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(Wednesday, September 18th)
Final Score: Atlanta 5, Washington 2
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Justin Upton clubbed a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning to help the Atlanta Braves avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals with a 5-2 triumph at Nationals Park.
Dan Uggla led off the decisive sixth frame with a home run to left, while Brian McCann added an RBI double in the seventh for the Braves, who snapped a three-game losing streak and trimmed their magic number to two to clinch the NL East.
Kameron Loe (1-2) picked up the win after recording the final out in the fifth in relief of starter Alex Wood, who allowed two unearned runs on six hits over 4 2/3 frames.
Craig Kimbrel, who gave up a career-high three runs in the opener of Tuesday's doubleheader to snap his franchise-record streak of 37 straight save conversions, retired the Nationals in order in the ninth to secure his 48th save of the season.
Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper registered an RBI apiece for Washington, while Denard Span singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to 29 games, one shy of the Nationals' franchise record set by Ryan Zimmerman from Apr. 8-May 12, 2009.
Washington starter Ross Ohlendorf (4-1) struck out six over six innings of work, but was charged for three runs on four hits to absorb the loss.
Washington, which had a three-game win streak halted, fell 5 1/2 games back of Cincinnati for the final NL wild card spot after the Reds outlasted Houston later on Wednesday.
"We just can't afford to lose," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "It's that simple. We just need to get back at it tomorrow."
The Nationals broke a scoreless deadlock in the fifth, as Anthony Rendon smacked a leadoff single and moved to second on Ohlendorf's sacrifice bunt before Span reached on Freddie Freeman's fielding error to put men on the corners with one out.
After Zimmerman walked on four pitches to load the bases, Werth took the eighth pitch of his at-bat inside for a ball to force in a run.
Wood immediately threw his arms in the air and screamed at home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to protect his pitcher and was promptly tossed by Bucknor.
Once the dust had settled, Harper lifted Wood's next offering into center for a sacrifice fly that scored Span and increased Washington's edge.
Wood was then replaced on the mound, but had a few choice words for Bucknor on his way toward the dugout before being ejected.
"It was just one of those things. I let my emotions get the best of me there in the latter part of that inning," Wood said. "It was a big situation. I felt the call could have gone the other way, and I kind of did some things, said some things I probably shouldn't have said."
Ohlendorf, meanwhile, allowed just one hit and faced the minimum through five innings before Uggla launched the first pitch of the sixth into the seats in left to make it 2-1.
Jordan Schafer followed with a bunt down the first-base line that Ohlendorf fielded, but his throw sailed into foul territory down the right-field line, allowing Schafer to scurry all the way to third.
Ohlendorf nearly wiggled out of trouble by fanning pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich and inducing an infield popout from Elliot Johnson, but Upton crushed the first pitch he saw from the Washington right-hander into the seats in left-center field to put the Braves on top, 3-2.
Atlanta added a run in the seventh when Evan Gattis smacked a leadoff single before being replaced by pinch-runner Andrelton Simmons, who scored easily when McCann followed with a double to right-center to make it 4-2.
The Nats put runners on second and third with two outs in the home half of the seventh, but David Carpenter got Ian Desmond to fly out to right to end the inning.
Atlanta tacked on an insurance run in the ninth when Schafer slapped a line drive to second that Rendon couldn't corral, allowing McCann to score from third to account for the final margin.
Atlanta won the season series against Washington, 13-6 ... Span's 29-game hit streak is the longest in the majors this season ... Washington went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
09/19 01:31:00 ET
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