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Braves Blank The Nationals 5-0 Behind Lowe and Gonzalez

Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Alex Gonzalez connected on a three-run homer and Derek Lowe pitched five effective innings, as the Atlanta Braves shut down the Washington Nationals, 5-0, in the continuation of a three-game series.

Derrek Lee added an RBI double for the Braves, who snapped a four-game losing streak and pulled even with San Diego for the NL wild card lead. The Padres are currently hosting Cincinnati.

Lowe (15-12) won his fourth consecutive start after scattering five hits. He walked one and struck out four.

By winning, Atlanta denied the Phillies an opportunity to clinch their fourth straight NL East division title. Philadelphia entered play Saturday with a magic number of two.

Washington rookie Yunesky Maya (0-3) was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan went 1-for-5 in his return to the lineup after serving an eight-game suspension for inciting a benches-clearing brawl in a September 1 contest against Florida.

Atlanta took advantage of an error to grab a 1-0 lead in the third. Lowe led off with a double and Jason Heyward singled on a pop up that Washington shortstop Ian Desmond lost in the sun to put men on the corners with one out. After Martin Prado popped out in foul territory, Washington third baseman Alberto Gonzalez fielded a grounder by Brian McCann and made an errant throw to first. McCann was credited with a single on the play, during which Lowe came around to score. Maya retrieved the ball and fired home to nail the trailing runner.

The Braves pulled away with a four-run sixth. Prado drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a one-out double by Lee. Nate McLouth then singled and Alex Gonzalez crushed Maya's first offering over the left- field wall to make it 5-0.

Game Notes

Atlanta's Bobby Cox earned the 2,500 win of his managerial career...Washington is still 9-8 against the Braves this season...The Nationals were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base.