Braves beat Nationals' Gonzalez again

Guy Curtright, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


ATLANTA -- Neither the Washington Nationals nor Gio Gonzalez has fared well against the Atlanta Braves this season.
Gonzalez lost his fourth straight to Atlanta and the Braves improved to 12-4 against the Nationals with a 2-1 victory on Sunday at Turner Field.
The Braves scored their runs off Gonzalez (7-6) in the first inning, and Julio Teheran (10-6) claimed the victory with six scoreless innings as Atlanta won its seventh straight series.
"He didn't have his A-stuff or even his B-stuff, but he battled," catcher Gerald Laird said of the rookie Teheran.
With the relief corps taxed, Teheran had hoped to go a little longer.
"I told the bullpen, 'Sorry,'" the right-hander said. "But I do my best."
Craig Kimbrel, who last blew a save on May 7, pitched around the third hit of the game by Denard Span in the ninth with three strikeouts for his 29th consecutive save conversion, getting Bryce Harper to wrap up his 39th save.
Harper was rung up by third base umpire Marvin Hudson on a checked-swing appeal and wasn't happy about it.
It has been that kind of season for the Nationals.
The Braves, 44-18 at home, have a 15 1/2-game lead over defending division-champion Washington in the National League East.
Unlike the first two games of the series, this one didn't include major controversy or extra innings.
The Braves, who lost a 15-inning Saturday marathon that stretched into Sunday morning, scored twice in the first inning on three singles and a walk, with Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson getting the RBI hits.
B.J. Upton walked leading off against Gonzalez and swiped second before rookie Phil Gosselin dropped down a bunt for his first major league hit. Freeman followed with a single to score Upton, and Gosselin came in on Johnson's single after a double play.
"That first walk, that's what changed the game," Gonzalez said. "After that, they played small ball."
Gonzalez stiffened after the first, though, during his seven-inning outing. The left-hander allowed just two more hits, one a double by Freeman, and three walks while finishing with nine strikeouts.
"I starter always want to go as far as he can," said Gonzalez, who threw 120 pitches.
Teheran, who had ignited the bad blood between the Nationals and Braves by hitting Harper after a homer in Washington on Aug. 6, battled through repeated jams while pitching his six scoreless innings.
Teheran, who struck out five, allowed five hits, walked three and hit a batter. The Nationals left nine runners on base against him.
"I think he had one clean inning," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who pulled Teheran after 105 pitches.
Washington got the first two batters on in each of the three opening innings against Teheran but couldn't move any of them up. The Nationals also wasted a two-out double by Harper in the fifth and left two on in the sixth after a double by Chad Tracy with two outs.
Washington scored in the seventh against the Atlanta bullpen but squandered a chance for a bigger inning. After Scott Downs allowed a hit and a walk, David Carpenter gave up a run-scoring single to Jayson Werth.
Adam LaRoche, though, struck out into an inning-ending double play when Laird gunned down Werth trying to steal second.
Then Jordan Walden pitched a perfect eighth inning and Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth.
"It was a good homestand," Fredi Gonzalez said. "We always talk about winning series and we did it three times."
Harper said that there is a reason the Braves play so well at home.
"I love these fans, I really do," said Harper, who was booed as usual. "These fans help them out unbelievable. ... I'd be stoked to play here every night, too."
NOTES: Washington's 8-7 victory in 15 innings over the Braves on Saturday night took five hours and 29 minutes, making it the longest game in the Nationals' nine-year history. Each team used nine pitchers and there were 513 pitches thrown. ... RHP Brandon Beachy will be moved up to start for the Braves on Tuesday night against the Mets in New York after RHP Kris Medlen pitched three innings in relief against the Nationals and took the loss on LaRoche's homer in the 15th inning. ... The first pitch was delayed 39 minutes on Sunday because of a pregame downpour. ... LF Justin Upton, RF Jason Heyward, C Brian McCann and SS Andrelton Simmons were all out of the Braves' starting lineup. ... Sunday was LF/C Evan Gattis' 27th birthday. ... Braves LHP Paul Maholm (wrist) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a minor league rehab start for Class A Rome on Saturday night, allowing four hits and a run while walking none and striking out six.