Brandon Jones helps Braves beat Nationals
Told that the Braves now have consecutive wins for the first time in 25 games, the second baseman wasn’t surprised.
“Really?” Johnson said. “Yeah, it feels about that.”
The Braves, who hadn’t won two straight since Aug. 9, are just trying to avoid finishing last in the NL East. Atlanta is fourth in the division and nearly mathematically eliminated at 17 1/2 games behind the New York Mets, but at least the Braves are eight games ahead of last-place Washington.
“If that’s not (motivation), then there’s something wrong,” Johnson said. “If there’s ever going to be another team meeting this year, it would be if we were within a few games of (falling into last place). That should be motivation.”
Washington has dropped two straight and three of four after a season-high seven-game winning streak.
Rookie Jair Jurrjens (12-9) allowed six hits, one run and three walks in five innings to win for the first time in five starts. The right-hander, who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first on Roger Bernadina’s groundout, struck out six.
Nationals starter Jason Bergmann (2-11) allowed seven runs and five hits with three walks in 2 1-3 innings, his shortest start this season. He was chased after Casey Kotchman’s bases-loaded walk gave the Braves a 4-1 lead in the third.
“He didn’t have a very good outing,” Washington manager Manny Acta said. “He didn’t give us a chance.”
Reliever Marco Estrada, acquired in the Aug. 20 trade that sent Luis Ayala to the Mets, walked the first batter he faced, Jeff Francoeur, to reload the bases. Jones then doubled to right-center for his first three career RBIs.
The Braves’ first two runs of the third came on Johnson’s RBI double and Brian McCann’s sacrifice fly RBI.
Johnson, now hitting .611 with six extra-base hits in 18 at-bats over his last four games, had a run-scoring single to make it 10-1 in the fifth.
Chipper Jones made it 1-0 in the first with an RBI groundout.
Washington’s other two runs came on Bernadina’s RBI triple in the third and pinch-hitter Aaron Boone’s RBI single in the sixth.
Since beating the Dodgers 9-3 on July 8, Jurrjens had gone 2-5 with a 4.80 ERA in nine starts.
“I’ve been losing control of all my pitches right now,” Jurrjens said. “I don’t know why. I just need to find my release point again. I’m not worried about wins. I’m just trying to finish the season healthy and go into the offseason and work hard.”
Washington fell to 5-17 in games started this year by Bergmann, who is 0-3 with a 10.48 ERA in his last five outings. Against Atlanta, the right-hander has given up 13 runs in only seven innings.
“I don’t want the whole year to end with two bad starts,” Bergmann said when asked if he feared losing his spot in the rotation. “The Braves have given me a bad time twice.”
Washington 3B Ryan Zimmerman went 2-for-4 and has a .409 average while hitting safely in his last 11 games. … Francoeur’s walk in the third left him with a .133 average and 12 RBIs in 30 at-bats with the bases loaded this year. … Acta doesn’t know how much time INF Ronnie Belliard will miss after MRI results confirmed a strained groin.