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Braves batter Nationals to complete sweep

Apr 14, 2014 - 1:46 AM Atlanta, GA ( - Justin Upton, Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons all belted homers as the Atlanta Braves completed a three-game sweep of the banged-up Washington Nationals with a 10-2 rout at Turner Field.

Freeman finished 2-for-3 with four RBI, Simmons knocked in three runs on a pair of hits and Upton ended 2-for-3 with two RBI for the Braves, who benefited from a third straight strong start from Aaron Harang as well to move to 5-1 against Washington this season.

Harang (2-1) held the Nationals to a run on five hits while striking out five over six innings. The veteran righty, picked up by Atlanta late in spring training, has a 0.96 ERA through his first three outings.

The Braves battered Gio Gonzalez (2-1) for six runs over the opening two innings en route to the victory, though the Nationals starter was able to last six frames and record six strikeouts while not giving up a run over his final four innings.

Washington, which lost both third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (broken thumb) and center fielder Denard Span (concussion) during the series, registered just six hits, with Bryce Harper and Kevin Frandsen notching two each and Adam LaRoche hitting a late home run.

The Braves jumped all over Gonzalez right from the outset, putting up three first-inning runs to give Harang some early breathing room.

Jason Heyward began the outburst with a walk and B.J. Upton dropped down a bunt single, in which Gonzalez threw wildly to first to swiftly put two in scoring position. A Freeman sac fly knocked in the initial run, and Justin Upton followed with a long homer over the center-field wall to extend the margin.

Atlanta scored three more times in the bottom of the second, which Tyler Pastornicky started with a triple to right before Heyward doubled him home one out later. Two batters later, Freeman launched an inside fastball into the right-field seats to increase the lead to 6-0.

"With good hitting teams, you leave the ball up and any single mistake is going to go out there and you'll pay for them," Gonzalez remarked. "That's exactly what happened."

Harang was considerably more sharp than his counterpart, permitting just two hits and a walk while blanking Washington through the first four innings.

"When the guys come out and they put up runs on the board early, as a pitcher you can just settle back and just throw your game knowing you have some leeway to play with," Harang said.

He did run into some trouble in the fifth, when Frandsen doubled, moved to third on a Danny Espinosa bunt single and crossed the plate on Jose Lobaton's groundout.

Harper led off the sixth with a double, but was left stranded as Harang retired the next three Nationals.

Freeman's fourth RBI of the day came on an eighth-inning double off Ross Detwiler that plated Heyward, who had reached on an error. Both he and Justin Upton came home on Simmons' blast to center that put Atlanta up 10-1 entering the ninth.

LaRoche capped the scoring by homering off Gus Schlosser in the top of the ninth.

Game Notes

Justin Upton went 8-for-10 with two homers for the series and is 11-of-14 with four home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored over his last four games ... Freeman extended his hitting streak to nine games and is batting .471 (16-for- 34) with two homers over that stretch ... Gonzalez is 0-6 with a 5.49 ERA in his last seven starts against Atlanta ... Frandsen was a late addition to the lineup when the Nationals scratched Nate McLouth for reasons undisclosed ... Harang went 0-3 with an 11.37 ERA in three April starts with Seattle last season.

    ATLANTA: 10

    Apr 13 4:32 PM

  • Adam LaRoche lead-off Home Run (3) to center. Ian Desmond due up.

    Nationals 2, Braves 10  Top 9, 0 OutsApr 13 4:28 PM

  • Andrelton Simmons two-out, three-run Home Run (1) to center scored Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton. Gerald Laird due up.

    Nationals 1, Braves 10  Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 13 4:17 PM
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    Nationals 1, Braves 10  Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 13 4:17 PM

  • Freddie Freeman doubled to left scoring Jason Heyward. Runner on second with two outs and Justin Upton due up.

    Nationals 1, Braves 7  Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 13 4:13 PM
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    Nationals 1, Braves 7  Bot 8, 2 OutsApr 13 4:13 PM

  • Jose Lobaton grounded out second to first scoring Kevin Frandsen. On the play, Danny Espinosa advances to second. Runner on second with one out and Gio Gonzalez due up.

    Nationals 1, Braves 6  Top 5, 1 OutApr 13 2:54 PM

  • Freddie Freeman two-out, two-run Home Run (4) to right scored Jason Heyward. Justin Upton due up.

    Nationals 0, Braves 6  Bot 2, 2 OutsApr 13 2:18 PM
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    Nationals 0, Braves 6  Bot 2, 2 OutsApr 13 2:18 PM

  • Jason Heyward doubled to right scoring Tyler Pastornicky. Runner on second with one out and B.J. Upton due up.

    Nationals 0, Braves 4  Bot 2, 1 OutApr 13 2:15 PM

  • Justin Upton one-out, two-run Home Run (4) to center scored B.J. Upton. Andrelton Simmons due up.

    Nationals 0, Braves 3  Bot 1, 1 OutApr 13 1:56 PM
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    Nationals 0, Braves 3  Bot 1, 1 OutApr 13 1:56 PM

  • Freddie Freeman sacrifice fly out to right scored Jason Heyward. On the play, B.J. Upton advances to third. Runner on third with one out and Justin Upton due up.

    Nationals 0, Braves 1  Bot 1, 1 OutApr 13 1:54 PM

    ATLANTA: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Apr 13 1:36 PM
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    Nationals 0, Braves 0  Top 1, 0 OutsApr 13 1:36 PM