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Braves vs. Nationals: Kris Medlen Stops Skid As Atlanta Wins 5-1

The Braves needed to win at least one game this week in D.C. to keep their hopes alive in the National League East. After a heartbreaking loss on Monday and a frustrating one on Tuesday, Kris Medlen led Atlanta to a 5-1 win over Ross Detwiler and the Nationals.

Medlen continued to be excellent on the mound, working seven shutout innings against a red-hot Washington lineup. He scattered seven hits and a walk, using seven strikeouts to get himself out of a few jams in the later innings.

Martin Prado delivered the key hit for Atlanta with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fifth. The Braves had been held completely helpless with runners in scoring position prior to Prado's at-bat, which really lifted the weight off the Braves' shoulders.

The Nats made things interesting in the eighth against Eric O'Flaherty. Bryce Harper was driven home with a single off the bat of Michael Morse. Adam LaRoche followed with a walk, moving the tying run into scoring position with only one out. In what might just have been a turning point in the Braves' season, O'Flaherty forced Ian Desmond to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Chipper Jones reached on an error to lead off the ninth inning. Freddie Freeman doubled, putting two in scoring position. David Ross drove home a run with a deep sacrifice fly to center to push the lead to 3-1. Michael Bourn then drove home Freeman with a line drive up the middle. Bourn eventually came around to score on a wild pitch, stolen base and throwing error from catcher Kurt Suzuki.

Craig Kimbrel entered the bottom half of the frame and struck out all three batters he faced to secure the 5-1 win.

The Braves will now head to San Francisco for a key four-game series with the NL West leaders.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.