Gonzalez still struggling to solve Braves' lineup
ATLANTA (AP) Gio Gonzalez didn't feel too badly about another poor performance against the NL-worst Atlanta Braves.
''I got beat by a lot of singles,'' Gonzalez said. ''Some were by just inches. It was one of those unfortunate things. You want to show you can pitch in this rotation, and it was the way today's game went.''
Trea Turner hit a pair of solo homers and Gonzalez struggled to solve Atlanta's lineup in the Washington Nationals' 7-3 loss on Saturday.
Nick Markakis and Anthony Recker each drove in two runs and Josh Collmenter won as an emergency starter for the Braves.
Washington needs a combination of six Nationals victories or six New York Mets losses to clinch its third NL East title in five years.
Gonzalez (11-10) allowed six runs and nine hits and struck out seven in 4 1/3 innings. He dropped to 0-1 with a 7.11 ERA in four starts against Atlanta this season.
''He made some good pitches,'' Washington manager Dusty Baker said. ''Those balls were just blooping in. Heck, they hit just one ball hard.''
Turner hit a pair of solo home runs, is 7 for 9 in the series and has six homers, 16 RBIs, 19 runs and seven steals in 12 games against Atlanta this year.
Collmenter (2-0), acquired Wednesday from the Chicago Cubs, struck out eight in five innings and allowed two runs, four hits and three walks. He was Arizona's opening-day starter last year and was making his first big league start since July 7, 2015 for Arizona.
''We needed someone to come in and stretch a game as far as they could,'' interim Braves manager Brian Snitker said. ''Five innings – we'll take it.''
Collmenter had four starts at Triple-A Iowa before the trade. Atlanta needed a starter because Mike Foltynewicz has a bruised left calf and Williams Perez has an elbow impingement.
The Nationals wasted a chance to rattle Collmenter in the second when he walked three of the first four batters but struck out Turner to escape the jam. Collmenter also stranded a runner at third in the third.
''I was able to retire him and, for the most part, kept them stringing some hits together and limit the walks,'' Collmenter said.
Atlanta scored three runs in the fifth for a 6-2 lead. Markakis' RBI single chased Gonzalez, Trevor Gott gave up Recker's RBI single and Gordon Beckham's bases-loaded walk.
The Braves have won just 12 of the last 48 games in the series and their 29 losses to Washington since the start of 2015 are Atlanta's most against one opponent in a two-year span.
''Maybe the law of averages were on their side to win one today,'' Baker said.
Atlanta has used a big-league high 16 starters, a team record. The 1975 Braves used 15.
Washington 2B Daniel Murphy hit his NL-leading 47th double in the third to tie Ryan Zimmerman's franchise record in 2006. Murphy stayed in the game after a hard head-first slide into the second base in the third.
Freeman has a 21-game hitting streak and has reached safely in 37 straight games. Both are career highs and the longest active streaks in the majors. … Braves CF Ender Inciarte went 3 for 4 and has 87 hits, most in the majors, since the All-Star break.
BACK ON THE HILL
Braves RHP Jose Ramirez threw an eight-pitch eighth. Ramirez has appealed a three-game suspension handed imposed for throwing at the head of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez.
Joe Ross (7-4) is to start Sunday for the Nationals and RHP Matt Wisler (6-12) for the Braves. Ross is on the 60-day DL and has been sidelined since July 2 with shoulder inflammation. Wisler is 2-3 with a 5.19 ERA in five career starts and one relief appearance against Washington.