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Atlanta at Washington

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Atlanta (38-37)000001000141
Washington (39-35) «20001001x491

Nationals split series with Braves, extend lead in NL East

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals have experienced a lot of disappointment at the hands of the Atlanta Braves since the start of last season.

It was the Braves who looked frustrated Sunday.

Tanner Roark won his fourth straight start, Denard Span had an RBI double and the Nationals beat the Braves 4-1 Sunday for a split of the four-game series between NL East rivals.

Span, Danny Espinosa and Adam LaRoche had two hits apiece as Washington won the final two games of the series.

"That's a really good team that's had our number the last year and a half, two years. This is a step in the right direction," a cautious Ryan Zimmerman said. "I really don't think they're going anywhere. We're going to have to continue to play well against them."

The Nationals improved to 3-7 against Atlanta this season and 9-20 since the beginning of 2013.

Roark (7-4) went 5 1-3 innings, allowing a run and four hits as Washington increased its division lead over the Braves to 1 1/2 games.

"He wasn't throwing it exactly where he wanted to, but he was able to work through it." Manager Matt Williams said. "He wanted to stay in the game when I went and got him."

Craig Stammen came on to end a sixth-inning Braves rally, Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth and Rafael Soriano the ninth for his 17th save. Washington relievers retired all 11 batters they faced, lowering their bullpen's major league-best ERA to 2.50.

Freddie Freeman had two hits for Atlanta. Evan Gattis went 0 for 3 to snap his 20-game hitting streak.

"You know what, it's funny, baseball is," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "If we would've lost the first two games and won the last two games you'd be feeling pretty good about yourselves. It didn't happen that way, it happened the other way, so you're not feeling real good about yourself."

Atlanta's Chris Johnson was ejected for arguing a checked-swing call in the sixth. Teammate Justin Upton was ejected for arguing after a swinging strikeout in the ninth.

Ervin Santana (5-5) went six innings, giving up three runs and six hits. He walked one and struck out nine.

With Washington leading 3-0, the first two Braves reached against Roark in the sixth. Williams visited the mound but left Roark in to face Jason Heyward. Roark got Heyward on a fly to right, but Justin Upton singled home Freddie Freeman to make 3-1, ending Roark's afternoon.

Stammen came on to pitch to Johnson, who attempted to check his swing on a 1-2 pitch. Nationals catcher Sandy Leon appealed the ball call, and first base umpire Tim Welke ruled Johnson had gone around for strike three.

Johnson immediately began yelling and gesturing at Welke and was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Carlson. Stammen retired Andrelton Simmons to end the inning.

Anthony Rendon made it 4-1 when he doubled in the eighth and later scored on Luis Avilan's wild pitch.

Roark walked three and struck out three.

"I know they like to swing early," he said. "They like fastballs. I had a feel for the slider in the bullpen (and) I threw it a lot."

Washington got to Santana in the first, getting and RBI single from LaRoche that deflected off diving shortstop Simmons' glove. Ryan Zimmerman had a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Atlanta threatened in the third. With one out, LaRoche misplayed Freeman's grounder down the first base line for a two-base error. But Roark got Gattis on a grounder to third, and, after Heyward walked, Justin Upton hit into a fielder's choice.

"We did a good job of getting Roark's pitch count today," Freeman said. "I feel like we just missed some. I know I just missed a couple. Just a little off the barrel today."

The Nationals made it 3-0 the fifth.

Sandy Leon opened with a single and Roark sacrificed him to second. Span then lined a double to left, scoring Leon.

Notes

Nationals C Wilson Ramos (left hamstring strain) went 1 for 3 with a homer and three RBIs in his first rehab game with Double-A Harrisburg Saturday night. He's expected to rejoin the Nationals this week. ... Freeman began the day as one of only three NL players to start all of their team's games, along with Starlin Castro (Cubs) and Hunter Pence (Giants). ... Atlanta is off Monday before opening a 3-game series Tuesday in Houston. ... Gio Gonzalez (3-4, 4.85) opposes Matt Garza (4-4, 4.02) Monday when Washington opens a 3-game series at Milwaukee.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Washington's Tanner Roark goes 5 1/3 innings, allowing a run and four hits to win his fourth straight start. (USATSI)
Washington's Tanner Roark goes 5 1/3 innings, allowing a run and four hits to win his fourth straight start. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

E. Santana
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 3
BB 1
K 9
Washington

A. Rendon
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Tommy La Stella, 2B3000100 .302
B.J. Upton, CF4000012 .202
Freddie Freeman, 1B4120000 .289
Evan Gattis, C3000102 .294
Jason Heyward, RF3000102 .256
Justin Upton, LF4011022 .272
Chris Johnson, 3B3010012 .281
   Ramiro Pena, 3B1000010 .205
Andrelton Simmons, SS4000013 .253
Ervin Santana, P2000011 .094
   a-Jordan Schafer, PH1000000 .186
   Shae Simmons, P0000000 .000
   Luis Avilan, P0000000 .000
   David Hale, P0000000 .091
Totals3214137  
a-grounded out for Santana in the 7th
Batting
RBI - Justin Upton (38)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - La Stella-Simmons
E - Ervin Santana (1, Throwing)
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ervin Santana (L,5-5) 6633190 4.15
Shae Simmons 1.2211000 1.80
Luis Avilan 0100000 4.50
David Hale 0.1000000 3.14
WP - Luis Avilan (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Ervin Santana 92-62, Shae Simmons 25-15, Luis Avilan 5-3, David Hale 3-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ervin Santana 4-4, Shae Simmons 2-2, David Hale 1-0
Batters Faced - Ervin Santana 24, Shae Simmons 6, Luis Avilan 1, David Hale 1
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF4021000 .274
Anthony Rendon, 3B3210102 .275
Jayson Werth, RF4110023 .271
Adam LaRoche, 1B4021021 .305
Ryan Zimmerman, LF3001011 .245
Ian Desmond, SS3000021 .231
Danny Espinosa, 2B3020010 .235
Sandy Leon, C3110011 .179
Tanner Roark, P1000000 .167
   Craig Stammen, P0000000 .250
   a-Greg Dobbs, PH1000001 .179
   Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals2949319  
a-lined out for Stammen in the 7th
Batting
2B - Denard Span (23, Santana), Anthony Rendon (15, S. Simmons), Danny Espinosa (10, S. Simmons)
SF - Ryan Zimmerman (2)
SH - Tanner Roark (8)
RBI - Denard Span (17), Adam LaRoche (36), Ryan Zimmerman (16)
CS - Danny Espinosa (1, 2nd base by Santana/Gattis)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Adam LaRoche (4, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tanner Roark (W,7-4) 5.1411330 2.79
Craig Stammen (H,3) 1.2000010 2.58
Tyler Clippard (H,17) 1000000 2.18
Rafael Soriano (S,17) 1000030 1.16
Pitches-Strikes - Tanner Roark 96-66, Craig Stammen 15-11, Tyler Clippard 11-8, Rafael Soriano 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tanner Roark 6-8, Craig Stammen 3-1, Tyler Clippard 2-1
Batters Faced - Tanner Roark 24, Craig Stammen 5, Tyler Clippard 3, Rafael Soriano 3
Game Information
Attendance - 39473
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Mark Carlson, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Todd Tichenor, Third Base - Clint Fagan