Harang, Upton lead playoff-contending Braves past Strasburg, Nationals 6-2



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Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Aaron Harang delivers a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the second inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


WASHINGTON — Aaron Harang outdueled Stephen Strasburg, Justin Upton drove in three runs and the Atlanta Braves avoided a series sweep in Washington with a 6-2 win over the Nationals on Wednesday.

The Braves snapped a three-game losing streak as Harang (11-10) held the NL East leaders to one unearned run over seven innings. Upton's RBI single in the sixth broke a 1-all tie, and he added a two-run double off reliever Ryan Mattheus during a three-run seventh.

Strasburg (11-11) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings. Bryce Harper homered for Washington, which had won three straight.

B.J. Upton homered for the wild card-contending Braves. Washington leads Atlanta by eight games in the division.

Washington won the opening two games of the series, and success against Atlanta has been historically difficult for the Nationals and Strasburg.

The Nationals dropped to 6-10 this season against the Braves, though they had won five of the previous seven games. They have not swept Atlanta in Washington since 2008.

Strasburg has not earned a win against the Braves since Aug. 21, 2012. In four starts this season against Atlanta, the righty is 0-2 with a 7.18 ERA.

The NL strikeout leader fanned eight, but lost for the first time since August 8. Strasburg entered with a 3-0 record in his previous five starts.

Harang struggled recently, going 0-3 with a 7.98 ERA in his last three starts. That version didn't show Wednesday. He struck out nine and surrendered six while improving to 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA versus Washington this season.

Kevin Frandsen had three singles for the Nationals.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: C Evan Gattis (strep throat) returned to the locker room after spending the previous two days at the team's hotel. Manager Fredi Gonzalez kept him out of Wednesday's lineup and said Gattis will likely serve as Atlanta's designated hitter for the upcoming series in Texas.

Nationals: 3B Anthony Rendon (illness) and SS Ian Desmond (back tightness) were kept out of the starting lineup. Desmond left Tuesday's game after five innings with back tightness. Nationals manager Matt Williams said the shortstop could have played Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Braves: LHP Alex Wood (10-10, 2.90) starts Friday against the Rangers.

Nationals: Tanner Roark (12-10, 2.97) faces Bartolo Colon (13-11, 3.96) on Thursday as the Nationals begin a four-game series at the New York Mets.

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