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Nationals pick up sweep of Braves behind Stephen Strasburg's strong night

Nationals pick up sweep of Braves behind Stephen Strasburg's strong night

ATLANTA -- Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer, Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 and the Washington Nationals completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night.

A night after had 14 runs on 20 hits, the Nationals couldn't solve R.A. Dickey's knuckleball until Zimmerman homered in the sixth to erase a 2-1 deficit.

Strasburg (2-0) allowed two runs, six hits and two walks in seven innings, winning his first start at SunTrust Park after going 4-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 outings at Turner Field. Strasburg improved to 72-8 when the Nationals score at least three runs.

Shawn Kelley had an eventful ninth before earning his second save in three tries. He retired the first two batters before Kurt Suzuki singled and pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers walked. Ender Inciarte followed with a game-ending flyout.

Atlanta went 4-3 on its first homestand at its new ballpark, where it opened by sweeping a four-game series from San Diego.

Dickey (1-2) gave up three runs and three hits in seven innings.

Zimmerman, who has hit safely in 12 of 15 games, doubled to begin the second and scored on Michael Taylor's sacrifice fly, then hit his fifth homer.

Dickey hit an RBI grounder in the second, and Kurt Suzuki had a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

WELCOME BACK, NOT REALLY

Matt Kemp came off the 10-day DL and couldn't catch up to Strasburg's fastball, striking out three times. Kemp, who missed eight games with a sore hamstring, grounded out softly to reliever Koda Glover in the eighth.

NICE GLOVES

Washington RF Bryce Harper ran forward to make a shoestring catch to save two runs in the second. ... Taylor ran up and dove to catch Phillips' liner to save a run in the sixth. ... Strasburg got some good defense behind him in the seventh by LF Adam Eaton, who had to adjust his glove wrist up on a running catch, and 3B Anthony Rendon, who was guarding the foul line and dropped to the ground before throwing out Adonis Garcia.

COOLED OFF

Braves 1B Freddie Freeman was leading the majors with a .440 average but went 0 for 4.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy was scratched from the lineup with right leg tightness. Manager Dusty Baker said he could tell Murphy wasn't following through with his swing during Wednesday's 14-4 win. ... Baker said SS Trea Turner, on the 10-day DL since April 10 with a strained right hamstring, will be activated Friday at the New York Mets but likely won't start. ... LF Jayson Werth was held out of the lineup with a sore groin.

Braves: SS Dansby Swanson wasn't injured, but manager Brian Snitker gave him a scheduled night off from the starting lineup. Swanson pinch ran in the ninth.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (2-0) has a 3.50 ERA in three starts. He is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts and three relief appearances at Citi Field, where the Nationals open a series Friday.

Braves: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1) has a 4.24 ERA in three starts going into Friday's outing at Philadelphia.

Related: Bryce Harper mashes grand slam, still dominates Braves pitcher

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Ervin Santana tosses 2-hitter as Twins beat Orioles

Ervin Santana tosses 2-hitter as Twins beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Ervin Santana pitched a two-hitter for his 10th career shutout, Brian Dozier homered and the surging Minnesota Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-0 Tuesday night.

After banging out 21 hits in a 14-7 win over Baltimore on Monday, the AL Central-leading Twins relied on exceptional pitching to earn their ninth victory in 13 games.

Santana (7-2) struck out six, walked two and permitted only one runner past first base. The lone hits against the right-hander were a second-inning single by Welington Castillo and a single in the fifth by Jonathan Schoop.

It was Santana's 18th complete game, the second this season. He finished by retiring the last 14 batters.

Minnesota became the first team this season to capture a series at Camden Yards (the Orioles were 7-0-0). Now 16-5 on the road, the Twins on Wednesday will seek to complete their first three-game sweep in Baltimore since 1996.

Dylan Bundy (5-3) pitched well for the Orioles, but Santana was better. Bundy allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking three.

Byron Buxton hit an RBI single in the fifth and Dozier connected in the seventh for a 2-0 lead.

A crowd of 13,294 endured a persistent rain shower that wasn't quite fierce enough to cause umpires to stop play.

The weather suited Santana just fine. He lowered his ERA to 1.80 and improved to 4-0 with a 0.31 ERA on the road.

MORE ORIOLES: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: Where do the Orioles place?

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Orioles look to rebound after losing 8 of last 11

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USA Today Sports

Orioles look to rebound after losing 8 of last 11

BALTIMORE  -- Dylan Bundy will try to rebound on Tuesday after his first non-quality start of the season. It will not be an easy task for the Baltimore Orioles right-hander.

Bundy (5-2, 2.97 ERA) will face Minnesota Twins ace Ervin Santana (6-2, 2.07) in the middle game of a three-game series at Camden Yards. Bundy has lasted at least six innings of each of his nine starts, but he did not give up more than three runs until his last outing.

The Detroit Tigers touched him up for six runs in six innings on Thursday in a 6-5 victory over the Orioles. Still, he made it through the sixth, which gave a tired Baltimore bullpen a break.

RELATED: UPDATED MLB POWER RANKINGS

Bundy has pitched just once against Minnesota, throwing a scoreless inning last year. The Orioles will need his help after the Twins scored 12 consecutive runs and rallied from an early five-run deficit to post a 14-7 victory in the series opener Monday.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter wants his team to shake off the loss.

"If you're tough mentally. I don't think guys dwell on it," Showalter said. "But as long as they feel like there's a silver lining there, something that's coming that's going to get better, (that's good)."

Santana also is trying to rebound from a defeat. He gave up five runs on six hits in seven innings on Thursday, taking the loss against the Colorado Rockies.

Still, that was the fifth time in nine starts that Santana went at least seven innings. The 34-year old right-hander certainly has earned the respect of manager Paul Molitor.

"He's a poised pitcher who's not intimidated," Molitor said. "Since he's been here, he's pitched good baseball for Minnesota. In a very bleak season (last year), he was one of our lone bright spots. He's a guy who attacks with his fastball."

Santana, who is 4-5 with a 4.87 career ERA against the Orioles, ranks first in the majors in lowest opponents' batting average this year (.144).

The Orioles still are battling a number of injury issues. Manager Buck Showalter said before the game Monday that Ryan Flaherty, on the disabled list due to a strained shoulder, was getting a plasma-rich platelet injection before going out to do rehab work in Florida.

Manny Machado played on Monday after X-rays on his left hand were fine, and he went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI double. He was hit in the hand by a pitch on Sunday, and Showalter said the hand still was not perfect a day later.

The Orioles also recalled right-hander Tyler Wilson for some bullpen help on Monday after optioning right-hander Miguel Castro back to Double-A Bowie following the Sunday game. Wilson allowed six runs (four earned) on five hits in 1 1/3 innings Monday and took the loss.

Baltimore also reinstated right-hander Gabriel Ynoa (right hamstring strain) from the disabled list Monday and immediately optioned him back to Triple-A Norfolk.

The Twins, meanwhile, recalled right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-4) to start the series opener, and he allowed six runs in five innings but still got the win. He snapped a nine-start winless streak.

Thanks to a four-run fifth inning and six-run sixth, Minnesota improved its road record to 12-5.