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Nationals try to move on following 3-game sweep

Sunday - 4/13/2014, 6:45pm  ET

Washington Nationals' Kevin Frandsen falls down while chasing a foul ball hit by Atlanta Braves' Freddie Freeman in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

GEORGE HENRY
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- Manager Matt Williams says the Washington Nationals won't spend too much time reflecting on another lost weekend against the Atlanta Braves.

"We hope that we just got it out of our system early and go on from here," he said. "It's not from lack of effort or lack of intensity or lack of preparation. It just happened that way. What do you do? You just keep working."

Gio Gonzalez gave up two-run homers to Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman as Washington ended a three-game sweep by the Braves with a 10-2 loss on Sunday.

Losing for the 18th time in the last 25 series matchups with Atlanta, the Nationals hope their fortunes change when they begin a three-game series Monday in Miami.

Washington, which has lost five of six to the Braves this year, began the day by placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list with a broken right thumb.

With Zimmerman and leadoff hitter Denard Span 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.

Despite ranking second in the majors among left-handers with 34 wins since the start of 2012, Gonzalez is 2-7 with a 5.31 ERA in 10 starts against the Braves during that span.

"We were catching bad breaks," Gonzalez said. "We were making some big mistakes, and as a starting pitcher you've got to learn to adjust and keep the ball down."

Harang, making his 322nd career start and third with the Braves, improved to 2-4 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 starts against Washington.

Ian Thomas faced the minimum in the seventh and Jordan Walden faced four batters in the eighth for Atlanta. Gus Schlosser gave up Adam LaRoche's third homer in the ninth to make it 10-2.

Ross Detwiler gave up four unearned runs in the eighth for Washington on Freeman's RBI double and Andrelton Simmons' first homer, a three-run shot that put the Braves up 10-1.

Gonzalez's struggles began in the first.

After walking leadoff hitter Jason Heyward, Gonzalez made an errant underhanded throw to first baseman LaRoche on B.J. Upton's bunt single. The ball rolled away from LaRoche, allowing Heyward to advance to third and B.J. Upton to second.

Freeman's sacrifice fly scored Heyward, and Justin Upton homered to make it 3-0.

"It's definitely fun to watch him right now," Freeman said after watching Upton's fourth homer in the last four games. "He's what you call locked in. He's pretty much carried us the last few days."

Atlanta added three more runs in the second.

Tyler Pastornicky led off with a triple and scored on Heyward's RBI double. Freeman followed with his fourth homer to give the Braves a 6-0 lead.

Gonzalez stranded two runners when Justin Upton struck out in the fourth and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth when Heyward popped up.

Washington's run came on Jose Lobaton's RBI groundout, scoring Kevin Frandsen from third to make it 6-1 in the fifth.

"The common thread is that I feel the same way pretty much every time we play these guys, you know?" shortstop Ian Desmond said after going 0 for 4. "It's tough. It stinks getting beat, but we know we can play with them. Maybe (we'll) try something different next time."

NOTES: Washington RF Jayson Werth returned after a sore groin forced him from the lineup on Saturday. Werth went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and stranded three runners. ... Simmons hit in the No. 5 spot for the first time in his career, going 2 for 5 with three RBIs. ... Washington LF Steven Souza Jr. made his major league debut in the seventh as Frandsen moved to second base and Danny Espinosa left the game. Souza struck out in the eighth. ... The Nationals called up INF Zach Walters from Triple-A Syracuse to take Zimmerman's spot on the 25-man roster. Walters struck out as a pinch-hitter to end the game. ... Span, on the seven-day DL with concussion symptoms, missed his second straight game.


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