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Preview: Braves (66-60) at Nationals (71-53)
BT Movements  ·  Line Movements
Game: 3
Venue: Nationals Park
Date: June 21, 2014 7:15 PM EDT

Just after a slump cost the Atlanta Braves the NL East lead, they got to face a team they've dominated recently - the one which had caught them.

Atlanta is back in first place after taking the first two of a four-game set with the Washington Nationals, and looks to extend its run in the series to six in a row behind ace Julio Teheran on Saturday night.

The East race has been generally controlled by Atlanta (38-35), which opened 17-7 and held a three-game lead as recently as June 1. However, the Braves then lost 10 of 15 to head to the nation's capital tied with Miami for second place, 1 1/2 games behind Washington.


The Atlanta pitching staff was mostly to blame, posting a 6.10 ERA in nine games before this series. Seeing the Nationals, though, seems to bring out its best.

The Braves limited them to three hits in a 3-0 win Thursday and held a 4-2 lead with two outs in the ninth Friday before closer Craig Kimbrel served up a two-run homer to Anthony Rendon. Kimbrel had a 0.92 ERA over his previous 30 appearances against Washington.

Yet, Atlanta didn't allow another hit and won 6-4 in 13 innings, improving to 7-1 in the season series with a 2.01 ERA. Washington (37-35) has hit .181 in five meetings at Nationals Park.

The Braves are 12-3 in D.C. as part of a stretch during which they've won 24 of 31 over Washington.

"Two years ago, it seemed like we beat the Braves every time we played them," Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "And now the last (two years) it's been the other way. I think it's just one of those things in baseball that goes back and forth. Lately, they've just had our number."

Zimmerman has hit .178 in his last 20 matchups with Atlanta, including 5 for 42 in 12 home games and only an infield single in this series.

Zimmerman hasn't homered in 18 games since April 11, when he went deep off Teheran (6-4, 2.31 ERA). The right-hander allowed 10 hits and five runs - two earned - in six innings that night, but the Braves won 7-6 in 10. He beat the Nationals six days earlier with seven strong innings in a 6-2 victory, and Atlanta has won six of his seven starts against them.

He's 7-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last 10 against NL East foes after holding Philadelphia to one run in eight innings of a 6-1, 13-inning loss Monday. Teheran has surrendered two earned runs or fewer in 12 of 15 starts.

Washington's Doug Fister (5-2, 3.08) had done that in six straight before struggling Sunday. He yielded four runs and seven hits, including two homers, in six innings of a 5-2 defeat at St. Louis.

"I've got to do a lot better when it comes to critical pitches," Fister said. "That's what it comes down to."

The right-hander won his only start against Atlanta, striking out eight in seven innings of Detroit's 8-3 victory April 28, 2013.

He'll be facing many hot Braves hitters. Freddie Freeman is 6 for 11 in this series and has eight extra-base hits in his last seven games after homering Friday. Evan Gattis singled home the go-ahead run for his 21st RBI during a 19-game hitting streak, currently the majors' longest and the team record for a catcher. Chris Johnson had his eighth multihit effort in 12 games.

One player Fister likely won't face is Justin Upton, who missed a third straight start due to dizziness.

"He is frustrated with the way his body feels and the way he feels physically," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, who revealed Upton would get a full evaluation.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

Braves at Nationals
Thu, Jun 19 Final 3 to 0
 Boxscores    Recaps
Braves at Nationals
Fri, Jun 20 Final 6 to 4
 Boxscores    Recaps
Braves at Nationals
Sat, Jun 21 Final 0 to 3
 Boxscores    Recaps

 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 ATL  +106   -220   7 
 WAS  -116   +180   

 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 ATL  +110   -210   7 
 WAS  -120   +177   

 Team  ML   RUN   O/U 
 ATL  33%   28%   27% 
 WAS  67%   72%   73% 

 Jun 20, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 6 Cover: +140 
 WAS 4 Over: 10 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Jun 19, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 3 Cover: +130 
 WAS 0 Under: 3 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 13, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 2 Over: 12 
 ATL 10 Cover: +119 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 12, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 3 Over: 9 
 ATL 6 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 11, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 6 Over: 13 
 ATL 7 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 6, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 1 Under: 3 
 WAS 2 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 5, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 6 Cover: +144 
 WAS 2 Over: 8 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Apr 4, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 ATL 2 Cover: +155 
 WAS 1 Under: 3 
 Tools:   Boxscores    Recaps
 Mar 6, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 2 Over: 5 
 ATL 3 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Recaps
 Mar 4, 2014  Score  ATS Results 
 WAS 4 Over: 12 
 ATL 8 Cover: +100 
 Tools:   Recaps

 Saturday, Jun 21
    Orioles at Yankees
1:05 PM EDT
    Mariners at Royals
2:10 PM EDT
    White Sox at Twins
2:10 PM EDT
    Red Sox at Athletics
4:05 PM EDT
    Mets at Marlins
4:10 PM EDT
    Blue Jays at Reds
4:10 PM EDT
    Phillies at Cardinals
4:10 PM EDT
    Brewers at Rockies
4:10 PM EDT
    Astros at Rays
4:10 PM EDT
    Tigers at Indians
7:15 PM EDT
    Braves at Nationals
7:15 PM EDT
    Pirates at Cubs
7:15 PM EDT
    Rangers at Angels
10:05 PM EDT
    Dodgers at Padres
10:10 PM EDT
    Giants at Diamondbacks
10:10 PM EDT
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