Atlanta, GA – Ramiro Pena and B.J. Upton each went deep while Freddie Freeman drove in a pair of runs to help the Atlanta Braves take down the Washington Nationals, 6-3, in the rubber match of a three-game set from Turner Field.
Justin Upton went 3-for-4 while Andrelton Simmons scored twice for Atlanta, which improved to 24-3 this season when scoring first.
Paul Maholm (7-4) hurled six innings, allowing three runs -- two earned -- on five hits while striking out four. Craig Kimbrel earned the save following two perfect innings by Anthony Varvaro and Luis Avilan, giving Atlanta relievers 17 scoreless innings on this current homestand.
"The bullpen was for me, the whole series," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "They've done their job and we've been able to add up some runs."
Ian Desmond recorded two of Washington's five hits, including his seventh home run of the season.
Nathan Karns (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings of work. The loss was the first decision in Karns' career.
"I'm continuing to grow up here," said Karns. "I'm able to become what is more my game up h ere. It's just nice that I am making progress but I'm still not satisfied."
The Nationals had gone five straight games without committing an error before Ryan Zimmerman's throw on Simmons' grounder went wide of first base to open the home half of the first inning. Pena unleashed a drive over the wall in right field on the very next pitch to give the Braves an early 2-0 lead.
Washington tied the score a half inning later, taking advantage of a Braves miscue in the process. Tyler Moore singled home Adam LaRoche for the first run with men on the corners and no outs. Three batters later, Karns reached when Maholm could not handle a toss from Freddie Freeman covering first. Ian Desmond scored on the error.
B.J. Upton, whose 10th inning home run last night won the game for Atlanta, went deep for the second time in as many games with a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the second inning, giving the home team a 3-2 lead.
"Good for him," said Gonzalez. "His at-bats keep getting better and better and better. That's the B.J. Upton that we want to see. It's good that he's coming along."
Brian McCann's single off Zach Duke, who replaced Karns in the fifth after the Nationals starter put two on with two away, plated Justin Upton.
Desmond's solo home run in the top of the sixth brought Washington back within a run, but Freeman extended the Braves lead to 6-3 a half inning later with his two-RBI double to deep left field.
Atlanta improved to 7-3 against Washington this season ... McCann needs two hits to reach 1,000 for his career ... Atlanta pitchers did not walk a batter ... The Nationals hit 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.