Washington at Atlanta

Braves hammer Nationals, complete three-game sweep

CBSSports.com wire reports

ATLANTA -- Freddie Freeman insists the Atlanta Braves have no special insight when playing the Washington Nationals.

"I don't know if it's about getting in their heads," Freeman said. "You just want to go out there and win series. It doesn't matter who it's against."

Freeman and Justin Upton each hit a two-run homer off Gio Gonzalez and the Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Nationals with a 10-2 victory on Sunday.

Beating Washington for the 18th time in the last 25 series matchups, Atlanta is hoping to use another fast start against the Nationals to win a second straight NL East title.

The Braves have won five of six against the Nationals this year.

"We have a 19-game stretch against division opponents," Freeman said. "This is where you can get off to a good start and get off to a good lead and hopefully we'll keep playing well when we get to" Philadelphia to begin a four-game series Monday.

Washington began the day by placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right thumb. He'll be out four to six weeks.

With Zimmerman and leadoff hitter Denard Span sidelined, the Nationals' lineup managed just five hits off Aaron Harang (2-1), who allowed one run, one walk and struck out five in six innings.

Gonzalez (2-1) continued his struggles against the Braves, giving up nine hits, six runs and four walks and striking out six in six innings.

Despite ranking second in the majors among left-handers with 34 wins since the start of 2012, Gonzalez is 2-7 with a 5.31 ERA in 10 starts against the Braves during that span.

He hasn't received more than one run of support in any of his seven winless starts against Atlanta.

"We were catching bad breaks," Gonzalez said. "We were making some big mistakes, and as a starting pitcher you've got to learn to adjust and keep the ball down."

Harang, making his 322nd career start and third with the Braves, improved to 2-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 starts against Washington.

Gus Schlosser, Atlanta's fourth pitcher, gave up Adam LaRoche's third homer in the ninth to make it 10-2.

Ross Detwiler, Washington's second pitcher, allowed four unearned runs in the eighth on Freeman's RBI double and Andrelton Simmons' first homer, a three-run shot that put the Braves up 10-1.

Gonzalez's struggles began in the first.

After walking leadoff hitter Jason Heyward, Gonzalez made an errant underhanded throw to first baseman LaRoche on B.J. Upton's bunt single. The ball rolled away from LaRoche, allowing Heyward to advance to third and B.J. Upton to second.

Freeman's sacrifice fly scored Heyward, and Justin Upton homered to make it 3-0. Over his last six games, Justin Upton is hitting .590 with four homers in 22 at-bats.

"We know what we're capable of and what we want to achieve," Justin Upton said. "If everybody can contribute every day, I think we'll be fine."

Atlanta added three more runs in the second.

Tyler Pastornicky led off with a triple and scored on Heyward's RBI double. Freeman followed with his fourth homer to give the Braves a 6-0 lead.

Washington's first run came on Jose Lobaton's RBI groundout, scoring Kevin Frandsen from third to make it 6-1 in the fifth.

Freeman, who has hit .470 in his last 34 at-bats, avoided a scare in the fourth when Gonzalez's 92 mph fastball hit the outer right side of his right hand. Like the rest of the day, everything seemed to go Atlanta's way.

"It pinched my pinkie into the bat," Freeman said. "It was more a scare than an injury. I got really lucky. I think if I didn't choke up, I'm done. By choking up, it got some fat right there. I kind of lucked out, I think."

