05/28/2012 - Atlanta, GA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - Gio Gonzalez struck out 10 through seven dominant innings and the Washington Nationals capped a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 7-2 victory on Sunday.
Gonzalez (7-1) allowed just one hit, three walks and two runs in Washington's sixth win in seven games. He also knocked in a run for his first career RBI.
"I was just going out there trying to see if I could hang with the rest of the rotation, especially the way these guys are throwing the ball," said Gonzalez. "It's been fun. The rotation has been looking good and all I'm just trying to do is keep up with it."
With the win, the Nationals improved to 29-18 on the season and are 11 games over .500 for the first time since their inaugural season in DC when they were 55-44 after playing their 99th game on July 25, 2005.
Steve Lombardozzi knocked in a pair of runs while Jesus Flores added three hits, two RBI and a run scored for Washington before leaving the game in the seventh inning with an undisclosed injury suffered while running the bases.
Brandon Beachy (5-3) gave up three runs -- one earned -- on three hits and four walks with seven strikeouts over five-plus innings to suffer the loss.
Michael Bourn scored both runs for the Braves, who dropped their seventh straight game.
With the score tied 2-2, Beachy was replaced by Livan Hernandez after hitting Danny Espinosa to lead off the sixth inning and Hernandez immediately issued a free pass to Rick Ankiel.
Flores stepped up next and slapped a single up the middle to bring home Espinosa. After a Gonzalez sacrifice bunt placed runners on second and third with one out, Lombardozzi pulled a two-run double into the right-field corner.
Two batters later, Ryan Zimmerman slapped a base hit to right to plate Lombardozzi and put the Nationals ahead, 6-2.
Bryce Harper's leadoff blast into the right-field bleachers in the eighth inning finalized the scoring as the Braves had just three baserunners over their final four at-bats and no runner reach second until Dan Uggla's one-out double in the ninth.
"It's tough to struggle. I think everyone in every team kind of has their skids, but we've got some guys banged up right now that are pretty key pieces to our team. We're just trying to get healthy and continuing to go out there and play hard," Braves shortstop Tyler Pastornicky said.
After Washington stranded runners on second and third in the top of the first inning, the Braves took the lead in the bottom of the frame when Bourn worked a leadoff walk, stole second, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Pastornicky and came home on Martin Prado's groundout to short.
Bourn gave Atlanta a 2-0 lead in the third when he sent a one-out triple into the right-center field gap and crossed the plate the next batter on Pastornicky's squeeze bunt.
But Washington answered in the fourth inning after loading the bases with no outs on walks by Adam LaRoche and Espinosa around Pastornicky's missed catch error at second base on Ian Desmond's potential double-play grounder.
Ankiel struck out before Flores sent a base hit to left, plating LaRoche. Gonzalez then lifted a sacrifice fly to left-center field to score Desmond, but Lombardozzi followed with a soft liner to second to end the inning and keep it a 2-2 game.
Beachy fell to 1-2 in four career appearances against Washington...Gonzalez has won five straight starts...The Nationals have won five straight over the Braves...Atlanta struck out 13 times in the game...The Nationals are now 11-3 against the NL East on the season.
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