Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Mike Morse and Willie Harris each homered, as the Washington Nationals took down the Atlanta Braves, 6-2, to avoid a three- game sweep at Turner Field.
Ryan Zimmerman, Roger Bernadina, and Ian Desmond each had an RBI for the Nationals, who had lost eight of 10 coming into Thursday’s game.
John Lannan (5-5) lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits to win his third straight start. The left-hander also struck out five and walked one.
“It’s always good to win the last game,” Harris said. “Obviously, you want to win the series.”
Matt Diaz hit a two-run double for the Braves, who had a four-game win streak snapped.
Derek Lowe (11-11) went seven frames in the start, giving up four runs on six hits to suffer the loss. The right-hander also fanned six batters and walked zero.
The Braves maintained their 2 1/2 game lead over Philadelphia for first place in the NL East. Philadelphia lost to San Francisco on Thursday.
Morse’s solo blast to left in the second put the Nationals on the board.
Washington added another run in the third to make it 2-0. Nyjer Morgan hit a two-out single, stole second, and crossed the plate on Desmond’s base hit up the middle.
The Nationals plated two more runs in the top of the sixth. Morgan singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Bernadina’s double. Zimmerman followed with an RBI single to extend Washington’s lead to 4-0.
Atlanta finally got to Lannan in the home sixth. Omar Infante and Jason Heyward started the inning with consecutive singles to put men on the corners. After Martin Prado struck out, Diaz hit a two-run double down the right- field line. Brian McCann then walked, chasing Lannan from the game. Joel Peralta took over and got Alex Gonzalez to foul out to first. Diaz, who was on his way to third on the play, was thrown out at second to end the frame, but not before Atlanta made it 4-2.
Tyler Clippard, who struck out the side in the seventh, stayed on to pitch the eighth for the Nats. Infante and Heyward got the inning started with back-to- back walks. Prado put down a bunt that catcher Wilson Ramos picked up and threw to third for the force out. The runners moved up to second and third on Diaz’s fly out. Sean Burnett came in from the bullpen and got McCann to line out to keep Washington in front.
Harris hit a two-run homer off Kyle Farnsworth in the top of the ninth to give the Nats a 6-2 margin.
Drew Storen pitched a perfect home ninth to seal the victory.
“It’s not deflating. We’re the same team we’ve been all year. A loss is a loss. They played us tough in each game of the series,” Heyward said.
Atlanta and Washington have split 12 games this season…The Nationals placed outfielder Josh Willingham on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and activated outfielder Morgan, who went 2-for-5 with two runs scored…The Nats avoided their seventh sweep of the year…Atlanta finished a seven-game homestand with a 5-2 record…The Braves were without newly-acquired first baseman Derrek Lee (back)…Lannan improved to 4-4 lifetime against Atlanta…Lowe fell to 6-7 in 21 career games (15 starts) against the Nationals.