The Nationals also have a chance at their first home sweep of the Braves in more than five years in Wednesday night's series finale.
With Monday's series opener postponed after the Navy Yard shootings, Washington took both games of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, 6-5 and 4-0. The Braves (89-62) could have clinched their first NL East title since 2005 with victories in both, but instead the club's magic number remains at four. They'll have to wait until Friday at the earliest to wrap up the division.
Rookie Tanner Roark held the Braves to just two hits over seven innings in the second contest while Denard Span collected a single in each game, extending his hitting streak to 28 contests, the longest in the majors this season. He's hitting .378 during the streak with 19 runs scored.
Washington (81-70), which has won 10 of 11, trails Cincinnati by 4 1/2 games for the NL's second wild-card spot, while Atlanta still holds the NL's best record despite dropping nine of 13.
"I like where we are, our position, but there's still baseball games to be played," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We've just got to get back on a roll again."
The Nationals entered the series 4-12 versus Atlanta this year, but now have a chance at their first home sweep of the Braves since Aug. 29-31, 2008.
Trying to clinch that sweep will be Ross Ohlendorf (4-0, 3.15 ERA), who filled in Friday against Philadelphia after Stephen Strasburg was scratched. The right-hander gave up a run on two singles and a walk in the first inning, but recovered nicely, allowing three more hits and another walk over four additional scoreless innings in a 6-1 win.
"He made the pitches," manager Davey Johnson said. "Great effort."
Ohlendorf gave up six runs in 3 2-3 innings the last time he matched up with the Braves, a 7-0 loss for Pittsburgh on May 21, 2010.
Atlanta will counter with rookie left-hander Alex Wood (3-3, 3.45), who had his scheduled start Thursday versus Miami skipped in order to give him more rest. That decision came on the heels of two rough starts as he gave up a combined 11 runs over seven innings. He didn't record a decision after yielding four runs and a season-high nine hits over 4 2-3 innings of a 6-5 loss at Philadelphia on Sept. 7.
"It's very frustrating," Wood said. "I'm trying to help my team clinch a pennant. I'm not doing exactly what I want to do when I go out there."
Perhaps facing Washington could get him back on track as he limited the Nationals to one run and five hits over 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 victory on Aug. 16 with a season-high nine strikeouts.
Freddie Freeman became the first Brave to reach the 100-RBI mark since Chipper Jones and Jeff Francoeur in 2007 by driving in his 100th on Tuesday afternoon. He's hitting .352 over his last 28 games versus Washington with 23 RBIs.
|September 11, 2013||Paul Maholm||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|September 10, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right knee|
|August 29, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Left hand injury|
|August 22, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Fractured right jaw|
|August 21, 2013||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 20, 2013||Justin Upton||Day-to-Day||Strained upper back|
|September 08, 2013||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Left hip soreness|
|August 22, 2013||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|August 17, 2013||Taylor Jordan||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|August 13, 2013||Wilson Ramos||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left hamstring|
|August 11, 2013||Jayson Werth||Day-to-Day||Right knee|
|August 01, 2013||Ross Ohlendorf||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez doesn't want a repeat of starter Alex Wood 's outburst that got him ejected from Wednesday night's game against the Washington Nationals .
He'll take the offense's surge that came an inning later, though.
Justin Upton and Dan Uggla each homered in a three-run sixth inning, and the Braves rallied past the Nationals for a 5-2 victory, lowering their magic number for clinching the NL East title to two games.
"We struggled early, but it was bound to happen," Upton said. "We've been struggling for a while here. At some point, we had to break out."
Brian McCann and Jordan Schafer also drove in runs as the Braves snapped a three-game skid. Atlanta has not won the division since 2005, the last of 11 straight titles.
Washington entered 4 1/2 games behind Cincinnati for the second NL wild card.
"That's just not enough," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of taking the series two games to one. "We just can't afford to lose."
Washington revealed after the game that Stephen Strasburg is being pushed back for the second time because of forearm tightness. He was scheduled to start Thursday but could not get loose Wednesday. He's now scheduled to start Saturday.
"I don't really know why it's happening," said Strasburg, who will be replaced by Gio Gonzalez in the rotation. "When it happens, it happens. It's like a strong cramp. So, I just think it would put us in a bind if I went out there and felt it."
Kameron Loe (1-2) got one out for the win. Craig Kimbrel , Atlanta's seventh pitcher, rebounded from his loss Tuesday to record his 48th save.
As he was being replaced after giving up two runs in the fifth inning, Wood was ejected for shouting and pointing at home plate umpire CB Bucknor. The rookie was upset with Bucknor's ball-four call with the bases loaded earlier in the inning.
"It was just one of those things where I let my emotions get the best of me there," Wood said. "In the latter part of that inning it was a big situation. I kind of felt it could have gone the other way and I did some things, said some things I probably shouldn't have said. (I) Immediately regretted it after I got inside."
The inning began when Anthony Rendon singled and Washington pitcher Ross Ohlendorf bunted him to second. Span then hit a bouncer to first that Freddie Freeman bobbled for an error, putting runners on first and third.
After Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases, Jayson Werth walked on a close 3-2 pitch to force in the game's first run.
Wood slammed his pitching hand into his glove as he came down off the mound and began yelling at Bucknor. Third baseman Chris Johnson attempted to calm Wood, while Fredi Gonzalez came out to argue and was ejected by Bucknor.
"I thought I made a pitch and I didn't. I reacted probably the opposite of the way I should of," Wood said.
Asked what he thought of the pitch after seeing the replay in the clubhouse, Wood said, "He called it a ball. It's a ball."
When play resumed, Bryce Harper hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Span.
Atlanta bench coach Carlos Tosca came out to remove Wood, who shouted and pointed at Bucknor on his way to the dugout.
"You don't do that kind of stuff on the mound. But he was fired up," Gonzalez said.
"That's something you learn from, and control your emotions. So, we'll chalk it up as a young starter in an emotional game that we wanted to win, and he got himself a little excited."
Washington's Denard Span extended his hitting streak to 29 straight, the longest in the majors this season.
Ohlendorf (4-1) allowed three runs over six innings.
The right-hander, making his second start in place of Strasburg, retired 10 straight to start the game.
But with Atlanta trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Uggla led off with his 22nd homer.
"I mean you can never tell," Uggla said of Wood's outburst. "Things like that, sometimes they can spark something, sometimes the other pitcher just bears down."
Schafer then bunted and went all the way to third when Ohlendorf's throw to first sailed down the right field line.
Ohlendorf got two outs, but Upton hit the first pitch he saw over the wall in left-center to put Atlanta ahead 3-2. It was Upton's 23rd home run.
NOTES: Atlanta won the season series, 13-6. ... Atlanta OF Jason Heyward (fractured jaw) took simulated at-bats Wednesday, saying it went well. "It's something to be excited about, but I've got work to do and I'm not going to be satisfied until I'm back," he said. ... SS Andrelton Simmons didn't start after playing through neck tightness in Tuesday's doubleheader. Gonzalez said the decision was precautionary, and Simmons entered the game in the seventh. ... Washington LHP Ross Detwiler (back strain), on the DL since July 7, threw a bullpen session Wednesday. He'll throw another this week and then travel to Viera, Fla., to pitch in the Instructional League Monday. Johnson said given the number of games left, it's unlikely Detwiler will pitch for Washington again this season. ... The Braves open a three-game series Friday at the Cubs.