Washington Nationals salvage finale with Atlanta

washington nationalsWhen the Washington Nationals headed to Atlanta last week, there were seven games in 11 days of opportunity to make up ground in the NL East.

Five losses in those seven games later, and the Nats are clinging to an NL wild-card spot.

Washington did at least salvage the series finale with the Braves on the back end of the back-to-back weekend series, winning 7-0 behind Anibal Sanchez on Sunday.

Sanchez (9-8, 3.86 ERA) gave up three hits in seven scoreless innings, striking out three and walking one.

Max Fried (16-6, 4.25 ERA) was tagged with the loss, getting knocked out early, with one out in the third, having surrendered five runs on six hits, striking out two and walking three.

Howie Kendrick had a homer and a two-run single for the Nats (82-66), who at this writing have a two-game lead on the Chicago Cubs for the top spot in the NL wild-card race.

Milwaukee is three back, and the New York Mets are five back.

Washington is back out on the road, beginning a three-game series with the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. Stephen Strasburg (17-6, 3.49 ERA) takes the hill against Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson (15-7, 3.38 ERA).

Story by Chris Graham

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