Nationals top Braves 6-3, Gio Gonzalez ends personal skid
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gio Gonzalez pitched seven strong innings and earned his first victory since May 28 to help the Washington Nationals defeat the Atlanta Braves 6-3 Thursday to secure a four-game split.
The Nationals moved within 5 1/2 games of idle Philadelphia in the National League East. The Braves fell a game behind the Phillies.
Gonzalez (7-8) snapped a personal seven-game losing streak and had gone 11 consecutive starts without a victory. He allowed three hits and one walk while striking out three. Nick Markakis’ solo homer to lead off the second was the lone run he allowed.
Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez pitched two scoreless innings but left after getting hit in the left calf by a grounder from Michael Taylor.
He was replaced by Wes Parsons (0-1), who yielded a bases-loaded walk to Juan Soto and a sacrifice fly by Anthony Rendon as Washington went ahead.
Taylor homered to left in the fourth to bump Washington’s lead to 3-1, and Daniel Murphy added an RBI double in the sixth.
Ronald Acuna Jr.’s one-out homer in the eighth pulled Atlanta within two runs, but the Nationals got RBIs from Ryan Zimmerman and Matt Reynolds in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-2.
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper was scratched from the lineup with right knee soreness. Atlanta reliever Dan Winkler hit Harper just below the right knee in the seventh inning on Wednesday night. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said X-rays on Harper were negative.
Braves: 3B Johan Camargo was out of the starting lineup for the first time since July 14. He struck out as a pinch hitter to end the game. Charlie Culberson filled in at third for Camargo.
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (cervical nerve impingement) will throw at least one more bullpen session before the team decides whether he is ready for a minor league rehabilitation start. Strasburg has not pitched for Washington since July 20.
Braves: RHP Kevin Gausman (0-1, 5.40 ERA) makes his second start since his acquisition from Baltimore as Atlanta returns home to open a three-game series with Milwaukee.
Nationals: Washington begins a three-game series in Chicago against the Cubs with RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 3.56) getting the nod.