Braves Complete Sweep of Nationals With 5-1 Win

September 16, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) pitches in the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

A streaky season continues as the Braves, fresh off of a sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers, completed a three-game sweep of their own against the National League East leading Washington Nationals.

Atlanta received another solid outing from Mike Minor, and used a patient approach to get the better of Washington starter Gio Gonzalez en route to a 5-1 win at a damp Turner Field on Sunday.

The Braves opened the scoring in the third inning against Gonzalez. Michael Bourn worked an eight pitch walk to start things off, and advanced to third on a single to right by Jason Heyward. Chipper Jones followed with a single to score Bourn, and Heyward scampered in on a sacrifice fly from Freddie Freeman for an early 2-0 advantage.

Minor escaped a fourth inning, runners on first and second with one jam thanks to a timely double play ball off the bat of Danny Espinosa.

The only trouble for the Braves' left-hander came in the sixth inning, as Bryce Harper started things off with a ground-rule double. Harper moved up to third on a groundout, and scored on an Ian Desmond single to center.

Gonzalez left in the bottom of the frame after walking Chipper and allowing a double to Freeman to start the inning off. Atlanta forced him to throw 110 pitches, and he allowed four hits and four walks in five innings of work.

Minor left after the sixth, finishing with a line of six IP, five hits, one run (earned), two walks, and three strikeouts.

Atlanta's offense added some insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, plating three runs on just one hit. Craig Stammen allowed a one out walk to Michael Bourn, who advanced to third on an error by Ryan Zimmerman that allowed Reed Johnson to reach first.

Sean Burnett came in to replace Stammen after that, and Jason Heyward grounded to first, allowing Bourn to fly in and score. That made it a 3-1 game. An eventual intentional walk to Chipper and a hit by pitch to Freddie Freeman loaded the bases for Dan Uggla, who corked a single into left field that scored both Johnson and Chipper.

Cory Gearrin, Luis Avilan, and Chad Durbin combined to pitch the final three scoreless innings. Atlanta's magic number for a playoff bid now sits at eight games.

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