With Gio Gonzalez pitching for Washington and Brandon Beachy taking the mound for the Braves, runs could be at a premium in the finale of a three-game series between these NL East rivals.
Atlanta, which has lost six in a row, has fallen three games off the pace set by Washington in the division.
With both hurlers sporting sub-2.00 ERAs, it may be up to Beachy to stop the longest skid by the Braves since a nine-game stretch, April 21-29, 2010. The right-hander had been 5-0 over a seven-start span until losing at Cincinnati on Tuesday when he gave up three homers. Beachy is 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA in three career games against the Nationals.
Gonzalez is on a personal four-game winning streak. He threw six shutout innings in a 2-1 win at Philadelphia on Tuesday. The lefty has never faced the Braves.
On Saturday, Chad Tracy ripped the go-ahead pinch-hit RBI double as part of a two-run sixth inning and the Nationals pulled out an 8-4 victory.
Danny Espinosa finished 2-for-5 with a three-run homer, Bryce Harper ripped a solo shot, Rick Ankiel added a pinch-hit RBI triple and Adam LaRoche contributed a pair of RBI for the Nationals, who have won five of their last six games.
Stephen Strasburg (5-1) blew a 4-0 lead and left the game after five innings, but he was bailed out by his offense in the sixth to come away with the win. He allowed four runs on six hits and four walks while fanning six. Tyler Clippard got the final two outs in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.
"We just try to go out and win as many games as we can," remarked Strasburg. "It's great that we were able to go out and win it and pick me up. I wasn't happy with it, but the bottom line is we won."
Dan Uggla clubbed a two-run homer, while J.C. Boscan and Juan Francisco also drove in a run for the Braves.
"It's tough. We've got a lot of our key guys down right now," Uggla said. "It's tough to win when your horses aren't in the lineup. We just have to hope and pray they can get back as soon as possible."
Kris Medlen (1-1) allowed two runs on three hits to take the loss.
The Nationals have won four in a row in this series since losing three straight.