. Upton to start the Braves' fifth. Alex Wood K'd looking to end a 13-pitch fifth by Treinin, who was up to 55 pitches overall after five.

Blake Treinen's Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 55 P, 36 S, 8/2 GO/FO.

3. Woodsy: After returning to the rotation in late June following a stint in the bullpen, Atlanta's 2012 2nd Round pick Alex Wood made 15 starts before tonight's, going (5-4) with the Braves 7-8 in his outings, over which the 23-year-old left-hander put up a 2.46 ERA and a .214/.275/.315 line against with 27 walks (2.46 BB/9) and 93 Ks (8.48 K/9) in 98 ⅔ IP.

One of those starts took place in the nation's capital back on August 10th, when he struck out 12 in 7 ⅓ IP in which he gave up five hits, three walks and one earned run in a 3-1 win.

At home in Turner Field this season, the southpaw was (7-5) in 15 games and 10 starts before tonight's with a 2.47 ERA, a 3.05 FIP and a .235/.284/.365 line against in 69 ⅓ IP.

In three starts since his last loss, Wood was been going strong heading into tonight's outing with a 1.23 ERA and a .190/.238/.215 line against in his last 22 IP on the mound.

In three starts against the Nationals this season before taking the mound in the series finale, the lefty was (2-1) with a 1.86 ERA and a .208/.269/.375 line against in 19 ⅓ IP.

Wood's fourth start of the year against the NL East Champs began with a scoreless first in which he gave up a one-out single to left by Danny Espinosa, but got an inning-ending 6-4-3. 14-pitch frame. Wood struck out two and retired the side in order in a 15-pitch second that left him at 29 pitches overall.

Jeff Kobernus walked to start the third, but three outs later he was stranded at second as Wood added two more Ks for five total in three scoreless. 19-pitch frame, 48 total after three. An 11-pitch fourth left him at 59.

Nate Schierholtz took an 0-2 curve inside for the 7th K of the night for Wood, but with one down, Steven Souza, Jr. stepped in and his first MLB HR out to center in Turner Field. 1-0 Nats. Two quick outs later, Wood was through a 10-pitch frame at 69 total after five.

Blake Treinen was strikeout victim no.8 for Alex Wood when he K'd to start the sixth, but Michael Taylor connected for the third hit off the Braves' lefty when he doubled to center with one down. Danny Espinosa took curve off his knee and took his base, putting two on with one out for Kevin Frandsen. Christian Bethancourt threw Taylor out trying to steal third, however, and Frandsen sent a fly to center to end the top of the sixth after 17 pitches from Wood, who was up to 86 overall.

The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, but the Nats started the seventh with back-to-back singles by Tyler Moore and Nate Schierholtz that ended Wood's night...

Alex Wood's Line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 93 P, 62 S, 4/3 GO/FO.

2. B-Team Highlights: With the Nationals' regulars getting a night off, there was an "interesting" lineup in the series finale with the Braves tonight in Turner Field. With one down in the top of the fifth, Steven Souza, who started in left, hit his first MLB HR to center field in Turner Field to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Souza, 25, hit 18 home runs in 419 PAs at Triple-A Syracuse this season, and it took him 18 PAs with the Nationals before he connected on his first major league blast and gave the Nats the advantage early in Atlanta. 1-0 after four and a half.

Blake Treinen induced eight ground ball outs in five scoreless innings pitched.

1. The Wrap-Up: Lefty Ross Detwiler took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth and gave up back-to-back singles by Phil Gosselin and Ramiro Pena. Freddie Freeman grounded into a force at second that left runners on the corners with one out. Justin Upton stepped in with a chance to tie it, and K'd looking at a 1-2 bender from Detwiler.

Jason Heyward took a HBP to load the bases and Chritistian Bethancourt sent a sharp grounder to first that bounced off Tyler Moore's glove and into short right. Two runs scored on the hit and Heyward scored when Nate Schierholtz took his time throwing the ball in. The Nationals threw the ball around the infield, too late to catch anyone including the Braves' catcher, who ended up at third. 3-1 Atlanta after six.

David Carpenter took over for the Braves with two runners on and no one out in the top of the seventh. Steven Souza stepped in with two runners on and grounded into a force at second for out no.1. Jeff Kobernus popped out to second for out no.2, leaving it up to Sandy Leon, who K'd swinging to end the frame. Still 3-1 Braves.

Aaron Barrett gave up a one-out single in a scoreless 19-pitch seventh.

Jordan Walden retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth.

Jerry Blevins threw a quick, 15-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth vs the Braves.

Craig Kimbrel came on to end it and retired the side in order. 3-1 Braves final.

Nationals now 87-64