NOTES: Washington RF Jayson Werth returned after a sore groin forced him from the lineup on Saturday. Werth went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and stranded three runners. ... Simmons hit in the No. 5 spot for the first time in his career, going 2 for 5 with three RBIs. ... Nate McLouth was supposed to start in CF and bat second for Washington, but manager Matt Williams said he tweaked his left knee while shagging flyballs during batting practice and was held out. ... Nationals LF Steven Souza Jr. made his major league debut in the seventh as Frandsen moved to second base and Danny Espinosa left the game. Souza struck out in the eighth. ... The Nationals called up INF Zach Walters from Triple-A Syracuse to take Zimmerman's spot on the 25-man roster. Walters struck out as a pinch-hitter to end the game. ... Span, on the seven-day DL with concussion symptoms, missed his second straight game.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Andrelton Simmons connects for his first homer of the year, and the Braves continue to make hay vs. the Nats.  (USATSI)
Andrelton Simmons connects for his first homer of the year, and the Braves continue to make hay vs. the Nats. (USATSI)

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June 22, 2017
Wednesday's MLB winners and losers (0:41)
Washington Nationals
Anthony Rendon, 3B4000001 .340
Bryce Harper, CF2020200 .310
Jayson Werth, RF4000023 .333
Adam LaRoche, 1B4111012 .311
Ian Desmond, SS4000021 .234
Kevin Frandsen, LF-2B4120010 .467
Danny Espinosa, 2B3010011 .318
   Ross Detwiler, P0000000 .000
   Jerry Blevins, P0000000 .000
   a-Zach Walters, PH1000010 .000
Jose Lobaton, C3001011 .192
Gio Gonzalez, P1000010 .167
   Steven Souza, LF1000010 .000
a-struck out for Blevins in the 9th
2B - Bryce Harper (1, Harang), Kevin Frandsen (1, Harang)
HR - Adam LaRoche (3, Schlosser)
SH - Gio Gonzalez (1)
RBI - Adam LaRoche (10), Jose Lobaton (1)
Team LOB - 5
E - Ian Desmond (5, Misplayed grounder), Gio Gonzalez (1, Throwing), Bryce Harper (2, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez (L,2-1) 6966462 3.50
Ross Detwiler 1.2240131 0.00
Jerry Blevins 0.1000000 5.06
HBP - Freeman (by Gio Gonzalez)
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 103-69, Ross Detwiler 35-23, Jerry Blevins 6-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 3-9, Ross Detwiler 3-0
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 32, Ross Detwiler 9, Jerry Blevins 1
Atlanta Braves
Jason Heyward, RF4311103 .149
B.J. Upton, CF5120012 .191
Freddie Freeman, 1B3224000 .442
Justin Upton, LF3222212 .386
Andrelton Simmons, SS5123002 .306
Gerald Laird, C4000131 .167
Ramiro Pena, 3B4010001 .231
Tyler Pastornicky, 2B3110120 .250
Aaron Harang, P3000024 .000
   Ian Thomas, P0000000 .000
   Jordan Walden, P0000000 .000
   a-Ryan Doumit, PH1000000 .133
   Gus Schlosser, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for Walden in the 8th
2B - Jason Heyward (1, G. Gonzalez), Freddie Freeman (4, Detwiler)
3B - Andrelton Simmons (1, G. Gonzalez), Tyler Pastornicky (1, G. Gonzalez)
HR - Freddie Freeman (4, G. Gonzalez), Justin Upton (4, G. Gonzalez), Andrelton Simmons (1, Detwiler)
SF - Freddie Freeman (1)
RBI - Jason Heyward (5), Freddie Freeman 4 (10), Justin Upton 2 (8), Andrelton Simmons 3 (5)
2-OUT RBI - Freddie Freeman 3 (5), Andrelton Simmons 3 (3)
SB - Jason Heyward (3, 2nd base off Detwiler/Lobaton)
Team LOB - 8
Atlanta Braves
Aaron Harang (W,2-1) 6511150 0.96
Ian Thomas 1000010 2.45
Jordan Walden 1000120 3.60
Gus Schlosser 1111031 7.50
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Harang 101-67, Ian Thomas 12-10, Jordan Walden 19-10, Gus Schlosser 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Harang 3-9, Jordan Walden 1-0
Batters Faced - Aaron Harang 23, Ian Thomas 3, Jordan Walden 4, Gus Schlosser 4
Game Information
Attendance - 27919
Game Time - 2:56
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Adrian Johnson, Third Base - Larry Vanover