Despite Best Efforts, Nats Fall to Braves, 6-2

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Sep 10, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals left fielder Kevin Frandsen (19) throws out Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (not pictured) during the ninth inning at Nationals Park. The Braves won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals looked to earn the sweep against Atlanta on Wednesday and extend their lead in the NL East to double-digits, but the Braves won their final game of the regular season in Nationals Park, 6-2.

The two teams traded runs in the fifth when B.J. Upton hit his 11th home run on the year. The Nats answered in the bottom half of the inning when Denard Span scored on a passed ball by Christian Bethancourt.

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In the sixth, the Braves added two more when Freddie Freeman led off the inning with a double and then scored on a Justin Upton single past a diving Adam LaRoche. The Braves then made it 3-1 when Bethancourt singled home Tommy La Stella.

Stephen Strasburg’s (11-11) day was finished after six innings. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits and a hit batter while striking out eight. Strasburg had allowed just a single earned run in each of his last two starts.

Manager Matt Williams strategy of using Jerry Blevins to toss batting practice pitches and wear out the Braves base runners backfired in the seventh when Atlanta added three more, scoring one on a Freeman sacrifice fly and a two-run bases-loaded double by Justin Upton.

Aaron Harang (11-10) continued his season of excellence against the Nats. On the day he threw seven innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits with nine strikeouts. For the season, Harang is 2-0 and has allowed just two earned runs in 20 innings of work.

The Nats added their second run of the game in the ninth when Bryce Harper hit his 12th home run of the season.

Frandsen, starting at third for Anthony Rendon, went 3-for-4 on the day. Rafael Soriano made his first appearance since being removed as the team’s closer. He allowed two hits with a strike out in one inning of work. Ian Desmond did not start a day after being pulled with lower back tightness. Danny Espinosa started at short, going 1-for-4.

With the loss, the Nats lead in the East is back to eight games with the magic number to clinch the East sits at 10 games.

The Nats next travel to New York to play the Mets. Tanner Roark (12-10) looks to earn his 13th win of the season against Bartolo Colon (13-11). On the season, the Nats are 6-0 at Citi Field and have won 11 straight there.

Marking the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the Mets will honor Welles Remy Crowther and pay tribute to the victims of the attacks.

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