Nationals sweep Braves

Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy is relieved by manager Fredi Gonzalez in the sixth inning Sunday.

Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy is relieved by manager Fredi Gonzalez in the sixth inning Sunday.

ATLANTA — Bryce Harper hit his second homer in two days, Gio Gonzalez gave up only one hit in seven innings and the Nationals beat the struggling Atlanta Braves 7-2 on Sunday night to complete a three-game sweep.

Washington’s first sweep at Turner Field in three years left the Braves with a seven-game losing streak, their worst skid since dropping nine straight in 2010.

The Nationals took the lead with four runs in the sixth. They scored at least seven runs in each game of the series.

At 29-18, the Nationals moved 11 games over .500 for the first time since their 2005 inaugural season in Washington.

Gonzalez (7-1) struck out 10 and outpitched Brandon Beachy (5-3) in the matchup of ERA leaders.

Gonzalez gave up two runs and three walks in seven innings. Craig Stammen allowed two hits in 1 2-3 innings before Sean Burnett recorded the final out.

Beachy’s 1.77 ERA, the best in the major leagues, did not change as he permitted three runs — only one earned — on three hits and four walks in five-plus innings. He was pulled with the game tied at 2 after hitting Danny Espinosa with a pitch to open the sixth.

The Nationals jumped on former Washington pitcher Livan Hernandez following Beachy’s exit. Hernandez walked Rick Ankiel on four pitches before Jesus Flores gave Washington the lead with an RBI single. Steve Lombardozzi added a two-run double.

The losing streak is having a toll on Braves fans, who booed after the hit by Lombardozzi. There were more boos from the crowd of 38,543 after Lombardozzi scored easily from second when right fielder Jason Heyward bobbled Ryan Zimmerman’s single.

Flores had three hits. He left the game following his third hit in the seventh.

Harper hit his fourth homer, a high shot into the right-field seats, off Hernandez in the eighth.

The Braves scored a run without a hit in the first. Michael Bourn walked, stole second, moved to third on Tyler Pastornicky’s sacrifice and scored on Martin Prado’s groundout.

Atlanta added a run in the third. Bourn had a one-out triple for Atlanta’s lone hit off Gonzalez and scored on Pastornicky’s suicide squeeze.

Washington scored two unearned runs in the fourth. The Nationals loaded the bases on walks to Adam LaRoche and Espinosa and a throwing error by Pastornicky on Ian Desmond’s grounder to shortstop. Flores drove in LaRoche with a single, and Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly.

Pastornicky had another error in the seventh when he bobbled a grounder by Ankiel.

The Braves, who put third baseman Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with a left leg contusion, remained short-handed. First baseman Freddie Freeman was held out with ongoing vision problems and catcher Brian McCann was still recovering from an illness.

Third baseman Juan Francisco did not start after manager Fredi Gonzalez said he “tweaked something” on Saturday, when he had three hits. Francisco had a pinch-hit single off Stammen in the eighth.

Washington’s only other sweep this season came in a weather-shortened series. The Nationals won two games against Miami on April 20-21 before the third game was postponed due to rain.

NOTES: The Nationals had been 0-9 this season when closing out a series with a sweep on the line. … Plate umpire Kerwin Danley went down to the ground in the third inning after he was hit in the groin area when a pitch from Beachy bounced past C J.C. Boscan. Danley remained in the game following a visit from Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell. … The last time the Nationals were 11 games over .500 was July 25, 2005, when they were 55-44. … The Braves will open a three-game home series against St. Louis on Monday with RHP Tommy Hanson facing RHP Lance Lynn. The Nationals open a series at Miami on Monday. RHP Jordan Zimmerman will face RHP Carlos Zambrano.


coachjohnson42 2 years, 12 months ago

I hate to say I told you so, but ummmmmm.......guess what?


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 12 months ago

Yes you did. They don't have enough soul in they roll.


VSU 2 years, 12 months ago

You ain't told us nothing coach, even though I am beginning to wonder if they will ever win again, it's still early in the season.


VSU 2 years, 12 months ago

They lost again today 8-2, maybe they will never win again. They are not only losing but losing bad every game.


The_Dude 2 years, 12 months ago

Do you folks watch the games or just look at the scores? Half the lineup is out, of course they're going to lose games. They are awful right now. This ain't basketball where they play half the year and only suit up 80 games and it sure as heck ain't football. It's a 162 game season. You have your ups and downs. As long as you have more ups than downs, you'll be ok. This team has already shown what it can do when healthy - one of the best teams in the game.


alleebrin 2 years, 11 months ago

Let's cut to the chase here - no matter what excuses the Braves conjure, they fans stick around only if they WIN!!


The_Dude 2 years, 11 months ago

Bingo. It's why Atlanta is one of the worst sports cities in the country. The fans are pathetic.


VSU 2 years, 11 months ago

I for one stick with the Braves thru thick and thin and have done so since the Hank Aaron era, just perplexed about this losing streak, but know they will bounce back.


coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

I am a BADGERED and TIRED BRAVES FAN. I have suffered disappointment (just like you guys) since the days of Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Chris Chambliss, Raphael Ramirez, Bruce Benedict and Rick Mahler.....I am sick and tired of all the post season "let downs"....I am convinced that the BRAVES are destined for self-destruction every year. The Braves always focused on the concept that "good-pitching is better than good hitting" so they go get the best pitchers and could care less about good batters. They trade good batters for pitchers and still cant get the job done. INSANE----Always doing the same crap and getting the same weak results. This year, they wont even get to the post-season.....lack of a decent manager.....The yearly meltdown has started early!!!


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