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Strasburg exits early, Nats' bullpen comes through to down Braves

The Washington Nationals' bullpen kept them ahead following Stephen Strasburg's departure.

Denard Span hit a pair of triples and scored two runs in the Nationals' 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in the opener of a three-game set.

Strasburg was removed from Friday's start following two innings due to an apparent back injury. He appeared to wince after throwing a pitch at one point during the second frame.

"I was not worried so much about his back than his arm," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He's going to fly back to D.C. and be evaluated by our doctors."

Strasburg tossed 23 of his 37 pitches for strikes.

"I definitely could've pitched through it," Strasburg said. "Davey didn't want to take the chance. We just have to be proactive about it, get the treatment so hopefully I'll be able to make the next start."

The combination of Craig Stammen (3-1), Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and Rafael Soriano surrendered just a run on two hits and a walk over the final seven innings.

Stammen fanned three over four scoreless frames.

"With Strasburg going out we thought we had a better chance, but Craig Stammen came in and shut us down. Clippard we were able to get to him, but then Soriano came in and shut us down," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said.

Julio Teheran (3-2) struck out nine, but allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings for Atlanta, which has dropped four of its last six tilts.

Freeman smacked a solo homer and added an RBI single in defeat.

The Nats plated a run in the first and second to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

Span ripped a triple into right to begin the game and scored on Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice fly to left. In the second, Roger Bernadina and Danny Espinosa hit consecutive one-out singles to put runners on the corners, and Bernadina was pushed across on Kurt Suzuki's groundout.

Freeman crushed a leadoff shot deep into the right field seats in the home second to cut the gap to 2-1, but Washington pushed another run across in the sixth.

Span scalded another triple into the right-field corner and again scampered home on a Lombardozzi sac fly to make it 3-1.

Freeman's RBI single in the seventh pulled the Braves within 3-2, but with the bases loaded and one away later in the frame, Clippard struck out Dan Uggla and Chris Johnson to end the threat.

Storen walked one in a scoreless eighth and an easy 1-2-3 ninth for Soriano gave him his 15th save of the year.

Game Notes

Strasburg threw 37 pitches, 23 of them for strikes ... Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper missed his fifth consecutive game due to a knee injury ... Span has five triples on the year.

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