Atlanta rebounds, lowers its magic number to two
by Harvey Valentine
Associated Press Sports Writer
September 18, 2013 11:40 PM | 841 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Justin Upton gets a high-five from backup catcher Gerald Laird after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning Wednesday. That homer put the Braves on top, Atlanta went on to win its series finale with Washington and lower the magic number for the NL East Division title to just two.
<BR>Associated Press photo
Justin Upton gets a high-five from backup catcher Gerald Laird after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning Wednesday. That homer put the Braves on top, Atlanta went on to win its series finale with Washington and lower the magic number for the NL East Division title to just two.
Associated Press photo
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WASHINGTON — Justin Upton and Dan Uggla each homered in a three-run sixth inning, and the Atlanta Braves rallied past the Washington Nationals for a 5-2 victory Wednesday night, lowering their magic number for clinching the NL East title to two games.

Brian McCann and Jordan Schafer also drove in runs as the Braves snapped a three-game skid. Atlanta has not won the division since

2005, the last of 14 straight titles.

Washington entered 4½ games behind Cincinnati for the second NL wild card.

Kameron Loe (1-2) got one out for the win. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta’s seventh pitcher, rebounded from his loss Tuesday to record his 48th save.

Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 29 straight, the longest in the majors this season.

Ross Ohlendorf (4-1) allowed three runs over six innings.

The right-hander, making his second start in place of Stephen Strasburg, retired 10 straight to start the game.

As he was being replaced in the fifth inning, Atlanta starter Alex Wood was ejected for shouting and pointing at home plate umpire CB Bucknor. Wood was upset with Bucknor’s ball-four call with the bases loaded earlier in the inning.

With Atlanta trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Uggla led off with his 22nd homer. Schafer then bunted and went all the way to third when Ohlendorf’s throw to first sailed down the right field line.

Ohlendorf got two outs, but Upton hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-center to put Atlanta ahead 3-2. It was Upton’s 23rd home run.

The Braves added runs in the seventh, on McCann’s RBI double, and in the ninth on Schafer’s RBI single.

The Nationals took the lead in the fifth against Wood. Anthony Rendon singled and Ohlendorf bunted him to second. Span then hit a bouncer to first that Freddie Freeman bobbled for an error, putting runners on first and third.

After Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases, Jayson Werth walked on a close 3-2 pitch to force in the game’s first run.

Wood slammed his pitching hand into his glove as he came down off the mound and began yelling at Bucknor. Third baseman Chris Johnson attempted to calm Wood, while manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to argue and was ejected by Bucknor.

When play resumed, Bryce Harper hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Span.

Atlanta bench coach Carlos Tosca came out to remove Wood, who shouted and pointed at Bucknor on his way to the dugout.

NOTES: Strasburg (7-9, 2.96) rejoins the rotation Thursday opposite Miami’s RHP Henderson Alvarez (4-4, 3.97). … Atlanta OF Jason Heyward (fractured jaw) took simulated at-bats Wednesday, saying it went well. “It’s something to be excited about, but I’ve got work to do and I’m not going to be satisfied until I’m back,” he said. … SS Andrelton Simmons didn’t start after playing through neck tightness in Tuesday’s doubleheader. Gonzalez said the decision was precautionary, and Simmons entered the game in the seventh as a pinch-runner, then stayed in on defense. … Washington LHP Ross Detwiler (back strain), on the DL since July 7, threw a bullpen session Wednesday. He’ll throw another this week and then travel to Viera, Fla., to pitch in the Instructional League Monday. Manager Davey Johnson said given the number of games left, it’s unlikely Detwiler will pitch for Washington again this season. … The Braves open a three-game series Friday at the Cubs.

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