BALTIMORE-- The Washington Nationals took sole possession first place in the National League East for the first time since June 26 on Wednesday night. They'd like to remain there, but manager Matt Williams wants his team to just stay focused on the games in front of them.
Washington's 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles put the Nationals in first place by one game over the Braves. The Mets handed Atlanta a 4-1 loss, which, combined with the Nationals' win, gave Washington that one-game lead.
But after the game, Williams made it clear that he's looking at playing the Orioles, who lead the American League East by 2 1/2 games over Toronto, in the series finale on Thursday and not the weekend series with the Phillies or anything else.
"I'm not peeking around any corners," Williams said. "And neither are these guys. We have to play tomorrow against a very difficult team, and that's what we concentrate on."
The Nationals (49-40) don't see Atlanta (49-42) until a three-game series that starts on Aug. 8, so Williams wants his team to just concentrate on the next game and nothing more.
"We can control our game, and that's it," Williams said.
STREAK: Won one
NEXT: Nationals (LHP Gio Gonzalez, 6-4, 3.52 ERA) at Orioles (LHP Wei-Yin Chen, 8-3, 4.12 ERA)
--RHP Doug Fister improved to 8-2 on the season with a strong seven-inning effort in Wednesday's 6-2 victory over the Orioles. He gave up two runs on seven hits and improved to 52-52 in his career on a night where the right-hander worked his way out of several jams. "It was a battle all night, and that's kind of the way I look at it," Fister said. "It's always a one-pitch adjustment. It's always a battle to keep the ball down."
--C Wilson Ramos extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a solo homer in the second inning Wednesday night. That was his third homer of the season, and this is the longest streak of his career.
--SS Ian Desmond also hit a solo homer in Wednesday's game. That's his third home run in the last eight games, and his 16 homers rank second among National League shortstops.
--3B Anthony Rendon is a finalist for the last spot on the National League All-Star team. The final results of that vote will be announced Thursday, but Rendon -- who usually plays second base -- made an All-Star type of play in Wednesday's win. He scooped up a hard-hit grounder from Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph and turned it into an inning-ending double play as the Nationals were holding on to a two-run lead. "He handled every chance tonight perfectly," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "It's not easy to do, playing second base is completely backwards from playing the other side of the diamond, so it's not an easy transition."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They were all chomping the other night, and it just didn't happen for us. To come back and then respond like they did tonight is a great sign. I think everybody played really well." -- Nationals manager Matt Williams, after a 6-2 win over Baltimore on Wednesday.
--RHP Ross Ohlendorf (right back strain) went on the 15-day disabled list March 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on March 26. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Potomac on May 14. He aggravated the injury May 25.
--OF Eury Perez (left toe fracture) was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and placed on the 60-day disabled list May 16. He began a rehab assignment in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League on July 5, and he moved his rehab to Class A Potomac on July 6.
--RHP Erik Davis (Tommy John surgery in April 2014) went on the 60-day disabled list Feb. 13. He will miss the entire season.
RHP Stephen Strasburg
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
RHP Tanner Roark
RHP Doug Fister
LHP Gio Gonzalez
RHP Rafael Soriano (closer)
RHP Tyler Clippard
RHP Drew Storen
RHP Craig Stammen
RHP Aaron Barrett
LHP Jerry Blevins
LHP Ross Detwiler
1B Adam LaRoche
2B Anthony Rendon
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
INF Danny Espinosa
INF Kevin Frandsen
LF Bryce Harper
CF Denard Span
RF Jayson Werth
OF Nate McLouth
OF Scott Hairston
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