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Washington at Atlanta

Venue: Turner Field
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Stephen Strasburg may be touted as the ace of the Washington Nationals, but Gio Gonzalez is making his own case for that distinction.

Brandon Beachy has been no slouch for the Atlanta Braves.

Runs may be hard to come by as two of the major leagues' ERA leaders oppose each other when Gonzalez and the NL East-leading Nationals look to deal the Braves their seventh straight loss in the finale of a three-game set Sunday at Turner Field.

Strasburg allowed four runs in five innings to earn an 8-4 victory Saturday, helping Washington (28-18) win for the fifth time in six games. Bryce Harper went 2 for 4 and hit his third homer, and is batting .435 during a six-game hitting streak.

The Nationals, who won Friday's series opener 7-4, are going for their first sweep in Atlanta since they took all four games Oct. 1-4, 2009. They've beaten the Braves in four straight meetings overall.

"The offense scoring seven runs two days in a row, I feel like I'm on vacation or something," manager Davey Johnson said.

Though the offense has picked it up in this series, solid pitching has been the calling card of the Nationals.

While Strasburg receives the lion's share of the attention on a staff that leads the majors with a 2.95 ERA, Gonzalez (6-1, 1.98 ERA) arguably has been the team's best pitcher.

Gonzalez won his fourth straight start Monday, striking out nine in six scoreless innings of a 2-1 victory over Philadelphia. He is among the NL leaders with 69 strikeouts, ranks third in ERA and is holding opponents to a major league-low .167 batting average.

The left-hander, who has never faced the Braves, will look to become the Nationals' first pitcher to win five straight starts since Ramon Ortiz did it May 18-June 7, 2006.

Few have pitched better than Gonzalez this season, though Beachy (5-2, 1.77) has a case.

Beachy leads the majors in ERA and his .183 opponent batting average ranks third behind Gonzalez and Detroit's Justin Verlander. He went 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA in seven starts from April 15-May 17 before allowing a season-high four runs and a career-high three homers in seven innings of a 4-3 loss to Cincinnati on Tuesday.

The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three career starts against the Nationals, which may not bode well for an Atlanta team struggling without Chipper Jones.

The Braves (26-22) dropped to 7-17 when Jones doesn't start after the veteran was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a bruised left leg. They've lost six straight overall, and four of their last six at home.

"We're not playing particularly well right now," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "And there are no excuses. We've just need to get it going."

Braves second baseman Dan Uggla hit a two-run homer Saturday. His last four hits have gone for extra bases, but they've come in a span of 30 at-bats over 10 games.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Gio Gonzalez, LHP
2012 stats
54.2 Innings Pitched 61.0
6-1 Wins-Losses 5-2
1.98 Earned Run Average 1.77
22 Walks 15
69 Strikeouts 44
97 Pitches Per Start 105
Career vs. opponent
- Innings Pitched 16.0
--- Wins-Losses 1-1
- Earned Run Average 5.63

Brandon Beachy, RHP
Weather
weather image  Mostly sunny. Hot.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
90°F72°F14mph/NE43%3%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Washington3rd NL East67.46245-5 W 1
Atlanta2nd NL East84.66716-4 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Brandon Beachy
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Zimmerman64000.667
Flores21000.500
Espinosa73023.429
Wang31001.333
Ankiel61004.167
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Gio Gonzalez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Wilson122004.167
Delgado000000
Diaz000000
Durbin000000
Francisco000000
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Washington 130 Atlanta -140
Injuries
Washington
PlayerInjury
E. DavisElbow
Y. EscobarGroin
C. JanssenShoulder
N. McLouthShoulder
A. RendonKnee
C. StammenForearm
Atlanta
PlayerInjury
M. MinorShoulder
J. OutmanShoulder
S. SimmonsElbow
J. TerdoslavichWrist
D. WinklerElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 10ATLATL 5-3Johnson Montero 
Apr 11ATLATL 5-3Teheran Gee 
Apr 12ATLNYM 4-3Colon Jaime 
Apr 21NYM 7:10 PM EDT  
Apr 22NYM 7:10 PM EDT  
Apr 23NYM 1:10 PM EDT  
Jun 12NYM 7:10 PM EDT  
Jun 13NYM 4:10 PM EDT  
Jun 14NYM 1:10 PM EDT  
Jun 19ATL 7:35 PM EDT  
Jun 20ATL 7:10 PM EDT  
Jun 21ATL 5:10 PM EDT  
Sep 10ATL 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 11ATL 7:35 PM EDT  
Sep 12ATL 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 13ATL 1:35 PM EDT  
Sep 21NYM 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 22NYM 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 23NYM 7:10 PM EDT