MLB

Nationals, Braves set for rubber match in Atlanta on TSN2

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The Sports Network
8/10/2014 10:34:53 AM
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Gio Gonzalez aims for his first victory in over a month when the Washington Nationals try to expand their lead in the NL East by playing the Atlanta Braves in the rubber match of a three-game series tonight at Turner Field.

Catch the game on TSN2 starting at 8pm et/5pm pt.

The teams will be playing on short rest, as last night's contest, a 4-1 Washington win in 11 innings, didn't finish until close to 2:30 a.m. The start of the game was delayed 3 hours, 41 minutes by rain, and more wet weather is in the forecast today and tonight.

Winners in three of their last four games, the Nationals hold a 4 1/2-game lead on the Braves for first place.

Gonzalez, though, hasn't been victorious since July 5 against the Chicago Cubs. The lefty is 0-4 in a five-start span since then. He's given up nine runs covering his last two starts, a span of 9 2/3 innings, in losses to the Phillies and Mets. He's 2-7 with a 5.31 ERA in 10 career starts against the Braves and has dropped his last six decisions against them.

Alex Wood, who is 0-2 over his last three starts, counters for the Braves. The lefty has allowed one earned run in each of his last two appearances, but the Braves haven't given him any run support. He is 1-1 with a 1.57 ERA in four starts versus Washington.

Last night, Wilson Ramos hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 11th inning to help the Nationals to victory. Anthony Rendon and Adam LaRoche singled against David Carpenter (4-2) to start the 11th before Ian Desmond lined out to left. James Russell replaced Carpenter and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases with one out.

Anthony Varvaro then came on for Russell and Ramos fisted a base hit into shallow center to plate Rendon. Kevin Frandsen followed with a slicing double down the right-field line that scored LaRoche and Harper to give the Nationals a 4-1 lead.

"It's a big win based off the fact it's two teams just competing the heck out of each other," said Frandsen.

Ramos was thrown out at the plate by Freddie Freeman on the play after he was unable to catch Jason Heyward's cutoff throw from right. Ramos was initially ruled safe, but the play was overturned following a challenge.

Tyler Clippard (7-2) got the win for tossing a scoreless 10th and Rafael Soriano notched his 26th save of the year after blanking Atlanta in the 11th.

Nationals starter Tanner Roark struck out six and allowed a run on six hits and three walks over seven innings.

LaRoche smacked a solo homer among his three hits in the triumph.

Freeman was 3-for-4 for Atlanta, which has dropped nine of its last 10 games.

Braves starter Aaron Harang surrendered a run on seven hits and two walks over seven frames in defeat.

"It's tough," said Harang. "Especially against a team we know we're trying to make up ground on."

Washington's Denard Span enters today with a 13-game hitting streak.

The Braves lead the season series, 8-4, and have won seven of the last nine matchups at Turner Field.

Gio Gonzalez (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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