Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran throws against the Washington Nationals in the first inning Tuesday in Washington. (REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
WASHINGTON — Defensive replacement Evan Gattis had a two-run single in the fifth as the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 on Tuesday, extending their winning streak to 12 games in a contest in which benches cleared after Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch.
Atlanta continues to get — or make — most of the breaks as Gattis entered the game as a defensive replacement in left field in the last of the first and came up with the winning hit in the leadoff spot for the injured Jayson Heyward.
Atlanta (69-45) is now 5-0 at Nationals Park this year and is a season-high 14½ games ahead of Washington (54-59) in the National League East. The Braves are just the second team since 1979 to have two winning streaks of 10 games or more in the same season.
Atlanta pitcher Luis Avilan loaded the bases in the seventh — thanks in part to a throwing error by third baseman Chris Johnson — then got Adam LaRoche to ground out to first to end the inning. Jordan Walden fanned three in the eighth for the Braves and Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth for his 35th save. Harper was one of his three strikeout victims, for the final out, as the Nationals lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Washington starter and loser Gio Gonzalez (7-5) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings while Atlanta counterpart Julio Teheran (9-5) gave up one run and four hits in six innings.
It was the first win in four career starts for Teheran against the Nationals. The Braves are 15-7 in his starts.
Both benches and bullpens emptied in the bottom of the fifth when Bryce Harper, who homered in his previous at-bat, was hit on the right leg by a pitch from Teheran with one out.
Harper immediately pointed and yelled at Teheran as he walked toward first base. Players from both dugouts came onto the field, but there was no physical contact between any of the Braves or Nationals.
Harper continued to holler at Teheran when he got to first base. After home plate umpire and crew chief Joe West kept himself between the two, Harper walked to first. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth both popped out to end the threat.
Evan Gattis gave the Braves a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth with a two-run single to right against Gonzalez.
Harper had given Washington a 1-0 lead in the third with a solo homer to center. It was the 17th homer of the season for Harper and ended a 0-for-11 hitless streak.
Braves leadoff hitter Jason Heyward left the game after he batted in the top of the first. He was examined by head athletic trainer Jeff Porter after he fouled off a pitch and then made an out. Heyward was listed day to day with a neck strain.
Notes: The Nationals called up RHP Tanner Roark from Triple-A Syracuse and sent LHP Xavier Cedeno down to the Chiefs. Roark’s first game with the Nationals will mark his big league debut. He was 9-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 33 games, including 11 starts, for Syracuse. Washington also moved LHP Ross Detwiler from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. … Atlanta entered the game with an 8-3 record this year against Washington and a 4-0 record at Nationals Park.