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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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Gausman's arm, Machado's glove shuts out Tampa Bay

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USA TODAY Sports

Gausman's arm, Machado's glove shuts out Tampa Bay

ST. PETERBURG, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are teams currently heading in different directions.

Kevin Gausman pitched six strong innings, Adam Jones homered and the Orioles sent the Rays to their season-worst fifth straight loss, 5-0 Monday night.

"It all feeds off the starting pitching," Jones said.

MUST SEE: Machado starts an around the horn double play

The Rays began the day tied for the second AL wild-card spot. Baltimore won for the sixth time in eight games.

"It's all about how we finish as a team," Gausman said.

Gausman (7-7) gave up five hits and struck out eight. He has permitted seven hits over 13 scoreless innings in two starts this season against Tampa Bay.

The right-hander is 4-1 in his last seven starts.

"Kevin was throwing strikes, and working with some tempo and command," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Darren O'Day, Brad Brach and Richard Bleier completed the six-hitter.

Blake Snell (0-6) went a career-high seven-plus innings. The lefty, who entered with 19 of 30 career starts lasting five or fewer innings, allowed three runs and six hits.

"Snell was tough," Showalter said.

Jones, who also doubled and singled, has an RBI in six straight games. Manny Machado drove in two runs during a three-run eighth and Jonathan Schoop drove in a run for his eighth game in a row.

Rays catcher Wilson Ramos left in the fifth after he was struck on the head by a piece of Ruben Tejada's broken bat. The team said Ramos got six staples and will be evaluated.

"He won't start tomorrow, but we're confident that he feels good," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "A little bit of a scare there. I think Wilson would have preferred to stay in the game. We just weren't able to stop the bleeding."

Jones opened the game with a double and went to third on a wild pitch, but Snell rebounded to strike out Machado and Jonathan Schoop, and retired Mark Trumbo on a popup.

Jones hit his 19th home run in the third.

Snell left in the eighth with two on and no outs. Sergio Romo, in his Rays debut, gave up a two-run single to Machado and Schoop's sacrifice fly. Schoop has 18 RBIs during his streak.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with two outs in the third but Evan Longoria grounded out. Mallex Smith hit a leadoff triple in the fifth but was left stranded.

"We've just got to continue as this little bit of a funk goes," Cash said. "we've got to find a way to get ourselves out of it."

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Orioles' Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop pull off crazy around the horn double play

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles' Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop pull off crazy around the horn double play

Quietly the Baltimore Orioles are trying to move back into the American League playoff picture. With more defensive plays like the team saw in the first inning on Monday, their odds will greatly improve.

Facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of a three-game series, Manny Machado started what would be a key play for Baltimore. 

With one out and a runner on first base, Machado scooped up an Evan Longoria grounder that was flying down the third base line. Running into foul territory the 25-year-old threw across his body to Jonathan Schoop, who made a high-reaching grab at second and delivered a perfect throw down to first. Ending the inning, the Orioles kept the Rays scoreless with only one hit in the bottom half of the first inning. 

Schoop is coming off his first American League player of the week honor after an impressive stretch in seven games. Mainly the award was for his offensive numbers, but he proved to be a valuable double play partner as well. 

Not only is it a huge play in the moment, but it had to be an empowering play for the psyche of starting pitcher Kevin Gausman. On the mound for the Orioles against the Rays, Gausman was struggling post All-Star break. In three games had allowed 14 earned runs, 20 hits, and six home runs.