ATLANTA — Alex Wood set a career high with 12 strikeouts in 7⅓ innings and the Atlanta Braves beat Washington 3-1 on Sunday night to continue their recent success against the Nationals.
By winning two of three in the weekend series, Atlanta cut Washington’s lead to 3½ games in the NL East. The Braves are 9-4 against the Nationals this season and 22-10 in the series the past two years.
Justin Upton homered for the Braves, who had lost nine of their past 10 games entering Sunday’s play.
Ian Desmond’s fourth-inning homer was the only run allowed by Wood.
With the game tied 1-1, Emilio Bonifacio led off the fifth with a bunt single and scored the go-ahead run on Jason Heyward’s infield hit off Gio Gonzalez (6-9).
Wood (8-9), who allowed five hits, set another career high by throwing 124 pitches.
The left-hander walked Jayson Werth to lead off the eighth before striking out Adam LaRoche. David Carpenter replaced Wood and ended the inning on Desmond’s double-play grounder.
Pinch-hitter Evan Gattis hit a single to right field off Jerry Blevins in the eighth to drive in Chris Johnson, who walked.
Craig Kimbrel, pitching on the third consecutive night, had a perfect ninth to earn his 34th save.
Gonzalez gave up two runs, six hits and four walks in 4⅔ innings. He has lost four consecutive starts.
The versatile Bonifacio, acquired from the Cubs on July 31, hit leadoff and started in center field one night after starting at shortstop.
Upton collected two career milestones with the line-drive homer. It was his 1,000th hit and gave him 500 career RBI.
Washington’s Denard Span had two doubles, extending his hitting streak to 14 games.
With the game tied 1-1, Bonifacio used his speed to lead off the fifth with a bunt single, despite a creative defensive effort by Gonzalez. The pitcher fielded the ball with his back to first base and flipped the ball between his legs to Adam LaRoche. Bonifacio was safe despite a collision with LaRoche.
Gonzalez walked Tommy La Stella before Freddie Freeman’s double-play grounder sent Bonifacio to third. Bonifacio took off for the plate on Heyward’s grounder to second baseman Danny Espinosa. LaRoche broke for the grounder, leaving first base uncovered because Gonzalez started running for the bag and then stopped before taking off again too late. Heyward was safe with the single as Bonifacio scored the go-ahead run.
Desmond led off the fourth with his 19th homer to right field. Upton tied the game in the bottom of the inning with his 21st homer.