|Atlanta (34-22) «||2||1||0||0||1||2||0||0||x||6||9||1|
ATLANTA -- Fredi Gonzalez doesn't want to discuss the NL East standings.
In fact, one mention of the Braves' big lead in the division made Atlanta's manager groan and complain "I don't even want to talk about that. It's June 2."
The Braves won two of three from the Nationals and lead Washington by 6½ games -- the biggest advantage for any first-place team in the majors. Atlanta is 15-6 against NL East teams, including 7-3 against the Nationals.
"It's big," said Upton of winning the series against the Nationals. "We know they're a team that's going to be around all year. They have a good ballclub. It's good to win games against a team like that."
The Nationals (28-29) fell below .500 for the first time since they were 13-14 on April 30. It might seem early in the season to Atlanta's Gonzalez, but Washington's Adam LaRoche said it's late for the Nationals to be scuffling around .500.
"We deserve to be where we're at right now," LaRoche said. "We've played like crap. And we're still not in awful shape.
"That only goes so far. We're pretty deep into the season, so we've got to get it going or we won't be there at the end. I don't sense any panic, anybody stressing over it, but it'd be nice to pick it up."
Washington manager Davey Johnson said the team's sagging offense could get a lift as outfielder Jayson Werth is expected to come off the 15-day disabled list for Tuesday's start of a home series against the Mets.
"There's still plenty of time," Johnson said. "We can right the ship and get things going in the right direction. We've still got plenty of time.
"The offense is just sputtering a little bit. It'll be good to get Jayson back. Our guys are certainly capable. They've just got to start doing it. That's all. It's that simple."
Washington rookie Nathan Karns (0-1) gave up four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Karns allowed two home runs. He has given up four home runs in his two starts.
Upton, who had the game-winning hit in the Braves' 2-1 victory against the Nationals in 10 innings on Saturday night, hit a second-inning home run off Karns to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.
The two-game surge was much-needed for Upton, who has an RBI in back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
"Good for him," Gonzalez said. "His at-bats keep getting better and better and better. That's the B.J. Upton that we want to see. It's good that he's coming along.
"Hopefully he'll run off 10 or 12 games like this."
The Braves led 2-0 before Karns recorded an out. Ryan Zimmerman's 10th error on a wild throw to first allowed Andrelton Simmons to reach base. Pena hit Karns' next pitch about five rows deep into the right-field seats for his third home run.
Washington tied the game with two runs in the second. LaRoche doubled and moved to third on Ian Desmond's bunt single. Tyler Moore's single to left field drove in LaRoche. With two outs, Karns hit a grounder to Freeman at first base. Maholm dropped Freeman's toss to first base for an error as Desmond scored.
Desmond's seventh home run cut the lead to 4-3 in the sixth before Freeman's bases-loaded double off Duke in the bottom of the inning pushed the lead to three runs.
Freeman's drive hit the yellow line on the top of the left-field wall. Three umpires left the field for a video review to confirm the on-field ruling the hit was a double.
"I blame it on the wind," Freeman said with a smile. "It's a big park. C'mon guys, move the fences in."
Washington right-hander Erik Davis, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday, pitched 1 2/3 perfect innings in his major league debut.
|B.J. Upton perhaps finds his stroke with a home run as the Braves knock off the struggling Nats. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Denard Span, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.264|
|Stephen Lombardozzi, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.280|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||0||0||.243|
|Ian Desmond, SS||4||2||2||1||0||1||0||.265|
|Tyler Moore, RF||3||0||1||1||0||0||0||.151|
|Erik Davis, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Fernando Abad, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Chad Tracy, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.151|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.158|
|Jhonatan Solano, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.118|
|Nathan Karns, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Zach Duke, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.000|
|Roger Bernadina, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.161|
|a-popped out for Abad in the 9th|
|2B - Adam LaRoche (7, Maholm)|
|HR - Ian Desmond (7, Maholm)|
|RBI - Ian Desmond (22), Tyler Moore (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ian Desmond (6)|
|Team LOB - 3|
|E - Ryan Zimmerman (10, Throwing)|
|Nathan Karns (L,0-1)||4.2||7||4||3||1||6||2||6.00|
|IBB - Upton by Zach Duke|
|Pitches-Strikes - Nathan Karns 88-58, Zach Duke 33-12, Erik Davis 20-15, Fernando Abad 13-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nathan Karns 4-5, Zach Duke 2-0, Erik Davis 3-0, Fernando Abad 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Nathan Karns 23, Zach Duke 8, Erik Davis 5, Fernando Abad 3|
|Andrelton Simmons, SS||4||2||1||0||1||0||0||.249|
|Ramiro Pena, 3B||4||1||1||2||0||1||1||.325|
|Justin Upton, RF||4||1||3||0||1||1||0||.259|
|Freddie Freeman, 1B||4||0||2||2||0||1||2||.314|
|Evan Gattis, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||3||.269|
|Anthony Varvaro, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Luis Avilan, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Craig Kimbrel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian McCann, C||4||0||1||1||0||0||4||.264|
|Dan Uggla, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.177|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||1||1||1||0||1||3||.156|
|Paul Maholm, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.154|
|a- Reed Johnson, PH-LF||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||.271|
|a-walked for Maholm in the 6th|
|2B - Freddie Freeman (9, Duke)|
|HR - Ramiro Pena (3, Karns), B.J. Upton (5, Karns)|
|SH - Ramiro Pena (1)|
|RBI - Ramiro Pena 2 (14), Freddie Freeman 2 (36), Brian McCann (15), B.J. Upton (10)|
|2-OUT RBI - Brian McCann (4)|
|SB - Justin Upton (5, 2nd base off Karns/Solano)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Pena-Uggla-Freeman|
|E - Paul Maholm (1, Missed catch of throw)|
|Paul Maholm (W,7-4)||6||5||3||2||0||4||1||3.68|
|Anthony Varvaro (H,2)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.30|
|Luis Avilan (H,8)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.42|
|Craig Kimbrel (S,17)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.01|
|HBP - Espinosa (by Paul Maholm)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 92-59, Anthony Varvaro 10-7, Luis Avilan 15-11, Craig Kimbrel 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 10-4, Anthony Varvaro 1-2, Luis Avilan 2-1, Craig Kimbrel 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 24, Anthony Varvaro 3, Luis Avilan 3, Craig Kimbrel 3|
|Attendance - 30134|
|Game Time - 2:58|
|Temperature - 83|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Manny Gonzalez, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Larry Vanover|