Medlen aims to pitch streaking Braves to sweep of Nats
Righty Kris Medlen can pitch Atlanta to a sweep on Wednesday night when the Braves return to Washington to complete a three-game series with the hosting Nationals.
The Braves won the second game of the series on Tuesday night, when Julio Teheran pitched six solid innings and Evan Gattis had a two-run single in a 2-1 triumph that widened their lead to 14 1/2 games over Washington atop the National League's East Division.
With its 12th consecutive win, Atlanta has recorded its longest winning streak since a 15-game run from April 16-May 2, 2000.
Teheran (9-5) gave up a run on four hits and fanned four to remain unbeaten in his last four starts. He did, however, draw the attention of the Nationals after plunking Bryce Harper in the fifth inning.
Both dugouts and bullpens cleared before order was restored.
Harper went deep in the third inning and stood at the plate for a moment to admire his 17th homer of the season, a blast to center, before rounding the bases.
Gio Gonzalez (7-5), who was cleared of any illegal activity in the Biogenesis case Monday and avoided a suspension, surrendered six hits and two runs over seven innings.
The Braves won seven of the first 10 games between the teams this season, including two of three when they last played from May 31 to June 2 in Atlanta.
Medlen, who was a scintillating 10-1 as a starter/reliever last season, dropped three straight outings between July 7-July 23 to fall to 6-10 this year.
He's bounced back with two straight wins, however, defeating St. Louis and Philadelphia while combining to surrender six runs on 14 hits in 12 innings of work.
He is 2-2 in 12 career meetings with the Nationals while posting a 2.12 earned run average and allowing an opposition batting average of .248 in 34 full innings.
Medlen last faced the Nationals on May 2 and dropped a 3-1 decision after allowing seven hits and three runs in seven innings.
He's opposed by Washington ace Jordan Zimmerman, who picked up a career-best 13th victory in his last start on Aug. 2 in Milwaukee.
In that game, the 27-year-old Wisconsin native pitched six innings of scoreless four-hit ball in a 4-1 triumph.
His previous best win total for a season was 2012, when he went 12-8 in 32 starts with a 2.94 ERA in 195 2/3 innings.
Zimmerman is 3-1 in six career starts against Atlanta.