Washington, DC – Jesus Flores hit a three-run homer and Stephen Strasburg tossed six solid innings, as the Washington Nationals extended their lead in the NL East with a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Ian Desmond added a solo homer for the Nationals, who have won the first two games of this three-game series to build a seven-game lead in the division.
"The job isn't finished. It's still August," Strasburg said of the seven-game lead. "We're still focused, we're still trying to win as many games as we can, so we got another opportunity tomorrow."
Strasburg (15-5) gave up one run on four hits while striking out 10 for Washington. The 24-year-old has won four straight starts.
Freddie Freeman knocked in the lone run for the Braves, who have lost four in a row.
Paul Maholm (11-8) allowed four runs on seven hits over seven innings to take the loss.
"We have to take care of our business and come in tomorrow and expect to win," Maholm said.
Desmond's homer to left in the second gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead.
The game was delayed by 51 minutes in the top of the third due to rain.
Washington tacked on three more runs in the fifth to make it a 4-0 game. Adam LaRoche singled and Desmond doubled to start the inning. After Danny Espinosa struck out swinging, Flores hit a three-run homer to left.
The Braves managed to get one run back in the sixth. Martin Prado doubled to right, moved to third on Jason Heyward's single and raced home on Freeman's sacrifice fly.
Atlanta failed to score after putting men on the corners with no outs. Heyward singled, stole second and moved to third when Freeman reached base on Tyler Clippard's fielding error. But Clippard settled down and retired the next three batters to pick up his 28th save of the season.
The Nationals improved to 10-4 against the Braves this season ... Heyward had three hits ... Atlanta went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded six ... The Nationals have won 20 straight games in which they have hit at least one homer ... Maholm has struggled in 10 career meetings with Washington, going 1-6.