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Nyjer Morgan scores 2 runs, John Lannan wins third straight as Nationals top Braves 6-2

Nyjer Morgan had two hits and scored two runs in his return from the disabled list, Willie Harris padded the lead with a two-run homer in the ninth and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Thursday.

John Lannan (5-5) gave up two runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings to win his third straight start.

Derek Lowe (11-11) pitched seven innings for Atlanta, yielding four runs and six hits.

Braves first baseman Eric Hinske was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. The Braves should have a new starter at the position this weekend when Derrek Lee, acquired from the Cubs on Wednesday for three minor leaguers, joins the Braves on Friday before they begin a series in Chicago.

The Nationals avoided a three-game sweep and stopped Atlanta's four-game winning streak.

Michael Morse, making only his fourth start of the season at first base, helped Washington get off to a fast start with a solo drive in the second inning for his ninth homer.

Catcher Brian McCann was positioned for an inside pitch, but Lowe left it out over the plate and Morse's drive landed about 10 rows deep in the left-field seats. The shot ended a streak of 84 1-3 consecutive innings without a homer allowed by an Atlanta pitcher.

Morgan, who returned from a sore hip, singled to center in the third, stole second and scored on Ian Desmond's single.

Morgan led off the fifth with a single to left. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Roger Bernadina's double to right. Ryan Zimmerman drove in Bernadina with a single to left to push the lead to 4-0.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he will give Bernadina, a rookie, a look in left field. Josh Willingham was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will have surgery next week to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. Riggleman said it is unlikely Willingham will return this season.

The Braves scored two runs off Lannan in the sixth. Omar Infante and Jason Heyward reached on singles and scored on Matt Diaz's double to the right-field corner.

Harris' homer off Kyle Farnsworth drove in Adam Kennedy, who led off with a walk. The homer by Harris, a native of Cairo, Ga., who played for Atlanta in 2007, landed in the Braves' bullpen behind the right-field wall.

NOTES: The series attracted the two smallest crowds of the season at Turner Field. Thursday's total of 15,593 set a new season low, following 16,911 on Tuesday. ... Braves LHP Eric O'Flaherty (mononucleosis) was activated from the 15-day disabled list after the game. Rookie LHP Mike Dunn was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after striking out two batters in the eighth. Dunn also walked a batter. ... Ramos was 0 for 4 in his first start for the Nationals since he was acquired in the July 30 trade that sent closer Matt Capps to Minnesota. Ramos was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday. ... Lannan has allowed only two earned runs in each of his four starts in August to lower his ERA from 5.76 to 5.13.

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