Atlanta, GA – Mike Minor tossed six quality innings and the Braves knocked out Gio Gonzalez early to finish off a three-game sweep of the division-leading Nationals with a 5-1 victory.
The sweep, Atlanta's first of Washington since September 2009, pulled the wild-card leading Braves within 5 1/2 games of the NL East front-runners.
Minor (9-10) allowed just one run on five hits and two walks for the Braves, who had lost three straight entering the series.
Dan Uggla knocked in a pair, while Michael Bourn singled, walked twice and scored two runs on a rainy day at Turner Field.
"We're still 5 1/2 games back, but we all know anything can happen in this game. It's definitely a step in the right direction," Uggla said.
Gonzalez (19-8) trying to become the league's first 20-game winner, labored through five-plus innings and was charged with two runs on four hits and four walks.
"I wasn't pounding the strike zone," Gonzalez said. "I was nipping at corners, trying to be too perfect."
Bourn scored Atlanta's first run in the third inning on Chipper Jones' RBI single, and Freddie Freeman followed with a sacrifice fly to score Jason Heyward.
Bryce Harper led off the away sixth with ground-rule double, and Ian Desmond got Washington on the board with a two-out, RBI single. The run ended Minor's scoreless innings streak at 17 2/3.
The Braves added to their lead with three unearned runs in the seventh.
Bourn earned a one-out walk and raced to third when Ryan Zimmerman booted Reed Johnson's sharp ground ball to third.
Bourn showed off his speed again when he broke to the plate on Heyward's grounder to first. Adam LaRoche fielded the ball and decided to touch first before throwing home. His toss was slightly up the third-base line, allowing Bourn to slide in safely around Kurt Suzuki's tag.
After an intentional walk to Jones and a hit-batsman, Uggla singled through the left side to made it 5-1.
Cory Gearrin and Luis Avilan each threw a perfect inning of relief behind Minor, and Chad Durbin tossed a scoreless ninth to close out the win.
Minor is 3-0 in his last five starts ... This was Gonzalez's shortest outing since going 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Mets on July 19 ... The Braves have nine sweeps on the season ... Washington won the season series, 10-8.