Braves aim to stretch lead over Nats
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves will try to continue their dominance of the NL East-rival Washington Nationals when the two clubs square off Friday in the opener of a three-game set at Turner Field.
The Braves are 10-3 against the Nationals this season, have won the last five matchups between the clubs and recorded a three-game sweep over them last week.
Atlanta took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies and recorded a 6-3 triumph Wednesday, as Jason Heyward homered and Chris Johnson posted three RBI. Paul Janish and Freddie Freeman drove in a run apiece for the Braves, who have won six series in a row and are 19-4 in the past 23 games.
"I don't know how long it's been since we lost a series," Janish said. "I think that's the key going into every series, especially at this point of the year. If you can win series from here on out, you're in good shape."
Atlanta last loss a series from July 19-21 against the Chicago White Sox.
Brandon Beachy threw six innings of two-run ball for the win and Craig Kimbrel hurled a flawless ninth inning for his 38th save.
Alex Wood gets the call for the Braves Friday and the rookie is 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA in 20 games, five of which have been starts. Wood, a left-hander, has never faced Washington.
Washington had a five-game winning streak stopped with Thursday's 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants in the finale of a three-game series in D.C.
Ian Desmond had two RBI and Adam LaRoche drove in a run, while Dan Haren's six innings of one-run ball were wasted in a no-decision for the Nationals, who wasted a 3-1 lead in the ninth. Closer Rafael Soriano blew his fifth save of the season for allowing a three-run homer to pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez.
"This one was pretty tough," Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "We had them down to one strike and just couldn't put the finishing touch on them. But they're a good ballclub. They keep grinding at-bats, fighting, and fortunately for them, they got one."
Nationals rookie Taylor Jordan draws the start for Washington and is 1-3 with a 4.14 earned run average in eight starts. Jordan has never pitched against the Braves and is 0-2 in four road assignments.
08/16 10:58:14 ET