Braves cap sweep of Nats
Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton & Co. are in first place and hot as they come to Philly for four games.
FREDDIE FREEMAN insists the Atlanta Braves have no special insight when playing the Washington Nationals.
"I don't know if it's about getting in their heads," Freeman said. "You just want to go out there and win series. It doesn't matter who it's against."
Freeman and Justin Upton each hit a two-run homer off Gio Gonzalez and the Braves completed a three-game sweep of the visiting Nationals with a 10-2 victory yesterday.
Beating Washington for the 18th time in the last 25 series matchups, Atlanta is hoping to use another fast start against the Nationals to win a second straight NL East title.
The Braves have won five of six against the Nationals this year.
"We have a 19-game stretch against division opponents," Freeman said. "This is where you can get off to a good start and get off to a good lead and hopefully we'll keep playing well when we get to" Philadelphia to begin a four-game series tonight.
At 8-4, the Braves are one game ahead of Washington and two ahead of the third-place Phillies.
Washington began the day by placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right thumb. He will be out 4 to 6 weeks.
With Zimmerman and leadoff hitter Denard Span (concussion) sidelined, the Nationals' lineup managed just five hits off Aaron Harang (2-1), who allowed one run, one walk and struck out five in six innings.
Gonzalez (2-1) continued his struggles against the Braves, giving up nine hits, six runs and four walks and striking out six in six innings.
"We know what we're capable of and what we want to achieve," said Justin Upton, who is batting .590 with four homers in his last six games. "If everybody can contribute every day, I think we'll be fine."
Freeman, who has hit .470 in his last 34 at-bats, avoided a scare in the fourth when Gonzalez' 92 mph fastball hit the outer right side of his right hand.
"It pinched my pinkie into the bat," Freeman said. "It was more a scare than an injury. I got really lucky. I think if I didn't choke up, I'm done. By choking up, it got some fat right there. I kind of lucked out, I think."
In other NL games
* At Milwaukee, Kyle Lohse (2-1) came within one out of a complete game in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates as the Brewers (10-2) extended their winning streak to nine games.
* At St. Louis, Matt Carpenter drove in three runs, leading Michael Wacha (2-0) and the Cardinals over the Chicago Cubs, 6-4. Carpenter hit a two-run single in the second inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth that put St. Louis ahead to stay at 4-3.
* At Phoenix, Adrian Gonzalez homered for the fourth consecutive game and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-6, to complete a three-game sweep. Gonzalez' three-run shot off Trevor Cahill (0-4) in the third inning gave him 10 RBI in the series.
* At San Francisco, Brandon Crawford led off the 10th inning with a game-ending homer into McCovey Cove to give the Giants a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
In AL games
* At New York, Carlos Beltran went 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run homer as the Yankees beat Boston, 3-2.
Derek Jeter was out of the Yankees' lineup for the second consecutive day after feeling tightness in his right quadriceps. Yankees manager Joe Girardi says Jeter's quad got a little tight Friday night, but he finished the game.
* At Arlington, Texas, Martin Perez (2-0) scattered five his and three walks over eight innings, and Donnie Murphy's sacrifice fly in the sixth inning gave the Texas Rangers a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros. Murphy was in the game only because shortstop Elvis Andrus got ejected at the end of the third after arguing a called third strike.
* At Baltimore, Mark Buehrle (3-0) held the Orioles to one run over seven innings and the Toronto Blue Jays had three home runs among a season-high 17 hits in an 11-3 victory. Ubaldo Jimenez (0-3) allowed five runs and 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings.
* At Minneapolis, Kansas City pitcher Wade Davis made a wild flip home on a comebacker in the eighth inning and the Minnesota Twins rallied past the Royals, 4-3, for a three-game sweep.
* At Chicago, Alexei Ramirez hit a two-run homer off John Axford in the ninth inning, rallying the Chicago White Sox over the Cleveland Indians, 4-3.
The Indians scored twice in the top of the ninth, getting the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by closer Matt Lindstrom. Axford (0-1) came in seeking his fifth save in as many chances. He issued a leadoff walk to Jordan Danks, who stole second. One out later, Ramirez hit the winning homer.
* At Seattle, Yoenis Cespedes hit a two-run homer that broke a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, lifting the Oakland Athletics over the Mariners, 3-0. A's starter Scott Kazmir pitched two-hit ball for six innings, striking out nine without a walk.
In interleague games
* At Anaheim, Calif., Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez hit consecutive home runs off Bartolo Colon in the first inning and the Los Angeles Angels went on to rout the New York Mets, 14-2.
Hank Conger also went deep against Colon (1-2), who won the AL Cy Young Award in 2005 with the Angels. Over the previous four seasons, he was 6-1 with a 1.75 ERA in nine starts against the Angels.
* At San Diego, Tyson Ross (1-2) outdueled AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (0-1), and Jedd Gyorko and Xavier Nady homered as the Padres beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-1.
* At Cincinnati, Chris Heisey hit his first grand slam and Devin Mesoraco homered and drove in four runs as the Reds took advantage of Tampa Bay's depleted pitching staff for a 12-4 victory.
The Rays put righthander Alex Cobb on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique in his left side, the second starter they've lost to injury in a week. Cobb pitched seven innings in a 1-0 win over the Reds Saturday. Lefthander Matt Moore went on the 15-day DL earlier in the week with a sore elbow.