The Washington Nationals couldn't knock down their magic number as they fell for the third straight game to the Atlanta Braves, who cut the Nats' lead in the NL East to a now-plausible 5.5 games with 16 remaining.
The problem once again was the Nationals' hitting: Washington only managed six runs off of the Braves in the three-game set and were held to one run on six hits on a rainy night in Atlanta. Mike Minor only allowed one run while earning his ninth win, and the Braves' bullpen gave up only one hit in three innings of work to shut the door.
Gio Gonzalez didn't pitch poorly in his attempt at winning a 20th game, giving up two runs in the bottom of the third in a five-inning outing, but it wouldn't be good enough with Washington's bats absent. The Nationals actually had more hits than the Braves, but Atlanta scored regardless with productive outs. A Freddie Freeman sac fly scored a run in the third, and the Braves scored three runs in the seventh on a Ryan Zimmerman error and a questionable decision by Adam LaRoche to try and turn a 3-3-2 double play rather than making the sure play at the plate on a grounder by Jason Hayward, as Michael Bourn beat the tag at home. That was followed by an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch, and Dan Uggla drove home a pair of runs to put the game out of reach.
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