Atl 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 0 0 4
Was 4 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 X 6
Date of game: 9/9/2014

Recap: Washington vs. Atlanta

Washington, DC ( - Adam LaRoche drove in two runs as the Washington Nationals used a four-run first-inning burst to claim a 6-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves in the middle test of a three-game set.

Jayson Werth scored twice and knocked in a run for the Nationals, who have won three in a row and extended their lead in the NL East to nine games over their Tuesday opponent.

Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI each to back Jordan Zimmermann (11-5). The right-hander fanned seven and gave up six hits over six innings, during which he allowed four runs and two of those earned.

"We're still taking it one game at a time," Zimmermann said. "We're not looking too far ahead."

Justin Upton hit a two-run homer for the Braves, losers of three in a row and six of eight. Chris Johnson and Justin Heyward knocked in a run each in the setback.

Ervin Santana (14-8) gave up eight hits and six runs -- five earned -- while walking four and striking out five in five full frames.

Washington lit up Santana for four runs in the opening frame. With runners on the corners and one out, back-to-back singles from LaRoche and Desmond pushed across the hosts' first two runs. After a Bryce Harper base hit loaded the bases, a Ramos single and Cabrera fly to right brought in the next two runs.

Werth walked with two down in the second, moved to third on an error and scored on a LaRoche single for a 5-0 game.

"They came out swinging the bats and were really, really aggressive with the first couple pitches of every at-bat," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Usually, when teams do that against [Santana], they get quick outs. But they found the outfield grass and put a big number up. We weren't able to recover after that, but we battled."

Atlanta cut into its deficit with two in the fourth on a fielder's choice grounder from Heyward and RBI single by Johnson, before Werth's two-out RBI double in the home half kicked the Nats' advantage back up to four.

Phil Gosselin reached on an error in the sixth, then Upton's shot to left- center brought the Braves to 6-4. However, Zimmermann concluded his outing by retiring the next two batters.

Aaron Barrett retired the side in order in the seventh and exited with Emilio Bonifacio on second and one out in the eighth. Ross Detwiler and Craig Stammen made sure he stayed there by recording an out each.

Drew Storen tossed a quiet ninth to earn his fourth save.

Game Notes

Atlanta has won nine of 15 in the season series, but Washington has now taken five of nine in America's capital ... Prior to the contest, the Nationals announced a two-year player development contract extension with Single-A Potomac of the Carolina League ... Braves batters struck out 11 times and failed to record a walk.

Johnson headlines FCS players of the week

In 2013, the Montana State Bobcats made a bit of an offensive switch, going from a pass-heavy system to a more run- integrated style of play. The reason wasn't because the team was unstable at quarterback, but rather due to the fact the Bobcats were loaded at the running back position.

Steelers to bring back Harrison

After losing a pair of starting linebackers to injuries in their last game, the Pittsburgh Steelers are set to bring back a familiar face.

Former NBA center Jones passes away

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Giroux hurt as Flyers open camp

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux is expected to be sidelined approximately two weeks after suffering an undisclosed lower-body injury on the first day of training camp.

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